A closer look at the Microsoft Lumia 535, and finally saying goodbye to Nokia

Windows Phone is a fantastic mobile operating system, hindered only by a lack of apps. To be more specific, Google's lack of support makes Microsoft's mobile operating system a non-starter for many. Hell, my colleague Joe Wilcox recently declared his disdain for the platform, even though he loves the hardware. It's unfortunate, really.

Today, Microsoft officially announces the Lumia 535 - notably missing the Nokia branding. The first handset featuring "Microsoft Lumia" branding is a low-end affair that will do nothing to sway Windows Phone detractors, or woo users of the popular iPhone. Instead, it represents affordability and style, targeting cost-conscious consumers in emerging markets.

"Microsoft Corp. announced on Monday the Microsoft Lumia 535 and Lumia 535 Dual SIM smartphones running the latest Windows Phone 8.1 operating system, bringing the latest Microsoft experiences to more affordable price levels. Offering five great included Microsoft experiences, a wide-angle 5 megapixel front-facing camera, and a spacious 5-inch display - all for an affordable price - Lumia 535 and Lumia 535 Dual SIM help people do more of what they want, for less", says Microsoft.

Jo Harlow, corporate vice president for Phones at Microsoft explains, "Lumia 535 comes with our '5x5x5' proposition. Innovation should be available to everyone, and we are doing this through the very best integrated Microsoft services included and out of the box, a 5MP wide-angle front-facing camera, and a spacious 5-inch qHD screen - all at an affordable price.”

The company touts the following benefits of the smartphone:

  • Make memorable Skype video calls, and seamlessly switch between voice and video with built-in Skype integration.
  • Access, edit and share Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents and OneNote notebooks wherever you are, with the pre-installed Office suite.
  • Save and sync photos, videos and Office documents securely with 15 GB of free OneDrive cloud storage.
  • Experience Cortana, a truly personal virtual assistant that anticipates people’s needs and makes tailored suggestions.
  • Connect with work and personal e-mail while on the go, with Microsoft Outlook built in.
  • Showcase photos and videos, or get even more productive with Office on the large, 5-inch qHD display.
  • Fit more memorable backgrounds or add more friends into Skype video calls and selfies with the 5MP wide-angle front-facing camera.
  • Never miss a call or text, and be reachable on both SIM cards at any time with Smart Dual SIM for maximum flexibility.

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The Lumia 535 will ship in 6 fun colors - bright green, bright orange, white, dark grey, cyan and black. I really love bright green and orange, but sadly, this phone is not in my future. You see, it will not be coming to the USA, but instead seems destined for China, Hong Kong and Bangladesh, with the suggested off-contract price of 110 Euros. Yes, you are reading that correctly - the Lumia 535 is an absolute steal.

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Sure, the 1.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 200 and 1GB of RAM are hardly top of the line, but Windows Phone is rather nimble on lesser hardware - it should be fine.

It comes with a paltry 8GB of onboard storage, but you can add up to 128GB more using the micro SD slot - something some flagships don't even have.

What do you think of the Lumia 535? Are you sad to see the Nokia branding gone? Tell me in the comments.