The new low-cost phone is part of Microsoft’s broader strategy to go after first-time smartphone buyers, particularly in emerging markets. In this case, the Lumia 430 will be available in April in Asia-Pacific countries, India, Africa, the Middle East, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Belarus.
Microsoft knows well that Windows Phone risks falling into irrelevance, as Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android have seized about 95 percent of all market share.
Still, Microsoft executives believe their comeback can start with first-time smartphone buyers, particularly those in developing countries where most of the growth in smartphone sales is expected to happen. And they believe that this is an area where Android phones, which lead overall in market share, are vulnerable.
In an interview at Barcelona Mobile World Congress earlier this month, Chris Weber, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of mobile device sales, said the company believes one of its biggest opportunities at the moment is going after Android users.
Weber said Microsoft’s research indicates users of Android are far less loyal than Apple users. The complaints Microsoft says it hears are many of the same ones that Apple likes to point out. Devices are widely fragmented between different versions of Android. Apps work better on some versions of Android, and some form factors, than others. And then there are security issues.
The new Lumia, with a $70 price tag, is aimed squarely at this market. The phone runs on Windows 8.1 but will be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10 later this year.
“We need to continue to push price points even lower,” he told VentureBeat in Barcelona. “But it’s not so we can say we have the lowest prices. I want to position us as the best value. These are still no-compromise devices.”
As part of Microsoft’s overall value pitch, it notes that the Lumia 430 naturally comes with Skype, but there’s also 30GB of free OneDrive cloud storage. And the dual SIM is meant to be attractive to travelers.
As for other specs: There’s 8GB of storage, a dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, a 4-inch display, and 1GB of RAM.