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Microsoft Makes the Case for Windows 10 on Phones

While its new products are at the low end, Microsoft promised it hasn't forgotten about the high end of the market.


While Microsoft isn’t introducing any high-end phones in Barcelona, it did promise Monday that it has a new Windows 10 flagship device planned for the second half of this year.

That’s important, as Microsoft hasn’t had a new high-end traditional phone since its Lumia 1020 from mid-2013. The only current high-end model is the big Lumia 1520 phablet.

Equally important, the company needs to re-make its case for Windows Phone in a new world where Microsoft is bringing all of its key software and services to iOS and Android. Stephen Elop, the former Nokia CEO in charge of Microsoft’s devices business, defended Microsoft’s pursuit of both courses.

“This is a practical approach which puts our customers first,” Elop said at a press conference on Monday.

Microsoft also showed off a few Windows 10 features, including a demo of its new Spartan browsing engine as well as an updated version of its Cortana personal assistant. Windows 10, due later this year, is the first version of Microsoft’s operating system designed to run across phones, tablets, PCs and even the Xbox.

Not everything is waiting for Windows 10, though. The company did introduce some low-end models including the Lumia 640, which comes in a variety of forms including 3G and 4G flavors. It starts at 139 euro for the 3G and 159 euro for the LTE version and will start shipping in April. A larger-screen model, the Lumia 640 XL, is also being announced starting at 189 euro.

Those devices will ship initially with Windows Phone 8.1 and will be upgradeable to Windows 10. They also come with a one-year, one-computer subscription to Office 365. Microsoft also previewed the new, touch-first versions of Office designed to work across devices.

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