Tuesday, 14 April 2015 10:48

Lumia adds two new affordable 4G LTE models

By

The 640 and 640 XL are 4G LTE smartphones with 5” and 5.7” screens at (SRP) A$299 and $399 respectively. They will be in Australian stores and on-line from early May.

The price that also includes:

  • Latest full desktop version of Office 365 Personal for one year - Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook. The subscription will be available for use across various platforms including one PC or Mac, one tablet, including a Windows tablet, iPad or Android tablet, plus easy access on one smartphone.
  • 1TB OneDrive storage for 12 months
  • 60 Skype world minutes of calling per month for 12 months to 60+ country landlines and mobiles in 8 countries
  • Free upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile

They represent excellent value and have specifications well above their price.

Lumia 640

Lumia 640

Lumia 640 XL

Operating system

Windows Phone 8.1 with Lumia Denim

same

HERE location services

Free global HERE Maps and HERE Drive+

Free HERE Transit available in the Store

same

Display

5” HD (1280x720, 16:9) IPS LCD, 294 PPI, Glance screen Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Sunlight readability enhancements

5.7” HD (1280x720, 16:9) IPS LCD, 259 PPI

same

 

Battery

2500 mAh battery, removable.

10 hours continuous video playback

3000 mAh battery, removable

11 hours continuous video playback

Processor

1.2 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor

same

Main camera

8MP, f2.2, AF, LED Flash, HD 24fps video

13MP, f2.0, Zeiss, same

Front facing camera

1 MP FF, f2.4

5 MP FF

Sensors etc

SensaCore, Accelerometer, Micro SIM, GOSMagnetometer, Proximity and Ambient light, NFC, FM radio, USB 2.0

same

4G LTE CAT 4

LTE FDD network: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 17, 20, 28, 38, 40

Same – optimized for Australian carriers

Memory

1GB RAM, 8GB + free OneDrive,

micro SD up to 128GB

same

Dimensions

141.3 x 72.2 x 8.85mm

145 g

157.9 x 81.5 x 9mm

171g

Lumia Denim is the last iteration of Windows 8.1 Phone and has the new Lumia Camera app, Cortana voice activation, MSN Weather and MSN Health & Fitness support for the Glance Screen as well as some of the new Windows 10 features such as folders.

As the bastion of Windows Phones Lumia – now owned by Microsoft – has released phones to cover the entire market range. Like motorcar manufacturers, it has the 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, and 15 series – to ensure something for everyone.

Lumia sales under Microsoft are booming. Depending on which analyst you follow and which country you are in it has achieved from around 3% to as high as 12%. The story is the same everywhere – there is a definite upturn in popularity.

Windows Phone has struggled because smartphone users are attracted to the ‘flash the marketing cash’ Samsung, and the apparent prestige in paying more for Apple products. Yet once people try Windows Phone they generally love it.

I put several questions about Lumia strategy to Steve Lewis, General Manager of Microsoft Devices in Australia. To paraphrase the general conversation:

  • Windows Phone now has most of the important apps used in the consumer space so it is not a question of 1M apps for Android or iOS but which ones do people use
  • Windows Phone is secure (at this time) – no malware and virus; App store controlled by Microsoft; over the air only updates – no rooting; sandbox technology; and advanced security and mobile device management features coming in Windows 10
  • Cortana in Australia will most likely go from Alpha testing to final version with the release of Windows 10 – at the moment its still learning ‘Australianisms’
  • Market penetration varies due to four distribution models.
  1. Pre-paid plan value phones (telco offers)
  2. Post-paid plan medium cost phones (telco offers)
  3. Post-paid or outright purchase top end phones (telco offers)
  4. Retail market including branded stores

 In countries where Microsoft is doing best, it has all markets covered. Where it is doing well in Australia is in post-paid plans for business (6, 7 and 8 series), pre-paid plans for consumer (4 and 6 series) and outright purchase (9, 10, 15 series).

“Business has seen that it can give staff a 640 4G LTE fully featured smartphones for about 30% of the price of an iPhone. It make sense - value drives business,” he said.

“Add to that our offer of Office 365 Personal, 1TB OneDrive storage, and 60 Skype minute’s per month, and easier mobile device management - Lumia has a compelling offering,” he said.

Opinion

These phones are significant in that they represent the 4th generation of Lumia Windows Phones actually designed and made by Microsoft instead of Nokia. While they still have the distinctive Lumia polycarbonate look, they reflect what Microsoft has learned since it took over Nokia’s smartphone business in 2014.

Me – I am looking forward to Windows 10 Mobile and the raft of new handsets – although the 640 series are really the latest tech so there is no need to hang back.


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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