Microsoft pulls down a branch on its Lumia family tree, dangling the 635 at a low $100 price and even making the handset available for prepaid calling plans.

About six months after its official launch, the Lumia 635 is due for release Dec. 23 across Sprint's brands in the U.S. The Windows Phone device will be available on Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile and Sprint -- and despite being available off contract for $100, a price hasn't been set for postpaid customers.

The Lumia 635 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, 1.2 GHz quad-core processor and an Andreno 305 GPU. Its 512 MB of RAM is slim, especially disproportionate when considering its processing power.

For long-term storage, the Lumia 635 comes fitted with 8 GB of memory. That can be expanded via the handset's microSD slot.

With a respectable pixel density of 221 pixels per inch, the Lumia 635 puts out an HD resolution of 480 x 854 on its 4.5-inch display. The smartphone has a 5-megapixel rear camera, capable of capturing 720p video at 30 frames per second, but it lacks a chat camera.

The absence of a chat camera means the Lumia 635 isn't capable of taking advantage of Microsoft's Skype video calls, though users can still use the app for instant messaging and voice calling. While it doesn't support Skype in full, the Windows Phone delivers on all of the features of other popular Micrsoft software.

"Installed with the latest Windows Phone 8.1 operating system, you'll get Cortana to remind you of meetings, schedule appointments and do other tasks as befits a personal assistant, SensorCore technology to help you track fitness activity and get in better shape, a revamped notification system, and shortcuts to your favorite features, including Bluetooth, your music and your camera," says a Lumia spokesperson.

Along with Microsoft apps, the Lumia 635 also includes software from the gutted Nokia. The 635 comes with Nokia's Here Drive+, Here Maps and Nokia Camera.

The Lumia 635 is available online now for Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, though the device won't be offered in stores until Jan. 9, 2015.

"With high-end features, thousands of apps available through the Windows Phone Store plus the latest Windows Phone 8.1 experience and Cortana, the Lumia 635 is undoubtedly the best affordable smartphone available today," said Matt Rothschild, Microsoft's head of North America sales for mobile devices.

The Lumia 635 was one of the last devices to bear Nokia's name, until the former handsets maker began licensing its brand out to other companies. Microsoft had the rights to use the Nokia brand for up to 10 years, though it has begun promoting its own name to help unify its products.

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