Microsoft unveils Lumia 640 and 640 XL phablet, with promise of Windows 10 flagship this year

Microsoft has debuted two new mid-tier handsets with a nod towards business users in the form of a free Office 365 subscription.

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The Lumia 640 and Stephen Elop onstage at MWC. Image: Jo Best/Microsoft
Microsoft has promised a Windows 10-powered flagship device for later this year.

Stephen Elop, head of Microsoft's devices and services unit, took to the stage at the MWC trade show in Barcelona to talk up the forthcoming Windows 10 operating system, as well as a new device, the Lumia 640.

"It is our ambition to bring Windows 10 to all Lumia devices running Windows 8.1, noting that some features will vary based on hardware specs. And, later this year, we will introduce new Lumia devices based on Windows 10 including in the flagship tier. Those are our plans," Elop said. The exec's comments follow an announcement by Qualcomm last month which promised a new Lumia flagship was on the way, and would be powered by its Snapdragon 810 chip.

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Unsurprisingly, Windows 10 was one of the main themes of Elop's keynote, and Microsoft showed off a number of features of the operating system running on Lumia smartphones, including the first look at the Spartan browser running on a Lumia 930. Microsoft demoed a new Spartan feature on the Lumia 930, reading view. Reading view allows users to send articles from a Windows 10 PC to a Lumia mobile for reading later.

Elop also announced two new affordable devices, the Lumia 640 and 640 XL. While both will be released running Windows 8.1, they will be upgradeable to Windows 10 later this year.

The Lumia 640 is a five-inch HD device with an eight megapixel rear camera sensor, and a 2500mah battery, available in either single SIM variants for 3G and LTE versions and dual-SIM LTE. The 3G version is priced at €139, the LTE equivalent at €159.

The 640 XL is a chunkier 5.7-inch phablet, with a 13 megapixel camera, Zeiss optics, and LED flash, as well as an 3000mAh battery. Accordingly, it's slightly more expensive at €189 for the 3G and €219 for 4G.

Both the 640 and 640 XL come with an extra carrot: buyers will also get a one-year subscription for Office 365 for the phone as well as one other PC or Mac and one tablet, be it Android, iOS, or Windows 10. The subscription will come with 1TB of free storage to boot.

The 640 will be available from April and the 640 XL from March with all the major operators including , ATT&T, Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile, Telefonica and Orange. As usual, the handsets are available in either standard corporate colours or perkier consumer shades: black, white, orange, and blue.

Elop underlined that the company is targeting the enterprise with the handsets. "It makes these devices great for business users, it has Microsoft services built in that you need for work: Office, Outlook, OneDrive already built in. It works seamlessly with other devices. It fulfils the needs of business IT decision makers with things like enterprise grade security, seamless integration with business IT, platform convergence," he said.

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