Microsoft has just launched some low-end Windows Phone smartphones in Thailand for the first time, in order to try and compete head on with the Chinese companies making inroads into the lucrative Thai market.
Microsoft launches Lumia 435 in Thailand
Chinese Android smartphones are especially popular in Thailand, due to their decent specifications and attractive prices, especially for anyone that wants the latest 3G and 4G devices.
Microsoft, which bought Nokia last year, is intending to increase its market share starting with the release of the latest Lumia device, the dual-SIM Lumia 435, prices at below 3,000 baht.
According to the Bangkok Post, Samarn Takort, head of technical sales at Microsoft Devices Thailand, said recently “we believe 9 million mobiles in the country still use wireless 2G”, so there’s obviously a market for cheap, no-frills handsets that are 3G and even 4G ready.
The Lumia 435 comes in at 2,990 baht, while its more expensive sibling the Lumia 532 costs just 3,590 baht. Microsoft also offers some rather tempting features as standard such as Microsoft Office pre-installed, as well as free cloud storage and Skype credit worth 1,000 baht for free on both models.
“This segment could have one of the highest growth rates this year, about 30% of the overall handset market”, said Mr Samarn. He also said that around 20-25 million new phones will be sold in Thailand this year, but up to 20% of these will be basic ‘feature phones’ that don’t have all the latest features. Even the more basic phones are declining in sales as more subscribers are being migrated to 3G services – and one day in the future, 4G.
Microsoft will be hoping that Thai software developers embrace Windows Phone, especially as the company is gearing up to launch its latest operating system, Windows 10, later this year.
Our editor Jonathan recently saw the Lumia 435 at the Mobile Expo in Bangkok, and he tells me his first impressions were positive. “Microsoft’s budget-conscious models the 435 and 532 are great devices for the Thai market”, he explains, adding “the phones are attractive and include all the apps most users will need, plus there’s the added bonus of dual-SIM support, a particularly popular feature of smartphones in Thailand and Asia. Microsoft should do well with these two new devices”.
Would you buy the Lumia 435 or its sibling the 532? Let us know in the comments below if you like Windows Phone, or perhaps you prefer Android or Apple?