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Microsoft's new Lumia 550 announced at $139

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The Windows budget phone is back

Microsoft is staying in the budget phone market with the new Lumia 550, announced today at a press event in New York City. The 5-inch device is meant to replace the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL as Microsoft's budget phone for developing countries, as well as cost-conscious consumers in the US and Europe.

The 550 will be familiar to anyone who spotted leaker Evan Blass' tweets from last week showing fresh renderings of the device, or the images leaked on Facebook the week before indicating the device's specs. The device will come with a quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 210 and 5-megapixel camera, starting at 8GB of storage for $139 this December in European markets. Microsoft plans to expand availability in 2016.

The Lumia 550 sits in the shadow of the 950 and 950 XL, both of which were given ample stage time today at Microsoft's event while the 550 was a passing mention at the tail end of the smartphone announcements. Yet while it may not be a flagship device, the 550 is part of a family of devices Microsoft has used to bump up its market share outside the US. Given the uncertain future of Microsoft's mobile efforts after the company wrote off assets related to the Nokia acquisition earlier this year, it appears important for Microsoft to continue aiming at all price points.

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