No Flagship Zone: Microsoft MWC 2015

When head of Microsoft Hardware Stephen Elop got on stage Tuesday morning many were hoping for a new Lumia flagship phone.

Their hope was crushed.

What was announced were two phones; the Lumia 640 and 640 Xl. Microsoft also announced a new foldable Universal Keyboard made for Windows (including phones), iOS, and Android. Microsoft was nice enough to let people know that a flagship device would be launched…when Windows 10 ships.

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The two new devices continue Microsoft’s focus on growing volume and the middle of the market; providing value instead of a feature fix for phone geeks. Many will be disappointed in the lack of a bleeding edge device but many should’ve known no new devices will pop up until Windows 10. What the 640 and 640 Xl are, are future Windows 10 devices and mid range phones with an affordable price point. The 640 is a 5inch phone with an 8 mega pixel camera (and front facing) and 1Gb of RAM. It comes in 3G and LTE versions and runs for 139 (3G) and 159 (LTE) in euros. The 5.7 inch 640 XL has similar specs but also a 13 megapixel camera on back and 5 megapixels on the front facing camera along with larger battery. The Xl is priced at 199 and 220 for 3G and LTE. Both launch globally in April across a multitude of vendors.

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The larger news around Windows (and potentially more important) was the announcement of Intel’s new ATOM chips. Intel is tweaking ATOM, its mobile chipset, into three segments: x3, x5, and x7. Now the interesting bit is Intel, or at least one of its VPs, is looking at doing phones running Windows 10 (mobile). If this is true than it raises some interesting questions. The x3 chip is low end and right now will come out on Android phones so the question becomes who’s thinking about Windows and is Microsoft involved.

The last bit of news at MWC for Microsoft is the expansion of its services to other platforms. At the conference Microsoft announced deals with AT&T and Samsung around bundling Office. And SONY announced Office apps will be preinstalled on SONY’s new Z4 tablet.

images: Lumia Conversations

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