After launching overseas last month, the first Windows Phone 8.1 handset is coming to America. Microsoft announced Tuesday that the Lumia 635 arrives on T-Mobile(s tmus) — as well as MetroPCS, which became part of T-Mobile last year — in early July. T-Mobile says the LTE handset is a successor to the highly popular Lumia 521, suggesting that there won’t be a lower-priced Lumia to follow.
The Lumia 635 is rolling out for sale in stages, starting on July 5 via the Home Shopping Network for T-Mobile Simple Choice customers. T-Mobile will start selling the phone online July 9 with retail store sales following on July 16. Two days later, select MetroPCS stores will carry the phone, and it will also be sold on the MetroPCS website.
Pricing will vary based on when and where you purchase the phone. T-Mobile is selling the handset for $0 down and $7 a month for 24-months, which works out to $168. MetroPCS customers will get special promotional pricing, however at $99 for the phone. T-Mobile hasn’t specified a full, upfront price for the phone but I wouldn’t expect it to vary much from the $168 deal; when Nokia officially launched the Lumia 635 with LTE last month, it suggested a retail price of $189.
Having owned a Lumia 520 that I bought for just $40, I’m interested in spending more time with a Lumia 635 as it’s upgraded in nearly every way but won’t break the bank. The phone comes with the latest Windows Phone software, including the Cortana digital assistant app, supports LTE — my older 520 is HSPA-only — and has a nice IPS display for good viewing angles.