Nokia and Windows – The Marriage:
What happens when two Goliath’s of the tech world who have both seen better days decide to combine forces?
New Nokia Windows Phones:
With Nokia’s Meego O/S now relegated to “ongoing support” for a few years, many in tech land have been pontificating on the state of play that a marriage between Nokia and Windows would mean for the mobile industry and consumers alike.
On the one hand both companies have had significant falls from grace over the last few years, with Microsoft/Windows losing out to Apple in the hardware stakes (and now mobile O/S), and similarly Nokia also losing out to Apple and Android devices on both the O/S and hardware front.
On the other Nokia and Windows/Microsoft are both seasoned veterans of both hardware and software combined and could surely still pose a threat to Apple and Android…especially when combined?
Too little too late?
With technology moving on at such a rapid pace, especially in the mobile arena, could the offerings that have finally been brought to the table be a little too late to see them muscle back in to a market dominated by iOS and Android?
I doubt it, and here is why:
Nokia make fantastic looking and working phones, you have to hand it to them, they are design masters on a par with Apple.
But what about the Windows operating system?
Well as someone who dislike Windows O/S by and large, I am always sceptical about an operating system from a company who fails to even bring us a decent web browser in 2010/11 and after many many years of peddling an atrocious (IMHO) operating system in windows XP. There next entry is an equally horrendous O/S to be superseded quickly by another O/S after admitting they had essentially screwed up with Vista.
But….from cursory observations it seems that Windows Phone 7 and then 8 look like they will be a very powerful user centric O/S. Couple this with access to a multitude of X-Box users via the Microsoft network and you have an operating system that seems to seriously have some potential.
Nokia Lumia 800 Features:
The new Nokia Lumia 800 looks very much like the Meego based Nokia N9. This is a good thing, as one thing that the Nokia N9 phone has apart from a soon to be outdated O/S is serious good looks, with its ClearBlack curved AMOLED display the screen will have to be reduced from the N9 size to incorporate the Windows phone buttons but with a reduction from 3.9 inch to 3.7 inch we hope this will not be too much of sacrifice in screen real estate.
Processor wise we see a powerful Qualcomm 1.4 GHz that includes graphics and hardware acceleration. An 8 MP Carl Zeiss lense with a Dual LED flash, but no front facing camera like the N9 but a dedicated camera button is offered. 16GB of memory is on offer and a free 25GB of SkyDrive space is also added to the package (this I particularly like). RAM wise a pretty average 512MB is built in down from the 1GB N9 memory.
Price: €420 or $480 or £300 (roughly)
Colours: Cyan, magenta or black.
Nokia Lumia range different from Windows?
With the Lumia 800 aiming for the “serious” smartphone market and the Lumia 710 picking up the budget end, Nokia hope to differentiate themselves from Windows phones by virtue of access to Nokia based applications such as:
Nokia Drive: Which delivers a full-fledged personal navigation device (PND) with a free, turn-by-turn navigation and dedicated in-car-user-interface.
Nokia Music: MixRadio, a free, global, mobile music-streaming application that delivers hundreds of channels of locally-relevant music.
Gigfinder is also part of the above Nokia Music service, and proves the ability to search for live local music for a hopefully very powerful integration and overall experience, coupled with the ability to share information on social networks and also buy concert tickets using your mobile device which will be coming in the Nokia Music update later this year.
Nokia Lumia 710 Features:
Coming in on the budget end of the smartphone range, the Nokia Lumia 710 will be priced at around €270 or $370 or £230, and will fit snugly into the affordable end of the smartphone range.
It will come with very similar specs to the Nokia 800; same processor, same RAM, though will cut corners on camera quality (5MP) and single flash, no hardware navigation buttons, LCD instead of AMOLED and a smaller 8GB of on board storage.
So all in all a pretty good phone with out some of the little extras.
It will be offered in black and white with exchangeable back covers with cyan, black, white, yellow and fuchsia back covers.
Emerging markets targeted first for the budget range Lumia 710:
The Nokia Lumia 710 will be available first in India, Hong Kong, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan toward the end of the year alongside the Nokia Lumia 800, before becoming available in further markets in early 2012.
Could Nokia/Windows devices fill that sweet-spot?
With Android and iOS dominating much of the globe, it is true to say that certain parts of Asia, Russia and the Far East are still in the beginning forays into smartphone territory and are therefore these people are firmly “in the market” for new devices. I imagine many will be wowed by the shine of Apples offerings and also the functionality, cost and ubiquity of the android O/S and devices that run on this O/S, but Apple do price themselves out of many pockets and Android still has an air of cheapness to it due to the one size fits all approach.
With features and applications being the name of the game for mobile devices it will be interesting to see if price, quality of hardware and brand appeal will play a large part in the success or failure of this, what must be described as last ditch effort from the tow giants.
Will they succeed in establishing a position in the competitive smartphone marketplace and what about a tablet range?
Your thoughts welcome as usual.Anthony Munns