So the day foretold a week ago has passed; in New York Nokia showed off it’s two flagship Lumia devices, the 820 and 920, along with new accessories today. Now it was an odd event. The day before Nokia’s CEO Steven Elop said that today Nokia and Microsoft would fully show off Windows Phone 8 and the Lumia devices. Now he didn’t lie, they showed the devices and their capabilities. But Windows Phone 8? Well that was a bit of a Burlesque occasion.
Joe Belfiore, Windows Phone’s program manager, showed off one function of the new operating system; the camera and the new Lens capability. Now the lens stuff was interesting because it follows in the Windows Phone tradition of decoupling apps from their behavior as siloed programs and into a shared space.
The Lens feature works by letting an application take over camera functionality from within the camera. While this was cool, it was a bit disappointing that we didn’t get a full run down of Windows Phone 8. Belfiore went over the new Start Screen and the ability users have to change the Tile sizes and thus reducing some down to basic icons and other to full Live Tile status (showing dynamic information).Now I should say that Belfiore prefaced his appearance by saying that Microsoft wouldn’t be showing off all the features until later. I will return to this in a minute.
The presentation, however, was really about Nokia showing off its hardware prowess and the things it brings to the Windows Phone platform. First let’s look at the 920. The 920 is basically the flag bearer of the line. The 920 reflects the larger trend in mobile phones of well larger phones. It has a 4.5 display with a curved glass front similar to Nokia’s N9 and Lumia 800.
The two biggest new features that stick out are the 8.7 megapixel PureView camera and the ability to wirelessly charge your phone. Now PureView technology first appeared in the Nokia PureView 808 phone. That device had a 41 megapixel sensor that basically gave the phone the ability to act as a DSLR (translated as nice ass digital camera). Now many seem to be sadden by the lack of 33 extra megapixels, but as I said yesterday Nokia is thinking about PureView as a set of camera technologies that enhance the phone. Also the 808 is bulky and I don’t think that is what everyone was looking for in a smart phone.
The 920 is thick looking and unlike it predecessor the 900, its polycarbonate plastic shell was dipped in gloss (which is okay but I liked the fact that the 900 didn’t pick up fingerprints). Now the 820 is .2in smaller and has rounded edges. Like the Lumia 610 (600), the 820 has a replaceable back (including one for wireless charging). It has a 8 megapixel camera but without the PureView goodness of the 920. All in all today’s Lumia announcement was about refining the design.
Now for the wireless charging; Nokia is integrating Qi wireless charging technology into the 920 and 820 (through a special back cover). Nokia is also working with JBL and Fatboy, creating accessories for speakers and chargers. Amongst the first type of accessories are a wireless charging speaker, charging plate, and a charging stand.
Now back to Windows Phone. Now as I said earlier they showed little of the changes to the platform outside the Camera and the Start screen. The one new app announcement was for an Angry Birds app; even though I think Rovio is porting both Angry Birds in Space and the Pig centric game to Windows Phone 8. And at the event today, none of the assembled reporters and bloggers could show apps. Pulling a Zapruter, It appears that CNN, All Recipes, Foursquare, and Michelin (the restaurant guide) have probably been given access to the new OS. Also Microsoft has tweaked the Tile interface a little. For example the CNN app is shown both in the regular sized tile with a modified look and also a large Tile that resembles the ones found in Windows 8. For developers Microsoft finally announced the release of the new Windows Phone SDK (September 15) along with other information.
Before I go I want to mention the non-controversy controversy over the Nokia Lumia teaser; the one where the girl is riding the bike. Well today the other part of the campaign was uploaded to YouTube showing off the 920’s PureView camera. Now if you saw the teaser and you were expecting a Lumia PureView you may have called fowl at the reveal of a camera crew filming parts of the commercial. My take is its a damn commercial and the parts which were clearly labeled to show of the PureView were labeled so. However Nokia apologizes.
Extras (Because this is interesting and I want to link)
And that’s it, later people