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March 2, 2015

Sony and Microsoft battle for budget smartphone market

Lumia 640 will take on Xperia M4 Aqua, whilst Windows tackles Android and iOS.

By Jimmy Nicholls

Sony and Microsoft are probing the growing smartphone market as they seek to usurp incumbent leaders Samsung and Apple, which currently account for more than a third of the market.

Microsoft will showcase the latest budget smartphones Lumia 640 and 640 XL at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona as Sony flaunt Xperia M4 Aqua, with both firms gunning the middle of an increasingly cramped market.

Jo Harlow, CVP for phones at Microsoft, said: "Our newest Lumia devices build on our momentum in the affordable smartphones space. We have packaged competitive hardware with innovative Windows software and Microsoft services to help you achieve more, wherever and whenever you want."

Both Sony and Microsoft have both refrained from launching flagship products in Barcelona, seemingly in fear of being overshadowed by Samsung’s Galaxy S6, showcased on Sunday amid much anticipation.

However they will have to face heavy competition in the middling smartphone market from the likes of LG, Motorola and ZTE, which all announced products several days before the event.

"Xperia M4 Aqua represents our renewed mid-range focus – with no compromises" said Dennis van Schie, head of sales and marketing at Sony Mobile Communications.

"Offering the most popular standout features made famous by our Xperia Z Series; camera capability, two-day battery life and waterproofing – Xperia M4 Aqua brings a proposition and price, products in this section of the market simply cannot match."

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Alongside the Lumina range Microsoft is pushing its Windows operating system, which accounted for a mere 2.7% of the global smartphone market by the end of last year, according to IDC.

Customers will be incentivised to move to Windows 8.1 on mobile through free cloud storage, Microsoft Office and Skype, as well the promise of upgrading to Windows 10 later this year, which will integrate user data across desktop, laptops and mobile devices.

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