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Microsoft's first Lumia coming Tuesday, likely to be new low-end smartphone

Microsoft's first Lumia coming Tuesday, likely to be new low-end smartphone

The announcement comes two weeks after the company said its switching to Microsoft Lumia

Microsoft is getting ready to launch a new Lumia smartphone

Microsoft is getting ready to launch a new Lumia smartphone

Microsoft's first Windows smartphone since it dumped the Nokia brand will arrive on Tuesday, and a teaser from the company hints that it will be a new low-end model.

The teaser promises a smartphone for everyone, a typical way to position a budget device. The teaser doesn't offer much details beyond the Nov. 11 launch and an image of what looks like an orange smartphone a with front camera, a feature missing from existing low-cost Lumias. Rumored specifications include a 5-inch screen and a 5-megapixel camera.

Hopefully the screen will not only be bigger but also better than the 4-inch screen on the Lumia 530, which is a real let-down. However, not too much can be expected of a 5-inch screen with a resolution of 960 by 540 pixels. Another must-have is 1GB of RAM, which would be an improvement over the 512MB in the Lumia 530 and Lumia 630.

Because the low end of the market is where most of the growth is, continuing to push into that segment makes sense for Microsoft. This year it has already shipped the Lumia 530 and Lumia 630, and set up partnerships with the likes of Indian smartphone manufacturers Micromax and Karbonn.

But success won't come easily for the company as competition is getting increasingly heated. For example, Google has launched the Android One program to make it easier for vendors to develop smartphones with a US$100 price tag. Samsung Electronics is also poised to focus more on cheaper smartphones to boost its ailing fortunes.

The third quarter saw Microsoft's and Windows Phone's share of the global smartphone OS market drop from 4.1 percent to 3.3 percent year-on-year, according to Strategy Analytics. Shipments grew by 200,000 units to 10.5 million, which wasn't nearly enough to keep up with overall market growth of almost 27 percent.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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