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From Microsoft: Two new Lumia smartphones to upgrade later to Windows 10

Matt Hamblen | March 3, 2015
High-end versions of the Lumia phones running the Windows 10 natively promised for later in 2015.

BARCELONA -- Microsoft today announced two new Lumia smartphones running Windows Phone 8.1, which will be upgraded to the cross-platform Windows 10 later in the year.

The company gave news media at Mobile World Congress a brief glimpse of how Windows 10 apps, such as an Excel spreadsheet, maps and Outlook email, look on a smartphone display. Windows 10 is currently in a publicly available preview version and will be ready for official release later in 2015.

The new phones are the Lumia 640, with a 5-in. display, and the Lumia 640 XL with a 5.7-in. screen. The larger device ships in March and the smaller one in April, and both AT&T and T-Mobile will offer them. Pricing was estimated at about $178 for the Lumia 640 on LTE and about $245 for the Lumia 640 XL on LTE, but pricing will vary by market and operator, Microsoft said.

Microsoft also announced a Bluetooth-capable keyboard that can be folded in half to fit in a pocket or purse. It is larger than the Lumia 640 XL when folded in half. Further specs and pricing weren't immediately available.

Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia under Microsoft, described the new Lumia devices as further manifestation of Microsoft's commitment for Windows 10 apps and services that work across phones, tablets, laptops and desktops and even across major operating systems.

On-stage demonstrations showed how an Excel spreadsheet will look on the Lumia 640 XL, allowing on-display touches to re-size cells of data. In one demonstration, a Surface Pro 3 tablet was used to search for a map of downtown Barcelona, then the same map was sized on a smartphone. In another demo, a Barcelona restaurant dinner reservation reminder for 8 p.m. was set on a Surface tablet using voice commands with the Cortana digital assistant, then the reservation was shown immediately on the smartphone. The spoken command for 8 p.m. was misunderstood by Cortana as 6 p.m., explained as a fault of a live demo in a crowded and loud exhibition hall.

"Developers can build universal experiences and deliver them across different types of Windows devices," Elop said. "It is our hope that our cross-platform initiatives will deliver not only across our platforms, but those of others." Elop said there are now 2.8 million developers and others registered as Windows insiders to work on Windows 10 apps and services.

AT&T will be a partner working on a mobile Office suite platform, he said. The new high-end Lumia smartphones will ship with Windows 10 later in 2015, he added.

Microsoft's next Build conference for developers will be held April 29.

Elop allowed that while Windows 10 in preview still "has a few rough edges," it is "important to share features and for you to share your feedback with us. There's a lot to love for Windows on phones."


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