The new Nokia Lumias 820 and 920 – my take

OK I’ll come right out and say it – I am not a big fan of the Microsoft Nokia partnership and I am not a big fan of Nokia phones.

There, let’s get that out of the way – You know my bias.

I saw the joint Microsoft-Nokia Windows Phone/Nokia Lumia announcement and was predictably unimpressed.

It had all the things I expect from Nokia.

  • Large Phone
  • Blocky Edges
  • Glossy colors
  • Emphasis on photography

More distressing is that I think that the press conference missed the point.

It seemed to me that it was a briefing that described many parts but the sum of those parts did not form a coherent whole.

I was left confused.

  • What is Windows Phone 8?
  • Is Windows Phone 8 more than the features Joe Belfiore showed in the demo? (Of course)
  • When do we find out more about the phone Operating System? (October 29th?)

I know this was a technical preview just for the press but in my mind, it left me wanting.

It seems to me that this should have been a Microsoft Windows Phone 8 event describing Windows Phone 8 and ONLY THEN bringing out Nokia and Samsung to show what their phones could do.

This was the reverse and it felt out of sync to me.

Since Microsoft haven’t really launched Windows Phone 8, what we ended up with was some kind of hybrid pseudo-launch for a Phone Operating System and a flagship phone at the same time.

And then right on cue, they did it again – the photography emphasis.

Yes Yes Yes I get it – the phone has a GREAT camera that takes GREAT video and pictures.

I understand that you can do Matrix type special effects on the photos both before and after you take them. I get it. I really do.

Nokia Lumia - Cinemagraph - animate your photos

Nokia Lumia – Cinemagraph – animate your photos

The problem is, that’s almost irrelevant.

A successful Windows Phone effort from Nokia and Microsoft will not be decided because the phone has a great camera. It won’t be decided by “wireless charging”.

Sidebar: Wireless charging to me is the biggest marketing crap gimmick since 3D TV. Charging is still a pain in the ass because you still have to go and find the “wireless charging base”. Saving me one second of attaching a cable sounds good in theory but…

Nokia Lumia Wireless Charging

Nokia Lumia Wireless Charging

The demo was full of VERY cool features and gadgets (using gloves to type etc). I have to acknowledge that it sounds like a very technically sophisticated phone.

The problem is that technical gadgets and gimmicks will not sell people on Lumia Phones (at least not here in the US).

A successful phone has to create a bond between the user and the device. This is based on a magical special blend of the right OS and the right hardware. The iPhone, The Samsung S3 and all the other successful smartphones have that in common.

A successful phone also has to be relatively easy to use. Can older people use these features easily?

A successful phone has to do the common phone functions we have come to expect really well – email, web, chat, text and phone. How will those work?

Nokia in my humble opinion should have done their Lumia Launches the day of or the day after the Windows Phone 8 launch (October 29th or 30th).

There would have been a lot more synergy between the brands that way and it just seems to make sense that you would announce hardware in detail AFTER the OS is out.

From the videos I saw, it has the same challenges as the Nokia Lumia 900 – I love to play with them in the store or when I see them with other people but it’s never really a serious contender in my mind.

I think we need to know a lot more about Windows Phone 8 before Nokia can have a home run.

Sidebar: Here’s the crazy part – somehow Nokia need Microsoft and Microsoft don’t really need Nokia now. How did we get to this point?

I could be wrong but that’s my opinion.

What did you think of the new Nokia Phones?

Please Leave Your Comments Below...

  • Andy

    I don’t use a cell phone and probably never will to the extent of their capabilities. So really have NO comment to make on this.

    • 123321

      then just don’t 😀

      • Ben

        Now this is quite funny posting about not making a comment while making a comment…..

  • GameLogic

    I am sorry to say but you make a lot off fuss about nothing.
    Nokia makes great phones and the Lumia 920 will be to.
    I think the camera and the charging thing is a good thing ’cause that’s what people like.

    I really can’t wait for this phone to come in store.

    • Onuora Amobi

      Good feedback.

      Thanks

  • 123321

    sry onuora, couldn’t disagree with you more.

    nokia shows us how they can make a phone with fantastic user experience and features that are really usefull. and they do that with quality, not quantity: 8,7mp pureview kamera instead of 41mp; dual-core processor instead of quadcore. …and so on.
    i think that is going to let android users stuck with android instead of swiching to windows phone. but new users and users who know about how useful wp8 and nokia exclusive apps and hardware will be, they will really love the new lumias because they just do what consumers need to do in a very smart way.

    • Onuora Amobi

      That’s one way to look at it too.

      Thanks..

      • Ben

        Agreed wholeheartedly

    • Robert Kegel

      I don’t agree with you. The technology behind the camera is superior so you should get better looking pictures especially in the dark. So what would you rather have a 16mp (going with 16 because most phones have 5, 8, or 16mp) but have poor night pictures and blurry because of movement or a good 8mp camera that takes nice dark pictures and reacts to movement better? Also a 41mp camera for their first Windows 8 phones would be bad because it would raise the price of the phone way to high. If/when Windows Phone 8 is a hit and Nokia hits a home run then they can put in a 41mp camera in their phone and charge $800-900 for it, they just need a good strong phone with some good options to it which I thin they have.

      About multi-core processors. If you ever used a Windows Phone 7 phone it doesn’t need more than one core. Windows 8 doesn’t look like it needs more than 2 cores. I haven’t seen much of Windows Phone 8 but from what I have seen it runs smoothly. 4 core phones is kind of a gimmick, if Android made an 8 core phone then everyone would be saying “why doesn’t Windows Phone make an 8 core phone”. I’m not even sure if the iphone 5 will have a 4 core processor in it. I love Android but it needs 4 cores because its such a resource hog. The more widgets you have the slower the phone goes, not the same with Windows Phone 8.

      • http://www.windows8update.com Onuora Amobi

        I already acknowledged the superior camera. I just can’t vouch for the phone.

  • Daniel Gray

    I agree with gamelogic. This is all nothing more then smoke and mirrors. Sadly you showed your bias from the start as you freely admitted that you like your apple computers better then PC’s and you have let your bias intrude from the very beginning. Instead of just telling us the pro’s and con’s, you seemingly try and pick apart everything that MS does. You claim the phone is too big, well SURPRISE it is no bigger then the iPhone 4 or the upcoming iPhone 5 and in fact it is the same size all the way round, give or take a few mm’s. You claim you dont like Nokia, but Nokia’s cameras are by far the best on the market today as they use Ziess lenses! And the Nokia N95 unlocked cell phone has a 8MP camera on it (I know as I have one!) and this was put out…what 5 or 6 years ago? What exactly does the iPhone have even in its newest incarnation? Try a 5MP. Nokia also had the worlds first dual band cell that could run on both GSM AND CDMA, not even one of the iPhones can do this in their wildest dreams!

    After rereading all your posts about MS and Windows 8, you clearly give the impression that you do not like MS in the least, and if that is the case then why are you doing this blog?

    • Onuora Amobi

      I actually like Microsoft a lot – that’s why I am doing the blog. 🙂

      I am looking forward to Windows 8 and watching how it changes the industry. In the article I said the phone was technologically sophisticated.

      I think the phones are too big and bulky. It is what it is.

      If you had read my posts, you would see I am a Samsung and Apple fan. Not seeing the iPhone bias there.

      🙂

      • Daniel Gray

        Thats the problem…I HAVE been reading your posts from the beginning and that is how I know you have been biased against MS since the beginning. You shot down the tablet, and yet you dont even own one. I DO! I got mine when it was offered by MS the very first time. My nephew has an iPad so I can place them side by side and do a comparison. And the new MS tablet makes the iPad look sick! Much easier and simpler to use and not confined to getting apps from one and only one place. Same for the phone. My nephew has an iPhone and it is the same size as the new windows 8 cell phone. in fact the iPhone is just a hair bigger. Not only can the Win 8 cell work as a mini laptop as it can do almost everything your laptop can do, but it can also be used as a phone and a GPS Something that the iPhone could not do in its wildest dreams! The Win 8 phone can have Mini and micro sd cards added to increase the storage on the phone, something that the iPhone cannot do as it is completely sealed.

        You know you messed up and nit picked something that you should not have when even your readers correct you on your mistakes.

  • http://www.jayteepics.com Jamie

    Hitting nail on head came to mind reading this….

    I agree more on the Windows phone 8 system, features and apps not gimmicks is required.

    For example if I buy ANY windows 8 phone (and it would probably be the Samsung) can I sync seamlessly office on the phone with the MS Surface 8 (office version) and also a Win7 desktop Office 2010? Now that would be cookin’ with gas!

    Business on the move !
    I have a great Canon 1D3 DSLR for photography duh!
    Jamie

    • http://www.windows8update.com Onuora Amobi

      LOL

      I agree with you…

  • 123321

    ” What is Windows Phone 8?
    Is Windows Phone 8 more than the features Joe Belfiore showed in the demo? (Of course)
    When do we find out more about the phone Operating System? (October 29th?)”

    yeah i agree. all of this information should be given by microsoft asap…
    but thats not nokias fault.
    nokia made those fantastic phones. now they should hit the market really soon if they want to succeed…

    • http://www.windows8update.com Onuora Amobi

      I agree…

  • Arnold

    Like I said earlier just No.

    No, I will not even respond to Amobi……Ahhhh shot I just did.

    • http://www.windows8update.com Onuora Amobi

      Gotcha!

      🙂

  • Skip

    I have had a preference for Nokia devices for some time (battery life, hardware durability, GPS) would love to get over to W8 on the phone as the S series OS is a dead end. Feature wise the new phones are a bit of a step back on (HDMI, SD, Camera, storage) some features from the existing N8. Would like the faster processor and larger screen size, simply don’t get the charger thing, why would I go from a small little plug and cable to having to pack a stand or fatboy pillow sure hope the cable is still an option.

    • http://www.windows8update.com Onuora Amobi

      I never even thought about that. GREAT point…

  • Willem

    Strewth, Onuora, what happened? Swallow a lemon?

    A couple of really brilliant phones, and all you can do is whinge about them!

    These phones are beautifully engineered and designed, they have a first rate OS, some real innovations, better screen resolution that Apple’s Retina, automatically adjust screen brightness in direct sunlight, a large and growing number of apps in the app store, etc, etc, and all you can do is complain?

    • http://www.windows8update.com Onuora Amobi

      Yeah I know…Complain seems like all I do here.

      🙂

      We think they have a first rate OS but we really don’t know for sure…

  • Brad Wright

    Nokia phones are the best at doing what these devices were originally made to do – make phone calls. But these phones look like overly bright, cheap plastic, and are just ugly. To me it kind of looks like Microsoft wanted the phones to look like the old Zune HD, but Nokia didn’t, and this was their compromise. That said, I think they would be pretty nice phones if they were the size and shape of the black front, without the bulk and square shape of the colored part around the outside.

    • http://www.windows8update.com Onuora Amobi

      I know right! I’m not sure whats the deal with all the bulk?

      • Ben

        Guys,

        it may look like this, hold it, use it, love it (No i dont work for them :),) try it, its really an awesome phone to use.

    • 123321

      nokia lumia phones might be a lot but for sure they don’t seem cheap or plastic-crap (like samsung etc)…
      if you refer to the glossy polycarbonat finish you should be told that there are also matt colours like grey and black (i prefer them too).

  • Ben

    Agreed mostly, Wireless charging is crap, but 3D TV, come on, that’s awesome, have you watched 3D?i live and work in Africa, and the other day had a friend come through to Dubai with me from Egypt (a Local) we went and watched a 3D movie for him the first time. To say that he was blown away would be an understatement.

    And also, perhaps a bit too harsh?, yes I have never been a fan of Nokia since the up rise of BB a while ago they just plummeted and rightfully so. But, having used their newer devices, 800/900, it was suitably impressive. I still have no reason to go back to Apple and although I really don’t like my GN-N7000 Android I would still rather use it than move back to Apple.

    Finally, with regards to the hybrid type event, Windows 8 phone has not officially launched yet, or has it? Perhaps a bit too soon to lay down all their cards before the actual launch?

  • Mark

    Y’know, I’ve never really been a fan of Nokia. Generally HTC Windows Mobile in the past and then HTC HD7 from WP7 launch.

    My HD7 ‘broke’ and my carrier gave me a Lumia 800 as a replacement for the last couple of months of my contract (October – good timing!). While the screen is too small for me, I have to say that in all other areas it has exceeded my expectations.

    I am already sold on WP8, just love the continuity through all devices – Mobile, Tablet, Notebook & Desktop – so i watched the MS/Nokia event with great interest.

    My Take:
    I don’t think WP8 will be an issue in enterprise; it will have steady growth – once the word spreads, and it will. I’m sure ALL the IT geeks will be watching the MS ‘big picture’. We all know that MS need to hit the consumer market and after the event on Wednesday I thought that was what they did. People LOVE to talk about how good their mobile camera is compared with others. We live in a social-medai world where photo’s and video are a REALLY, REALLY integral and important part. There is no doubting that the WP8 OS is going to be smooth & slick, but what Nokia did on Wednesday was to show just how the 920 was ‘head & shoulders’ above the ATIV in quite a few areas; and HTC had better launch something really awesome if they want my custom back.

    I enjoy reading your blog Onuara, I appreciate that you try to come across unbiased – but you really need to try a little harder 😉

    Keep up the good work 🙂

    • http://www.windows8update.com Onuora Amobi

      Thanks for the feedback.

      I actually admitted my bias in this case so I can’t avoid taking flack for that.

      You do raise a good point:

      We live in a social-medai world where photo’s and video are a REALLY, REALLY integral and important part.

      We’ll see if the public agree…

  • Kristjan Gudnason

    You know that the phone market is very competitive and with the iPhone 5 lurking about, Microsoft AND Nokia have to sell the idea of Nokia and WP8 to the masses. There are a lot of people that hold of buing a phone at this point because they know that 2 rivals are about to release their next “big” thing.

    For me its a no brainer. I have watched my parents and other older people get to know their Nokia Lumia 800 and 900 and for people that have trouble working out nearly every single technical gadget they have, it was surprising to see how easy it was for them to get used to the WP7.5 OS. They love it. I´m an android guy my self and have always been since I love customization and having full control (of course my phone is rooted) but I would not say no to a WP8 phone if I would be handed one for free.

    • http://www.windows8update.com Onuora Amobi

      LOL

      I wouldn’t say no to it for free is NOT a good thing.

      Microsoft and Nokia need you to go buy one not think of it as a nice to have for free.

      That was kind of my point – when I see those phones, they’re cool to look at and play with and for free, I might even use one.

      But it wouldn’t (at this point) be a conscious choice.

  • Robert Kegel

    Your article confused me. What are some of the big points about the iphone? The nice screen and the camera. If the iphone had a run of the mill screen and camera people probably wouldn’t talk about it so much.

    It looks like Windows Phone 8 is better than Windows Phone 7 which is a great OS. I personally can’t wait to get my hands on it.

    • http://www.windows8update.com Onuora Amobi

      The points about the iPhone – cohesive comprehensive experience. It all just seems to work. I have an iPhone 4, the camera seems OK to me and OK I think is what most people need.

      I have a DSLR for heavy lifting.

      Windows Phone 8 will be better than WP7 (I hope), we just have a couple of months till we find out how much…

      • 123321

        but ‘OK’ is not good enough if you look on the prices of iphones.

  • Rex

    I think you miss the point. There was a huge mistep in all this, I will maybe explain it later, but not the points you are talking about.

    The first thing is to fix what was ailing the previous Windows Phone 7.5. That was the importance of this hardware announcement. Some are already complaining about these being dual core and not quad core. But overall, however this did just that. In fact if the iPhone doesnt have NFC, which it likely wont. iPhone will fall to the lowest hardware denominator in the phone industry (also being only dual core).

    The next thing they have done is produced a platform that is not the same old black or white slab that no one has been able to get right outside of Apple. This is the only fresh face in the phone industry in the last 5 years. Finally someone has given consumers a choice. And hardware quality shines through the colors.

    Next they went beyond these things and brought a couple things that is beyond anyone else. Are they gimmicks? I guess we will find out. I think it will take users on a daily basis to see whether they laud the new wireless charging or whether they think it is a gimmick that they dont suggest it to their friends. If the camera is as good as they say and not what they do, then they may have a hit on that side as well. Again, it is just too early to tell.

    Of course MS had no real info, their announcement is much later, they were here as special endorcement to their number one hardware partner. Expecting a full OS exposure was naive. The whole announcement was meant to preempt Apple and Google. I doubt it will be effective, because dont take this the wrong way, you and almost all other bloggers will fall over praising how the new iPhone is ground breaking because it enlarged the screen yet still maintain one of the smallest available, and how thin it is, while that has no bearing at all to how it performs. Yet hardware wise and OS wise it will be only a half step above the 4S. With the tiredest OS in the mobile industry. These things are now almost full computers and iOS while very polished is still not that much different from the original Macintosh (OK a little exaggeration, but you should get my meaning). To me the only thing good about the iPhone 5 is that they got rid of the idiotic 2 peices of glass. But Nokia seems to have succeeded in almost completely overcoming several Android releases. So they were successful on that point.

    Now for the real trainwrecks that threaten the show.

    Cameragate – while Nokia has made strides, loosing public image with deception can be a short term kiss of death. Since Nokia can not afford to go long term, this could be a real killer. Time will tell on how this plays out.

    Boring – To have such a beautiful peice pf hardware that screams innovation, such a boring presentation is just a waste and a pure shame. The lead up marketing was on the right track, until Cameragate.

    So did Nokia do themselves right with this? I am not convinced. I will wait to see how the public reacts by keeping them out of stock or leaves them on the shelves. I saw enough that I say they are much better choice than your favorite samsung alternative.

    • http://www.windows8update.com Onuora Amobi

      You raise great points. I didn’t even want to touch camera gate because people already think (and I admit that) I am too biased.

      Regarding IOS, you’re right – it’s a little long in the tooth but ironically maybe that’s the case because people LOVE it? Mcdonalds never stopped serving the Big Mac – it’s what people love.

      Regarding NFC – we’ll see. It’s also a little tricky. If the iPhone doesn’t have it, will that be an opening for competitors or will that be a slowing of the NFC movement?

      Hard to tell.

      Dual Core, Quad Core blah blah blah. What will matter is the entire experience. If the phone feels like “home” and infectious, people will buy it. If not….

      People made these similar arguments about the Lumia 900 “flagship” and I was similarly unimpressed…I think I was right…

      • Rex

        Yes, NFC is still questionable in the US. But here in Japan, it is close to default even on feature phones. Using your phone to use trains, vending machines, and even lunch. This is now almost a requirement. US may take time to catch up, but I am sure they will

        Dual versus quad, I agree completely, but seems some people disagree. Phones in general are about efficiency and battery life more than number of threads to me, but I can at least see the advantages of dual core over a single core. Beyond that, in a phone it seems like deminishing returns but whatever.

        • http://www.windows8update.com Onuora Amobi

          Shout out to the readers in Japan!

          🙂

          Yeah, we’re not caught up with NFC here yet but hopefully soon…

          Battery life is the other big factor here. The iPhone gets TONS of use from it’s battery. We’ll see how the Lumia’s do soon.

        • Robert Kegel

          The reason I like Nokia is because of the apps they add to Windows Phone. Other companies put crapware on their phones, apps that you will most likely delete. HTC comes a close second because they have a couple apps that are usable but the Nokia ones are by far better.

          For instance maps. I know Nokia and Microsoft is going in on mapping together for Windows Phone 8, but when you get a Nokia phone you get some extra goodies. With Nokia you get Nokia Music which I don’t know much about but from what I do hear it sounds interesting. The additions they made to the camera are interesting as well.

          I have to admit I’m not much for unibody because I like to change my battery, but it does make for a sturdy construction so I may have to live with it. I like the colors, if it came in the blue I would have gotten that, if I get a Nokia phone it will probably be the gray one (I say if because I’m not even sure if Sprint is getting a Windows Phone 8 period, I doubt they’ll get a Nokia phone).

          Nokia is much more than the phones they make, their an ecosystem of their own and one that’s very intriguing and different than other phone makers. This is what makes Nokia stand out the most, not just their phones.

      • 123321

        a lot of people just look at the specs and if they see a quadcore phone next to dualcorephone they choose the quadcore, just because they think they have made a better choice with the quadcore. they dont even try everything else. thats a pity. really. but most of the sales people tell customers excactly that thing.
        thats kind of weird…

        • Robert Kegel

          123321 Its not really weird, I worked technology sales before and most sales people know about as much about technology as the person off the street. They just rattle off what they’re told and what they believe because companies don’t really care to pick and choose the people they hire very well and on top of that they don’t train them to know any better. I caught so many sales people lying because they didn’t know the truth. The ones that cared came to me and ask me questions the ones that were just there for the pay check just fudged stuff up.

          So weird no, sad yes.

  • Mark

    I have to say while never being a huge fan of Microsoft phones period, having owned the whole lot of Palm Pre products the cordless charging is awesome… We sit at our desks and in our cars a lot as business people and just laying the phone on the charger during those times makes a HUGE difference with high battery demand devices… It makes plugging the wire in and out seem old school trust me, no one likes having the cord attached while using it unless without a choice… WISH MY ANDROID HAD THIS FEATURE!!!… Thanks, Mark

    • http://www.windows8update.com Onuora Amobi

      Good feedback.

      Thanks…