Microsoft previously confirmed that it would announce two new smartphones today and it lived up to its promise by announcing successors to the mid-range Lumia 635 that has been a mainstay of US carriers in the Lumia 640 and 640 XL. Both phones take the lessons learned from the 520 and 6 series smartphones, while the 640XL is the result of lessons learned from the previously released 1520 and 1320 phablets.
The Lumia 640 features 4G LTE and Microsoft claims all-day battery life from the 2,500mAh battery. The phone features a 5-inch 720p HD screen and will ship in single-and dual-sim configurations for select markets. The camera has been substantially upgraded from the 635 with an 8-megapixel unit that also features 1080p video capture and an LED flash. It will ship with Windows 8.1 first, but will be upgraded to the full version of Windows 10 when it releases. The Lumia 640 will be available in April with pricing set around $180.
The Lumia 640XL takes the lessons learned from the Nokia 1320 and 1520 phablets and improves upon the 640 by featuring a larger 5.7-inch display at the same resolution, while adding a 13-megapixel main camera with Zeiss enhancements and an LED flash. Like the 640, it will also be made available in single and dual-SIM versions, with dual LTE standby available, a first for a Lumia smartphone.
The biggest sign that Nokia took the design of the 640XL seriously is the focus on improved one-handed operation by giving it the same general design as the 640, just made larger to accommodate the display, which features the same enhancements for outdoor visibility as the 640.
The front facing camera has also been improved with a 5-megapixel unit with a wide angle lens and battery life is also substantially improved over the 640 with a 3,000mAh battery. The Lumia 640 XL will be available in April from AT&T, T-Mobile, and MetroPCS in the U.S., with unlocked pricing set around $245.
In related news Microsoft further detailed additional features that will be included in the mobile version of Windows 10 during its MWC presentation, such as the return of Skype integration in the native messaging application.
The operating system will also expand the number of tools available in the Action Center from four to 12, and newly-installed apps will appear at the top of the app menu. Microsoft also detailed the Project Spartan browser, which it says will adapt to devices regardless of size, being one of the first Windows 10 universal apps.
One new feature mentioned is the Reading List view, which changes the layout of web pages and articles to make them easier to read on devices. As previously mentioned, Project Spartan has also been confirmed as a universal app, meaning it runs across all Windows 10 devices with few differences. Microsoft also demonstrated how HERE Maps will work on the Surface and transition to other form factors, such as PCs and smartphones running Windows 10.
Reminders set in Cortana will soon be able to sync across all Windows 10 devices, regardless of the device used to create the reminder and Cortana’s Notebook feature will be improved at making suggestions based on user interests. Microsoft also detailed changes to the email application that will make it easier to flag or archive messages, set calendar appointments, highlight and select text, as well as adding contacts for threaded conversations. Windows 10 will be released later this year.
Finally, Microsoft also reiterated its commitment to releasing a Windows Phone flagship during mid-year as a part of a larger plan for a refreshed slate of Windows Phone devices beginning with the 640/640XL. The last Windows Phone flagship released was the Lumia 930 in the middle of 2014 and an exclusive variant of that phone was released on Verizon Wireless as the Lumia Icon.