Microsoft launched the Lumia 535 in the Kenyan market on December 16 2014, the first device since the software giant acquired the Finnish handsets maker, Nokia, not to bear the latter’s brand name, marking the beginning of the end for the iconic mobile handset name in the high end segment of the market.
Microsoft has the right to use the Nokia name for 10 years, but recently announced that it would no longer use the brand on its smartphones. The removal of the Nokia brand applies to smartphones only, and not so called “feature” phones such as the Nokia 105, 112 and 210 models targeted at the low-end market.
“The Microsoft brand name is very familiar and high in regard. If anything, it might help push sales and share slightly due simply to the increased focus of giant Microsoft towards its smartphones,” said Mariam Abdullah, general manager, Microsoft devices East Africa.
Lumia 535 is a dual SIM phone which features a five-inch screen, a 5MP rear camera autofocus with flash and a 5MP back camera in what the company called “triple 5.” The launch in Kenya, the first in Africa, followed successful global launch in Berlin on November 10.
The device has recorded global phenomenal sales especially in Vietnam and India. The company is targeting middle-income earners with its devices and plans are in the wind to make high-end devices to compete with other phone makers in the market.
“Innovation is our impetus and we are launching products meant for all markets,” said Ms Abdullahi, GM Microsoft Mobile Device East Africa. Microsoft will continue selling the Nokia Lumia devices available in the market. “We are not ending our partnership with Nokia. In fact all these apps available in Lumia 535 are all from Nokia,” said King’ori Gitahi Product Manager at Microsoft East Africa.
The handset is retailing at Sh13,800. However, Microsoft partnered with Telkom Kenya’s Orange to offer the phone at Sh8,450 for the first 200 buyers in selected Orange mobile outlets.
Lumia 535 device features offline maps to give direction without data bundle. It comes with OneDrive cloud storage with a capacity of 33GB and there are over 350,000 apps available in the AppStore.