There’s been a lot of noise in the market about sub-R1 000 smartphones in South Africa over the past couple of months. And most of the devices launched in this very important part of the market have one thing in common – they’re powered by Google’s Android operating system.

Up until now, that is.

With the help of Qualcomm, Ingram Micro and, of course, Microsoft, the Edcon group (that’s Edgars Mobile, Jet Cellular, Edgars Active and CNA) has just launched a R900 (well, R899.90) Windows 8.1 handset it calls the ‘VERSSED W1’.

Available on the 15th of December 2015, the VERSSED W1 features dual-SIM capabilities and clever UX enhancements that allow for users to easily see which SIM they’re calling from, receiving calls from and of course using for SMS. It all forms part of Microsoft’s strategy announced at Mobile World Congress in February this year which included dual-SIM phones and a partnership with Qualcomm on their reference design program that has already brought phones like the Steppa 2.

Specs-wise, you shouldn’t expect a whole bunch for R900. That said, it’s by no means shabby.

It has a 480×800 pixel, 4-inch phone display, is powered by a Snapdragon 200 processor and has 4GB of storage and 512MB of RAM. Furthermore the VERSSED W1 has an HSPA+ radio capable of 42Mbps downstream data speeds, a 5 megapixel rear and 0.3 megapixel front camera and a 1 420mAh battery.

And of course, to state the obvious, it runs Windows Phone 8.1 perfectly.

Sweetening the deal, Edcon will be bundling the VERSSED W1 with a Vodacom SIM that includes a preloaded data bundle. The exact size and other details of airtime preloaded on the SIM is yet to be determined.

Microsoft has also said that it’s the first of similar announcements in the super affordable smartphone space in the near future and that we’ll have a handset to play with shortly, so watch this space.

Brett is the big cheese at Hypertext Media. He's been covering the technology industry for so long, he's seen old technology be 'respun' as the next big thing one too many times. He started Hypertext in 2002 and quite frankly hasn't looked back (although he often longs for the days when a steady salary, sick days and leave were a given). Publications in his stable include htxt.africa; DailyFive (http://www.dailyfive.tv); Connect; Tarsus Channel and GirlGuides (http://www.girlguides.co.za). He also hosts the ZA Tech Show (http://www.zatech.co.za), does a monthly tech column for Sawubona and writes the odd gadget piece for a magazine here and there. Currently uses: 11-inch Macbook Air, iPhone 5, Blackberry Z10, iPad Mini, Nexus 7, Kindle Paperwhite, Marley TTR Headphones, Xbox360, PS3, Nintendo 3DS.