Microsoft Unveils Much-Anticipated Lumia 535 Smartphones

The Lumia 535 will come in 3G single-SIM or 3G dual-SIM models and retail for about $138, depending on the market. Release schedules have not yet been disclosed.

Microsoft Lumia 535

Microsoft took the wraps off its new Lumia 535 smartphone after several weeks of rumors, and it turns out that two models of the Lumia 535 will actually be released, including single- and dual-SIM versions. The new smartphones were announced by Microsoft in a Nov. 10 blog post on the Blogging Windows Blog.

Highlighting each of the Lumia 535 models is a bright 5-inch capacitive discharge touch-screen display covered by Corning's Gorilla Glass 3, a 5MP auto-focus, wide-angle main camera, Windows Phone 8.1, a 1,905-mAh removable battery and 8GB of internal memory. The phones will also support micro SD cards of up to 128GB for additional storage.

The Lumia 535 also includes a Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 1.2GHz quad-core processor, a 5MP fixed-focus front camera and Microsoft's Cortana digital assistant. Also included are integrated Microsoft services such as Skype, OneNote, a Lumia selfie app and the Lumia Denim Update, which provides enhancements for Windows Phone 8.1.

For users, the availability of the new Lumia 535 with either a single- or dual-SIM card adds flexibility, particularly for users who often travel to foreign countries and want to get lower rates on calls or avoid carrying two phones. By having a dual-SIM model, the Lumia 535 allows users to install SIM cards for their native countries and for the countries where they are traveling so they can get the best of rates in both places.

Both phones will be available in November in "key markets," according to Microsoft, but so far, no further details on availability or pricing by country have been announced. It is not yet known if the phones will be available in the United States or when.

The Lumia 535 will be available in bright green, bright orange, white, dark gray, cyan and black. The phones are expected to start at about $138, according to Microsoft.

Also included for Lumia 535 users is 15GB of free Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage to store photos, documents or other files. The smartphones also support Bluetooth LE.

Earlier in November, Microsoft teased about the then-upcoming Lumia 535 phones, posting only a taunting headline and a partial photo about the soon-to-be-unveiled handsets, according to an earlier eWEEK story. The dual-SIM feature garnered lots of attention because of its flexibility for users.

In early October, Microsoft released the low-cost Lumia 530 smartphone for $79.20 without a contract through T-Mobile, according to an earlier eWEEK report. The 530 runs on the Windows Phone 8.1 operating system and includes a 4-inch LCD touch-screen, a quad-core processor, dual-SIM capabilities and a rear-facing 5MP camera. Also included is 4GB of storage.

Microsoft's Lumia smartphone line appears to represent the future of the company's mobile division and strategy, according to a July eWEEK report. The Lumia 530 is not intended to take on Apple's iPhone, but is aimed at carrying the Windows Phone flag into emerging markets and growing the worldwide market for Windows Phone devices.

Also in October, Microsoft announced that it is rebranding its Nokia nameplate as Microsoft Lumia after acquiring Nokia's mobile handset business for $7.1 billion in April.

The Lumia line of Windows-based phones, despite being generally well-received, has barely made a dent in unseating Android and iOS from the top of the smartphone market.

In September, analysts at ComScore named Android the top smartphone operating system for July 2014, with 51.5 percent market share. Apple placed second, with 42.4 percent, while Microsoft claimed a distant third place, with 3.6 percent.