NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In the 10 months since Microsoft (MSFT) announced it was buying Nokia's (NOK) phone business, Microsoft has been busy incorporating the new handset business, and the Lumia 635 is the first phone from the combined company. In addition to giving us the first glimpse of what Microsoft has in store it's also the first device to run the just released Windows Phone 8.1 operating system.
The luxury Windows Phones run in the 900 series and above, making the Lumia 635 a more affordable, bottom-of the-line design. That's not to say that this phone is in any way not worthy of your attention.
It's the replacement for Nokia's successful Lumia 620 from early last year, which was one of the best selling Windows phones of all time. The 620 had a smallish, 3.8-inch display and a 1 GHz, dual-core Qualcomm (QCOM) processor. The new 635 sports a 4.5-inch (854 by 480 pixels) touchscreen, and a 1.2 GHz, quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor. It may not sound like much, but these two improvements make a huge difference.
Both phones operate on 512 MB of working memory, with the 620 running on Windows Phone 8.0 OS, making it a good match. The same 512 MB and the updated OS makes the new Lumia 635 seem like it's on steroids.
Windows 8.1 brings a large number of improvements to the constantly improving software. There are three different sizes of Live Tiles which can now be used on the home screen, an "action Center" which displays notifications and activities at a glance, new data managing software, more efficient use of storage space, better battery life, a Swype-like "WordFlow" keyboard option and the best new feature of all, Cortana, Microsoft's take on digital assistants.