In a press event held yesterday Nokia unveiled yet one more entry in a long line of its infamous ‘flagship’ phones, all of which have held the mantle of ‘company saviour’ as the Finnish company continues its desperate attempt to become relevant in the mobile market. While the Windows 7 Lumia 900 was clearly the best attempt Nokia has put forth to date, with relatively mediocre sales the phone has served not as a saviour, but simply as a stay of execution, meaning the Windows 8 driven Lumia 920 still has a lot of work to do.
While its fair to say that the unveiling of the new Lumia 920, Nokia’s first attempt at building a next generation Windows 8 smartphone, was considerably more subdued than the glitzy Times Square event featuring Nicki Minaj the company held to trumpet the roll-out of its predecessor the Lumia 900 back in April, the good news is that at first glance it looks like the 920 will blow the 900 out of the water.
Holding aloft a bright yellow Lumia 920, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop—who must wonder at times why he ever took the top job at Nokia—did his best to boast about the cutting edge features included the new smartphone, features that include wireless charging, augmented reality features, and an industry leading next generation camera.
I will admit that when I heard AT&T was slashing the price of its remaining Lumia 900 inventory back in July, it seemed on the face of it to be an ominous sign; that despite the market optimism surrounding Nokia’s Windows 7 phone it looked to be quickly heading towards the same end as all the rest of its Nokia flagship brethren…irrelevance.
But as I guessed, the drastic price reduction of the Lumia 900 was simply the classic inventory-clearing marketing ploy, designed to move units and lock in customers to long term contracts before they get a peek at the phone’s next generation successor. Given the Lumia 920 features that Nokia unveiled today, I will say that those that did take AT&T up on its Lumia 900 offer will likely be kicking themselves, simply because there is such a drastic difference.
While the press event said little about what Microsoft’s new Windows 8 platform will bring to the party—we’ll have to wait till October for that—the features of the Lumia 920 will certainly be enough to initially turn some heads, as among the key upgrades are a 4.5-inch screen, the addition of wireless charging, Nokia Maps, a new augmented reality feature dubbed ‘City Lens,’ and the best feature of all, a high-end camera featuring the same industry leading technology found in Nokia’s 808 PureView (although without the same astronomically high megapixel count of that model).
It was clear from the presentation that the camera was the jewel in the Lumia 920’s crown, as Nokia reps gushed about the camera’s ‘floating lens’ tech that stabilizes the lens in accordance with movement, allowing the shutter to stay open longer and still capture crystal clear images. According to Nokia, the phone captures 5-10 times more light than any other smartphone camera on the market today.
In the end it seems that the collective market enthusiasm for the Lumia 920 is tempered by the fact that it’s really one of the first ‘next generation’ smartphones to unveiled this season (the Samsung Galaxy S3 being the other), meaning the only smartphones the market has to compare it to are yesterday’s models. I suppose we’ll all see just how dazzling the bright yellow Lumia 920 (also available in gray and red) will look standing next to the de facto benchmark of the industry, the iPhone 5.