Apart from talking the press through new features it will soon be adding to the technical preview of Windows 10, Microsoft took the opportunity this morning to lift the wraps on two new budget handsets it believes will shake up the market.

The Lumia 640 and 640 XL (so named because it sports a bigger screen than its sibling) are the first phones Microsoft has launched that will be guaranteed to run on Windows 10 when it becomes available. In the interim however, they’ll ship with Windows 8.1. They’re also the first two handsets to come with a sweetener – a free one-year license for Office 365 that will cover the user for use on one smartphone, one tablet and one PC.

Hardware specs, while typically sketchy from Microsoft, look adequate for the price point. The 640 features a 5-inch Gorilla Glass 3 screen, a choice of 3G and 4G connectivity, a quad core 1.2GHz processor, an 8MP rear camera and a 0.9MP wide-angle front-facing camera. It also has a 2 500 mAh battery that should keep it running for longer than most other competitive devices in the market.

By contrast, the 640 XL gets a 5.7 inch screen, a 13MP camera and a larger 3 000 mAh battery.

Both will be available in April internationally (local availability timeframes have yet to be confirmed) and the prices are good.

The 640 will cost 159 euros for LTE and 139 euros for 3G/Dual SIM; and the 640 XL will cost 219 euros for the LTE model and 189 euros for 3G/Dual SIM.

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.