Gadget & Product Reviews

Say Hello To Microsoft's First Smartphone - Lumia 535

Competing in our cut-throat smartphone market is a heady job. Many have tried, some have tasted success while the majority of them have failed or are just about struggling to keep afloat. While we all do have an inkling as to what went right or wrong with the players in this business, most of them have not been able to overcome those troubles and reinvent themselves. One technology giant however, could not take no for an answer and thus took some bold moves in pursuit of market domination – Microsoft.

The Integration Conundrum

Teaser-Lumia-535

Let us take the two prime Operating System developers in the mobile market for example. Apple was smart enough to go with an integrated approach, making its own hardware run its OS (iOS) brilliantly. Add to this its tightly integrated web services, a thoroughly enjoyable retail experience coupled with a walled garden approach to apps (1.2 million and counting) – you have a winner on your hands year after year! HP, upon acquiring the once market leader Palm, also tried its hand at adopting an Apple-esque strategy; but well, we all know how that ended.

Google however, had an entirely different approach to the burgeoning market – Concentrate on building an excellent and open-source mobile software platform while its partners focused on the hardware. The Nexus devices may be an exception to an extent but the OEMs keep changing with every other iteration of the device. But you run into limitations with this approach – Partners’ lack of control over the OS as well as the services that are tied to them give little or no control in the area of user experiences. Having an industry topping spec-sheet of a phone does not guarantee success – better user experience does. Just ask the fruit company.

Microsoft’s partnership with Nokia before the merger was a unique one in the industry – They were two different companies and yet felt more integrated in their approach to building the best hardware and software. They were much more attuned than the relationship Google had with their partners and that is why the merger may have made sense. Why not buy the company that solely churns out devices for your software offerings?

Enter the Lumia 535 : Big on experience they tell us!

MSFT - Lumia - 1
Image Credit : CoolSmartPhone

Nokia, or more specifically the Lumia brand and experience, has been the lone shining light for Microsoft. They provided the company with a foot-hold in a largely entrenched market and a few of their devices competed on par or better in some aspects against other flagship devices from the competition. Foraying on its own may have been a good thing for Microsoft but it was wise of them to adhere to the adage of “Don’t fix it if it ain’t broken” mantra. Lumia is a well-recognised label and is instantly recognised by customers as a “Windows-only” offering and they have done well to retain the same in their first offering aptly named the “Microsoft Lumia 535”, with the four square logo to boot.

Specifications and Photos

Available in 6 bright colours, the Lumia 535 comes with the following hardware spec package to run the Windows Phone 8.1 with Lumia Denim software :

Lumia Spec

Mid-Market the way to go?

The thinking behind launching the Lumia 535 from Microsoft’s point of view may stem from the strategy of appealing more to the mid-market customers in order to build up and increase their customer base using the Windows platform. Microsoft may have done a solid job of gaining new customers over the year but they will have to go a notch higher than merely appealing to niche high-end shoppers. Samsung and Nokia had done the same earlier by launching phones that catered exclusively to the mass-market consumers in developing countries and Microsoft is now doing the same. Build a market up by offering competent handphones and then segment and conquer the other areas with other products in the pipe-line. We need to see how this pans out in the days to come.

Final Thoughts : Value for Money!

The Lumia 535 has Nokia written all over it. The product looks to have been conceived during the final days of the Finnish behemoth before the merger and Microsoft has decided to bring this to the fore. It maybe sometime before the mobile devices team at Microsoft come up with designs purely drawn up at Redmond but Lumia 535 gives them an opportunity to test the waters of an increasingly value-driven market. With a solid spec incorporating a bevy of features and services that Nokia and Microsoft have to offer and the rising number of good third-party apps to try for under INR 10,000, consumers are given a fantastic choice to finally make the jump to the Windows platform.

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