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Microsoft Launches Budget Windows 10 Business Phone

Microsoft this week added another device to its Windows 10 smartphone lineup -- the enterprise-focused Lumia 650.

The new Lumia 650 became available to "select European markets" on Monday, Microsoft said in a blog post. Priced at $199, the Lumia 650 is aimed at business users looking for budget-friendly devices, a niche that until now has been overlooked by Microsoft's current roster of Windows 10 phones. The Lumia 950 and a 950 XL are aimed primarily at enthusiasts and carry premium price tags -- $550 and $650, respectively -- while the $139 Lumia 550 is designed for emerging markets.

"We're extremely proud of the Lumia 650 and believe it will quickly be seen as the device that provides the perfect balance between work and personal needs," Microsoft said.

Lumia 650 specs include:

  • Display: 5-inch OLED, 1280x720 resolution
  • Cameras: 5MP front-facing, 8MP rear-facing
  • Memory: 16GB internal storage, 1GB RAM
  • Battery: 16 hours of maximum talk time
  • Processor: Quad-core 1.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 212 

Like Microsoft's other Windows 10 devices, the Lumia 650 comes with Microsoft Office apps pre-installed, the Cortana digital assistant and cloud storage via OneDrive. For businesses, the device also features mobile VPN, the ability to remotely lock and wipe, device encryption and PIN lock. "It also allows IT to test the latest Windows 10 Mobile updates against critical line of business systems and apps, before you distribute to end users via MDM," Microsoft said.

Notably, however, the Lumia 650 does not support Windows 10's "Continuum" feature, which lets users connect their Windows 10 smartphone to a mouse/keyboard to enable a PC-like user experience. It also does not have any biometric security capabilities, which Microsoft has introduced to other Windows 10 devices via the new "Hello" feature. These features perhaps require more sophisticated hardware than what Microsoft can offer at a $200 price point (for instance, Windows Hello requires special infrared cameras for facial or iris recognition).

The launch of the Lumia 650 comes as Microsoft continues to sideline its Windows Phone business. In July 2015, after numerous consecutive quarters of stagnant and single-digit market share, CEO Satya Nadella signaled "a fundamental restructuring" of Microsoft's phone business, narrowing its target markets to business customers, low-end buyers and enthusiasts.

Windows Phone revenue declined by nearly 50 percent in Microsoft's latest quarterly report.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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