Nokia introduced three new Lumia smartphones April 2, including its newest flagship, the Lumia 930.
The news arrived the same day Microsoft previewed its Windows Phone 8.1 Update, the latest version of its mobile operating system, which the new Lumias will be the first to run out of the box. They’ll also boast features exclusive to Nokia.
Microsoft is in the process of acquiring Nokia’s handset business, and expects the deal to close this month.
Stephen Elop, now Microsoft’s executive vice president of Nokia’s Devices & Services, called the phones “the best of Lumia and the best of Microsoft.”
Nokia, he added, is delivering “an uncompromised imaging experience, great design and better business phones.”
The Lumia 930 features a 5-inch 1080p ClearBlack display, a bright polycarbonate back and an unexpected (and iPhone-like) metal trim around its sides. It runs a 2.2GHz quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage along with Microsoft’s new voice assistant, Cortana.
“Cortana is the only digital assistant that gets to know you, builds a relationship that you can trust, and gets better over time by asking questions based on your behavior and checking in with you before she assumes you’re interested in something,” Microsoft Corporate Vice President Joe Belfiore said in a blog post after he introduced the 8.1 Update at the company’s Build 2014 event in San Francisco.
Belfiore added that Cortana “detects and monitors the stuff you care about, looks out for you throughout the day, and helps filter out the noise so you can focus on what matters to you.”
Cortana can also interact with third-party apps on the phone, so users can do things like ask Cortana to make a Skype video call or send a Tweet.
The 930 also features a 20-megapixel PureView camera and four directional microphones with Surround-Sound, as well as Nokia MixRadio, which offers commercial-free music at no additional cost.
The 930 will begin shipping in June, for $599 before any subsidy. Belfiore said a beta version of Cortana will launch in the United States “shortly,” followed by a production version, for the U.S., U.K. and China, in the second half of 2014.
The lower priced Lumia 630 and 635 have 4.5-inch displays, interchangeable and colorful plastic shells, quad-core processors and prices below $200.
The 635, which T-Mobile and MetroPCS will sell in the United States, includes Cortana, LTE access, Nokia’s free mapping and navigation services, MixRadio, the Nokia Camera app, as well as Microsoft Office, OneDrive, Whatsapp and Instagram.
T-Mobile, in an April 2 statement, said the 635 builds on all the qualities that made its predecessor, the Lumia 521, “so popular.”
It will arrive “this summer,” according to Nokia, which puts the price at $189, though T-Mobile has yet to announce its pricing.
The Lumia 630, priced at $159 and with a dual-SIM option and 3G access, will head for Asia, the Middle East, South America and parts of Europe in May.
Again, all run Windows Phone 8.1, which includes detail-rich Live Tiles; one-swipe access to the user’s Action Center; fast WordFlow typing on the on-screen keyboard (the ability to drag your finger from letter to letter without lifting it); better battery life; WiFi Sense, which helps users connect to free public hotspots to save cellular data; and features that make it easier for IT teams to manage the devices and connect them to essential business apps.
Belfiore added that Microsoft is “very proud” of the progress it has made with Windows Phone, which research firm IDC called the fastest-growing smartphone platform of 2013.
“We think the future is even brighter,” said Belfiore.