At the Nokia World 2011 conference yesterday, CEO Stephen Elop introduced the first fruits of their ‘strategic partnership’ with Microsoft. The Nokia Lumia 800 and Nokia Lumia 710 are being heralded by the marketing blurb as the ‘first true Windows Phones’, (which presumably had executives at HTC and Samsung spraying their coffee over the boardroom table in shock).
NOKIA LUMIA 800
First up is the Lumia 800, the flagship handset, and the one to drool over. Phonespotters and Nokia fanboys among you (yes, you over there in the corner) may find it somewhat familiar, as externally it looks pretty much identical to the Meego-running N9. It has the same highly engineered ‘unibody polycarbonate’ shell, looking similar to the last vertical iPod Nano, although with a 3.7” curved glass front and a fantastic ‘ClearBlack’ AMOLED screen running 800×480 pixels.
When it comes to the internal gubbins, the Lumia 800 is unlikely to win any games of Mobile Top Trumps. The processor is a qualcomm single core running at 1.4GHz, running 512MB of RAM, which won’t scare off drag-racers like Motorola Atrix or the Galaxy SII. This should be perfectly adequate for the resource-light Windows Phone 7.5 Mango operating system, (plus the iPhone 4S runs just fine on the same amount). Storage is also somewhat disappointingly limited to 16GB, with no memory card slot, although users will be able to use 25GB of cloud storage with the Microsoft SkyDrive service. The Lumia 800 has removed the front facing camera of the N9 (not that anyone really uses them anyway) but it does pack a whopping 8MP camera at the back with Carl Zeiss optics and the (essential for shooting on nights out in Helsinki) good low light performance.
The handset will be released this November in the UK and Europe in three colours, black, cyan and magenta in the UK and Europe with a suggested price of around 420 Euro’s.
Playing the 800′s less attractive but no less powerful sibling, the ‘no nonsense’ (read affordable) Lumia 710 comes with the same 3.7” screen, 1.4GHz processor ad 512MB ram, and a smaller yet respectable 5MP camera with all the usual social network hook ups for image uploading. Users will however only have 8GB of unexpandable storage for music, video and images however, although Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud storage is here aswell.
Whilst it lacks the smooth unibody appearance of the 800, the Lumia 710 is available in both black and white flavours, with the distinctly Nokia interchangeable back covers making a return in black, white, cyan, fuchsia and yellow. Hello Kitty ones are probably being moulded in China as we speak, coming to a market stall near you.
The Lumia 710 will still have access to all of the same services such as Nokia Drive navigation, Nokia Music, a Spotify-esque service and also run a fully functional Internet Explorer 9. This handset is aimed at the fun young and price conscious market, and will bring Windows Phone functionality to a lower price point of 270 Euro’s.
Both Microsoft and Nokia are pinning a lot of hopes on this initial lineup. Whilst Nokia were arguably the original smartphone manufacturers with classic handsets like the Nokia Communicator and the N95, the App-led (pardon the pun) ecosystems of Apple’s iOS and Google’s Andoid Marketplace have since left Nokia shivering at the bus-stop. In the year that we’ve had it, Microsoft haven’t managed to make a mark with their Windows Phone OS, outside of critical commendations, and whilst a few handsets are available at present, none really have the ‘wow factor’ or mass market appeal of a ‘killer handset’.
With Lumia, Nokia and Microsoft are making a two pronged invasion of the marketplace. The Lumia 800 is clearly targeting phone fashionista’s and getting people talking about Nokia’s design skills again. The Lumia 710, whilst not as flash, is aggressively priced to give a much needed boost in numbers to the Windows Phone platform, which will live or die on the number of users in the marketplace.
No doubt anyone that remember Nokia’s domination of the mobile market, back when Snake was the pinnacle of mobile gaming, will be hoping that the Lumia range will be the first step to restoring some of their former glory.