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Microsoft's Elop says flagship smartphone coming with Windows 10 debut

Microsoft unveiled two budget smartphones at Mobile World Congress, but a flagship smartphone remains elusive.

BARCELONA--A flagship Lumia smartphone from Microsoft is coming. Just not today.

Stephen Elop at Mobile World Congress in 2014. Sarah Tew/CNET

Stephen Elop, head of Microsoft's devices business, promised to bring out a flagship smartphone later this year, timed with the launch of Windows 10. The company has yet to say when the new operating system would launch.

Microsoft, the world's largest software company, has largely been focused on the affordable market, leaving the premium category to the likes of Apple, Samsung and HTC. But the company said it plans to have a more robust family of products later this year.

Microsoft doesn't want to leave the impression that it's on hold until the new operating system debuts. Elop showed off the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL at a press conference on Monday at the Mobile World Congress trade show. While the phones run on Windows Phone 8.1, he said they would be able to upgrade to Windows 10 when it becomes available.

"It remains to be seen if they are able to impress consumers in the competitive markets of China, India, and other emerging mobile markets," said Forrester analyst Thomas Husson.

. To get back in the mobile game, Microsoft will have to gain market share quickly and successfully launch its Windows 10 flagship smartphones later this year."

Microsoft likely didn't want to get drowned out by the noise. On Sunday, Samsung unveiled its Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones, while HTC unveiled its One M9 flagship phone.

Corrected at 3:41 a.m. PT: Microsoft is the world's largest software maker, not smartphone maker.