Microsoft Reportedly Preparing Pair of Premium Lumia Smartphones

The new Lumia phones will be higher-end devices with larger displays, compared to the typical Lumia low-cost phones that Microsoft has been building in recent years.

Lumia smartphones

Microsoft appears to be getting back into the higher-end smartphone market based on rumors of two new Lumia handsets coming later in 2015 that boast larger screens, six- or eight-core processors and other premium features.

The premium Lumia smartphones, code-named the Cityman and the Talkman, will include 5.7-inch and 5.2- inch QHD displays respectively, as well as 64-bit Qualcomm processors, according to a May 1 report by UnleashThePhones.

The larger Cityman handset will feature a Qualcomm eight-core processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal memory through a microSD card slot, a 20 megapixel rear camera, a 5 megapixel front-facing camera and a 3300mAh removable battery, according to the report. The Lumia Talkman will feature a six-core Qualcomm processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal memory through a microSD card slot, a 20 megapixel rear camera, a 5 megapixel front-facing camera and a 3000mAh removable battery, the report continued. The cameras on both smartphones will also include triple-LED flash for more natural colors in photos.

Both smartphones are expected to debut in the second half of 2015, after Windows 10 is released, according to the report.

Microsoft has been releasing Lumia phones that have been competing more on the low prices in the marketplace. In March, the company unveiled its Lumia 640 and 640 XL smartphones with single- or dual-SIM capabilities and 3G or LTE connectivity, at prices ranging from about $154 to $242, according to an earlier eWEEK story. The new handsets, which were announced at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona, Spain, include 5-inch or 5.7-inch HD displays, respectively, and pricing that starts at $154 for a basic Lumia 640 model with 3G connectivity and rises to about $242 for a 640 XL with LTE capabilities.

Both new smartphones will be upgradeable to Windows 10 after its release later in 2015, and both will be available in single-SIM or dual-SIM versions, as well as versions incorporating 3G or Long-Term Evolution (LTE) connectivity. The latest Lumia handsets come in two sizes and models, just like Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models and Samsung's newest Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge devices. It appears to be an ongoing market trend to sell standard and phablet-sized versions of key handsets to offer more consumer choice while reusing many key components in both models.

The Lumia 640 and 640 XL both share some key basic features, including 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processors, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of on-board storage, which is expandable to 128GB with a micro SD card, and 30GB of free Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage. Both devices also run on the Windows Phone 8.1 operating system, including the Lumia Denim update, and feature 1,280 by 720 resolution and displays that are covered by Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

The Lumia 640 has an 8MP main rear camera, while the Lumia 640 XL includes a 13MP rear camera with Zeiss optics. Both include LED flash. The 640 also features a 1MP front-facing camera, while the 640 XL includes a 5MP wide-angle front camera. There's a 2,500mAh battery in the Lumia 640 and a 3,000mAh battery in the Lumia 640 XL.

Both models will be available in various configurations for users around the world, including in 4G LTE or 3G versions as well as with single- or dual-SIM card slots to allow connectivity in almost any country.

In January, Microsoft unveiled its super-low-cost $29 Nokia 215 phone that is aimed at select markets in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. No United States availability has yet been announced. The Nokia 215 will be available in bright green, black or white.

The devices, which run on the Nokia Series 30+ operating system, will include a 2.4-inch QVGA display, a micro SD slot supporting up to 32GB of storage, a 1,100mAh battery and a VGA camera. The 2.78-ounce Nokia 215 measures 4.57 inches long, 1.97 inches wide and a half-inch in thickness.