Ever since buying Nokia, Microsoft has made its Windows Phone ambitions clear. Instead of rapidly iterating to keep pace with the Galaxy S5s and HTC Ones of the world, it would focus on pushing the price down to compete with the low-end Android devices that make up the bulk of the smartphone market around the world. Today, it's taken another step towards making that ambition a reality with the launch of the Lumia 435, a handset that costs just €69 (roughly $80) before tax.
For perspective, that $80 price tag is where Nokia's Asha program was at a year ago. It's a big achievement for Microsoft to get the price this low this quickly, but what exactly do you get for your dollars? Something very similar to the Lumia 530. The 435 has the same 4-inch WVGA display and 1.2GHz Snapdragon, but it does contain 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, which doubles the 530's offerings. Another change between the handsets is the return to capacitive keys -- the 530 has on-screen buttons instead. This being Windows Phone, Microsoft points out that your $80 also gets you its full Office suite. That's really the point here -- Microsoft doesn't particularly want to sell you a phone, it just wants to make sure you're using its services.
Microsoft's Lumia 532, a 4-inch version of the 535.
In addition to the 435 -- the first "400 series" device -- Microsoft is also giving its 500 series an update. The Lumia 532 is almost identical internally to the company's 535, but with a 4-inch WVGA in place of a 5-inch display. That means you'll get a the same 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon, 1GB of RAM, 5-megapixel camera and 8GB of storage. It'll cost €79 (roughly $93) before tax. Both will be available in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa starting February -- no word on a North American launch yet.