As Nokia and Microsoft try to get back in the smartphone game, we take a look at the new devices as they're announced at Nokia's big event.
Fighting for the Future
With millions of smartphone contracts up for renewal in the next few months, thanks to past seasonal presents or New Year treats, there has never been a more competitive line-up of devices. Add to the iPhone range and endless Android offerings the new line-up of Nokia Windows Phones that have just been unveiled in London.
We've seen plenty of leaks and rumors for these phones, as there have been for every other big release, smartphones are just too big a job to keep very secret. But, the official specs and extras from Nokia's event, badged as 'new now' are what everyone is interested in.
Mango Flavor Phones
Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia took center stage to unveil the phones, reiterating his company's new direction, backed by Microsoft's new Mango edition of its Windows Phone 7 operating system. Since announcing its change of plan, the company has shipped 18 million dual-SIM phones, has 7 NFC devices and, even in a tough market, is still selling a million phones a day.
First up on show was the Nokia Asha range, four phones for emerging markets that aim to cross the boundaries between smartphone and feature phone, where Nokia still rules the market. With plenty of memory (up to 32GB), touchscreens, qwerty keyboards, games and media, the Asha range is highly affordable and aimed at young consumers. But its the Mango products that most were interested in.
Asha phones will appeal to young users in emerging markets
The Lumia 800 is the lead Mango Nokia smartphone, a refinement on the much-regarded Nokia N9 and described by Elop as the 'first real Windows phone.' Price around $580, it features a 1.4GHz Snapdragon S2 processor and 16GB of RAM. The camera uses an 8-megapixel Carl Zeiss lens, an F2.2 aperture lens and a curved clear-black front with AMOLED screen and all the elegant, integrated, features of the Mango interface.
That include the 'people' hub that lists all your contacts regardless of the site or method of contact you use to reach them and will find the easiest way to get in touch with them, see their comments across any social network as well as their images. Then there's the Microsoft Office and SharePoint integration, plus free 25GB online storage via SkyDrive. as well as Xbox LIVE for games.
As well as Nokia's well-regarded navigation service, one new feature is on the music player front. Nokia introduced Nokia Music/Mix Radio, a service that you don't even need to log into. Just pick a preselected mix from the music tile (or make your own up when you have time) and it will play, offering endless music with the minimum of effort.
Finally, the second phone unveiled by Nokia was the Nokia Lumia 710, a 3.7" screen smartphone with 5-megapixel camera, that comes with Nokia's traditional range of changeable covers. This is a mass market smartphone priced around $375, that still keeps the same processor and memory as the Lumia 800.
The Lumia 800 is being shipped now for a European launch in the very near future, with pre-orders being taken on the Nokia site, while the 710 will launch in Asia first, taking the same tack as Apple's Asian expansion and focus. Expect U.S. launches in 2012 and LTE versions of the phone to follow.