Microsoft's Lumia 950, 950XL phones unveiled: Specs, release date

Microsoft confirmed the specs of its newest Windows Phones, the premium Lumia 950 and 950XL and will be available starting this November.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor
Microsoft took the wraps off the Lumia 950 and 950XL Windows Phones on October 6 at its Windows 10 Devices launch in New York City.

The specs and names of the new phones had been known for a while, thanks to various leaks from sources and Microsoft's own Web site.

The Lumia 950 is codenamed "Talkman" and Lumia 950XL, "Cityman"

The 950 is a 5.2-inch phone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core; 20 MP Pureview rear-facing camera; a 5 MP front-facing camera; USB-C; Windows Hello Iris recognition; and 32 GB of storage.

The 950 XL is a 5.7-inch model with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core; 20 MP Pureview and 5 MP cameras; USB-C; Windows Hello Iris recognition; and 32 GB of storage.

The two phones work with a new "Microsoft Display Dock" -- the Continuum-supporting device codenamed "Munchkin." The dock includes both USB-C and other USB ports and HDMI and DisplayPort support.

Microsoft's big pitch with these new devices, which are the first Windows Phones to support Continuum, is that they can allow mobile users to use their phones with larger displays and keyboards to use them like full PCs.

These phones are expected to ship with Windows 10 Mobile. Microsoft is delaying delivery of these phones until some time in November 2015 so they can ship with the "Threshold 2" build of Windows 10 Mobile, sources have said.

Microsoft officials said the Lumia 950 will start at $549 and the Lumia 950XL for $649, and will be available starting in November. (More detailed pricing and carrier/country availability wasn't announced during the keynote.)

Microsoft also plans to make a mid-range/low-end Lumia phone, the Lumia 550 for $139 this holiday season. According to previous leaks, The Lumia 550 is a 5-inch phone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 1 GHz quad-core processor; a 5 MP rear-camera and a 2 MP front-facing camera; Windows Hello Iris recognition; and 8 GB of storage (with up to 128 GB available via microSD).

Microsoft is in the midst of doing over its mobile phone strategy, focusing its Windows Phone hardware on three specific categories: Flagship phones, business phones and low-end/volume phones. The company is planning to make far fewer handsets and to work with fewer mobile carriers in the coming months.

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