Amid the announcement of flagship devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, and the HTC One M9, Microsoft casually introduces two new Lumia devices: the Lumia 640 and the Lumia 640 XL. The bonus is that these two handsets come with free Office 365 pre-installed.
As far as specifications are concerned, the Lumia 640's and the Lumia 640 XL's features are not bad. But perhaps what will really attract buyers is the budget-friendly price tags of these two new devices.
For instance, the Lumia 640 starts at a price of $159 (no contract), while the LTE-capable edition of the handset can be purchased for $20 more. As for the larger 640 XL (hence, its name), it comes with a price of $209; with LTE, its costs $239.
Those prices may not beat those of the Lumia 435 and the Lumia 532 released two months ago, but they sure do look good when compared to the iPhone 6's price tag, which without contract starts at $649.
Of course, the new Lumia phones will never be able to beat the latest iPhone at its own game. However, when it comes to emerging economies, or markets wherein a significant percentage of the smartphone buyers are first-time owners, a Lumia handset has a better chance of flying off the store shelves. Such is the case in countries like China and India.
Also, if Microsoft can get these markets to purchase Lumia phones, there is a possibility that these same buyers will make up the foundation of a consumer base that uses handsets that run on Windows.
No doubt, Microsoft is learning from what the Chinese phone makers are doing. China-based brands like Xiaomi, Huawei, and ZTE have all made it big by selling high-quality but budget-friendly devices in emerging markets. But Chinese smartphones have one advantage over Lumia phones -- they run on Android, which is the most popular mobile operating system in the planet right now. Windows is just not at that level yet. That is why Microsoft is spicing up the offer with the free Office 365, which already includes Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
Free Office 365 bundles aside, the Lumia 640 and the Lumia 640 XL do have something to offer. The Lumia 640 is an upgrade over the Lumia 635, Microsoft's previous inexpensive LTE-compatible offering. It has a 5-inch HD display screen, an 8-megapixel camera on the rear side (with LED flash), and a 1-megapixel camera on the front side. As expected, the larger Lumia 640 XL has more generous specs with a 5.7-inch display screen, a 13-megapixel rear camera with Zeiss optics, and a 5-megapixel wide-angle front camera.
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