Microsoft's Flagship Lumia 950 Windows 10 Phone Goes on Sale

The Windows 10-powered smartphone, which can double as a serviceable desktop, is available exclusively at AT&T.

Microsoft Lumia 950

Just in time for the holidays, the Lumia 950 and 950 XL are officially available in the United States, Microsoft announced today. Interested buyers have only one choice of carrier, however, since the handset is only currently available at AT&T physical and online stores.

Microsoft officially took the wraps off the new Windows 10 handset at last month's hardware event in New York. In a somewhat perplexing move, given the company's increasing focus on mobility, Microsoft Marketing Manager Bryan Roper spent several minutes exploring the Lumia's new PC-like experience when it is linked to a monitor, keyboard and mouse with a Microsoft Display Dock.

Using the Continuum mode-switching technology, Roper showed off how the handsets can display a Windows 10 desktop, complete with universal Office apps, along with multitasking capabilities. With a click of the Outlook taskbar icon, "I can jump to that app and utilize it like you would expect on a PC," except the experience is powered by a phone, he said while switching between apps on stage.

Panos Panay, corporate vice president for Surface Computing at Microsoft, echoed that theme in a Nov. 20 announcement. "With the Lumia 950, as well as the Lumia 950 XL, we set out to create the phone that works like a PC, and we succeeded—and are thrilled for our fans to get their hands on these new and exciting devices."

In many ways, the Lumia 950 is the embodiment of Windows 10 mobile and a software ecosystem that spans PCs, tablets and smartphones.

"You won't miss a beat with the same look and feel across Outlook mail and calendar, apps like Microsoft Edge browser, Office, Cortana, Xbox, Photos, and Maps—all kept in synch through OneDrive—so you have access to your stuff, whenever and wherever you are," Panos stated. "Of course, these devices also have Cortana as your personal assistant, including location-based reminders you can set on your PC that will arrive on your phone at just the right time."

In terms of hardware, Microsoft doubled down on one of Lumia's hallmark features: the camera.

"Of course, these devices have a great camera as we've continued to advance the Lumia heritage in photography with a new PureView camera that boasts a 20MP sensor, triple LED natural flash, 5th-generation optical image stabilization, and Rich Capture," Panos stated. Zeiss optics and a dedicated camera button remain staple features, while budding videographers can now capture footage in 4K resolution.

Under the hood, the new Lumia 950s are powered by a six-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor running at 1.8GHz. The 950 sports a 5.2-inch AMOLED "Quad HD" touch-screen with a resolution of 2,560 pixels by 1,140 pixels. The 950 XL's screen measures 5.7 inches with the same resolution.

The Lumia 950 and 950 are available at AT&T with a starting price of $149. In the United States, Microsoft's online store will begin carrying the phones on Wednesday, Nov. 25. On Thanksgiving (Nov. 26), the phones will arrive at company's brick-and-mortar locations. The international rollout is scheduled for the next few weeks.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...