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Windows Phone 8.1 Arriving With T-Mobile Launch

Bellevue, Wash. — T-Mobile will be the first national carrier to offer the U.S.-market Nokia Lumia smartphone available out of the box with Windows 8.1 OS and the OS’s Cortana personal assistant.

T-Mobile customers will be able to buy the LTE-equipped Nokia Lumia 635 for $0 down plus a monthly payment of $7 for 24 months with a postpaid Simple Choice plan. Customers of T-Mobile’s MetroPCS prepaid brand will get the device at a promotional price of $99.

The T-Mobile postpaid version of the phone will be available July 5 through the Home Shopping Network, July 9 through the carrier’s online store, and July 16 in participating T-Mobile stores nationwide. On July 18, the phone will be available at select MetroPCS stores and on the MetroPCS website.

Availability through indirect channels wasn’t disclosed.

For owners of the Nokia Lumia 521 and Nokia Lumia 925 devices, T-Mobile and MetroPCS plan to make available an over-the-air Windows Phone 8.1 update available sometime later this year.

Jason Young, T-Mobile’s senior marketing VP, said his company will be “offering up the Lumia 635 weeks before the other guys through both T-Mobile and MetroPCS.” AT&T previously said it would offer the device at an undisclosed time.

The Lumia 635 will succeed the Lumia 521, which T-Mobile called “one of the best-selling Windows Phone devices ever for both T-Mobile and MetroPCS.”

The phone features 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm CPU, 4.5-inch 854 by 480 display with 221 ppi, 512MB RAM, 5-megapixel main camera, 8GB capacity, 128GB MicroSD slot, Bluetooth 4.0, and HSPA+42Mbps and LTE cellular technologies.

It also has sensors to track location and motion for use with a Bing Health and Fitness app and other planned fitness apps. They also come with changeable color shells, Microsoft Office, free Nokia MixRadio streaming service and free Here global maps with turn-by-turn navigation.

New features enabled by the Windows Phone 8.1 OS include a Siri-like voice assistant called Cortana, a central hub for notification of messages from different apps and services, and Word Flow, said to be an intuitive smartphone keyboard that lets users glide a finger over the screen to let the device predict what users are going to type.

Windows Phone 8.1 also adds new Start Screen personalization features, such as an extra column of Live Tiles and ability to use pictures as background for each tile.

Also new are individual volume settings for such things as ringtones and music playback.

Matt Rothschild, head of North America sales for Microsoft mobile devices, touted the phone as “one of the best affordable smartphone available today.”