Microsoft today pinned a target on Samsung and Apple, challenging its rivals to make great innovation affordable.

Talking at its press conference at IFA 2014, where Microsoft announced the Lumia 830 and Lumia 730 models, the company didn't miss an opportunity to swipe at smartphone rivals. 

When it came to announce pricing, Microsoft exhibited the Lumia 830 alongside the Galaxy S5 and the iPhone 5S, with Chris Weber, CVP mobile device sales, saying of the Lumia 830: "It stands alone. This is the affordable flagship."

"Specs wise, it's on par, or better, than its flagship equivalents from Samsung and Apple." Of course, the Lumia 830 undercuts both devices by over €100.

When it came to the cameras, Microsoft also took a bite out of Apple and Samsung.

Comparing low light shots taken with the Lumia 830 against the iPhone, Weber said: "I think people can see a clear difference on the affordable flagship 830 compared to the iPhone."

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But Microsoft saved the best put-down for Samsung: "We also did this with the Galaxy S5 and the image quality, compared even to the iPhone, was worse, so we didn't think it was worth the PowerPoint space."

Microsoft announced a new Lumia Selfie app today, as well as the Lumia 730, a device that's designed to take better selfies, with a 24mm front facing camera.

That provided a prime opportunity to critique the famous Ellen Oscar selfie captured on the Galaxy Note 3.

"It was amazing," said Weber, "but it was also amazingly bad."

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Will selfies sell smartphones? We're not sure they will, but the aggressive pricing on Lumia devices is hard to ignore, especially with rivaling specs and performance. 

Windows Phone 8.1 continues to grow in strength as a core offering, but the biggest criticism of app selection still remains.

Microsoft had a few words to say on that matter too: "I think perception lacks reality," said Weber.

"We've made a tonne of progress, and I would submit that we have more work to do … but look at the numbers: 320,000 apps in the Windows Phone Store and we're adding over 500 apps per week … we're making really good progress."

With the iPhone 6 gearing up for launch on 9 September, we're expecting a succinct retort from Apple. We wait with baited breath.

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