T-Mobile will be the first major US carrier to release a Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone. The company is launching Nokia's Lumia 635 this Saturday, July 5th. But you'll only be able to buy it from the Home Shopping Network on that date, and only with a prepaid Simple Choice plan. T-Mobile has apparently thought it best to stagger the phone's release; the following week on July 9th, Nokia's colorful, inexpensive device will go on sale at the carrier's website for $0 down and 24 monthly payments of $7 (totaling $168) on all postpaid Simple Choice plans. It'll then head to T-Mobile stores beginning July 16th for a "promotional price" of $99, and MetroPCS will carry the Lumia 635 as of July 18th. The Lumia 635 offers a slight step up from the 630 thanks to the inclusion of LTE connectivity and removable glossy back covers.
Other than those upgrades, it remains a cheap, entry-level smartphone with a 4.5-inch display and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 400 processor. There's 8GB of storage on board — though expandable microSD storage means you can end up with much more. You only get 512MB of RAM, unfortunately; we suppose you've got to cut corners somewhere to hit that magic $99 price. But that hardware should do an adequate job handling Windows 8.1 and all its new features like Cortana. If you need more power, there's always the Lumia 925, which is set to receive Microsoft's latest mobile software via an update.