Pre-orders begin on Lumia 638, Microsoft’s $132 4G phone for India

The latest Lumia phone in India is available for pre-orders exclusively though the region’s Amazon site. Microsoft is selling the Lumia 638 — a variant of the previously released Lumia 635 — for INR 8,299 (US $131.71). It packs a reasonable amount of features in the phone for that price. If Microsoft can build a strong following for the Lumia line in India, it can reap solid market share from the world’s second most populous nation.

lumia 638 white

[company]Microsoft[/company] is touting the 4G LTE connectivity of the Lumia 638. That’s a wise move: I browsed a major phone retailer’s site in India and found that most of the comparably priced handsets were 3G-only devices.

In fact, at this price point, the Lumia 638 stacks up reasonably well with the competition, based on its hardware capabilities. A 1.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 powers the phone, which has a 4.5-inch ClearBlack screen with 854 x 480 resolution. There’s 8 GB of internal storage with the option to add up to 128 GB more through a microSD card. The 5 megapixel front camera can capture 720p video and the 1830 mAh battery is rated for 9.4 hours of Wi-Fi browsing. GPS, Bluetooth 4.0 and multiple sensors are inside as well: You can track your daily steps with the phone, which runs Windows Phone 8.1 software.

Software is a big part of this puzzle for Microsoft as it tries to keep people using its mobile software. To that end, the phone runs Microsoft Office, OneDrive, MixRadio, and Nokia’s HERE maps to name just a few titles.

Are there less expensive [company]Google[/company] Android phones from a range of brand names available in India? Absolutely. But Microsoft has an appealing package for a reasonable price in the Lumia 638. And the smartphone revolution still has plenty of room to grow in India. With the Lumia 638, Microsoft hopes to ride that wave and grow share before the market gets too saturated.

Update: With perfect timing, this article about $30 to $60 phones for India published today by Leo Mirani is an excellent read; at the low-end these don’t have cellular data while the high-end gets you 3G. Also, Mirani notes that more than one billion people in India aren’t yet connected to the web.