Thursday, October 27, 2011

Spotlights on Nokia: My stand on Nokia's first flagship Windows Phone

To start off with, interestingly enough (if you didn't already know), Nokia was a toilet paper producer in Finland 30 years ago before it became who it is today - a giant and leader in global telecommunication! Back last year in Nokia World 2010, newly elected CEO Stephen Elop announced to the world that Nokia will be ditching their very own homegrown platform - Symbian and MeeGo, in favour of Microsoft's Windows operating system (OS). And with that shocking news, Nokia shares plummeted, fans lost trust and went array to competitor Apple and Android, and sales of further Symbian and MeeGo products went cold and unnoticed.

So, for hopefuls and hardcore Nokia fans like me, we wait and see for Nokia's first Windows phone. Anticipation ran high, excitement was great at the Nokia World 2011, London yesterday. True enough, Nokia announces their first ever Windows phone running on the latest Windows 7.5 code named Mango OS; not just one, but 2 new Nokia Windows phones! Namely the Nokia Lumia 800 and 710 dubbed as the first 'true' Windows phones. (Click on the embedded links for specs, pricing and videos of the phones in action).

The high end Nokia Lumia 800
The mid-tier Nokia Lumia 710

I believe most of us wants more choices when choosing a smartphone, rather than just 2 current platforms which, not sure bout you, I'm quite tired of looking at now. Windows 7.5 OS looks really fresh - with live tiles updating your contacts' social activities, deeply integrating social networks, and latest news as well as notifications keep flashing at every interval flip of those metro tiles widgets, the Nokia Lumia homescreen looks very much alive and not.....boring like the other 2 platforms. The Windows UI made the whole using-your-phone-experience now much easier, faster and simply funner! And the US media approves of it too - Windows Phone 7.5: The media loves Mango! :D 

While the Lumia design is stunning, specs looked good and Windows OS seems promising [Read: Nokia World - US reaction round-up], I have to admit, it's not superb! As much as I am a fan of Nokia, I was actually hoping for something much much greater! Because we know it, Nokia is the BEST phone manufacturer in the world. These guys KNOWS how to design and make phones and are DAMN GOOD at it compared to any other companies out there.

I was actually hoping their first phone to have specs greater and features more advanced than the current best iOS (iPhone 4S) and Android (Galaxy Nexus) phones. But my expectations was only three quarter met. 
Nokia phones finally had a decent and fast processor, the Lumias have a 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. But what makes it slightly disappointing is that it only have 512MB RAM (same as iPhone 4s but latest Androids having at least 1GHz); 8GB (for Lumia 710) and 16GB (for Lumia 800) memory size; lower screen resolution; and NO front-facing camera!!!

But then again, I have to be fair to Nokia too. Considering Nokia and Microsoft officially started to work together in March 2011, the fact that they managed to pull these phones off in just 7 months or so, is a job well done feat! And let us ponder if all those missing links really matter? Just like iPhone 4s, the reason why Nokia Lumias are only equipped with 512MB of RAM is because Windows 7.5 OS is light and doesn't require that much of it. The smaller memory size is compensated with free 25GB cloud storage by Microsoft. Nokia's famous ClearBlack AMOLED Display is already producing super vivid and clear screen images. And front-facing cameras....... be honest, how many of us ACTUALLY uses them (often)??? To make things better, Lumia has apps only available for Nokia phones! That is the free turn-by-turn voice navigation Nokia Drive; free music streaming and downloadable Nokia Music as well as ESPN app.
But of course! If only the specs were greater, Nokia Lumias would have won hands-down! But this is not the case...... for now!

Quote : 'Nokia's "Ace" device is still on the horizon and rumors suggest that it will be unveiled in the first quarter of 2012. Nokia's Windows Phone offerings are just the beginning of what is likely to become an important ecosystem for Microsoft and its partners.'

What about Nokia "Ace" you ask? Well, it is said to have 1.4GHz Snapdragon processor; 8MP camera; 4.3" ClearBlack AMOLED display; 1GB of Ram; Near Field Communication (NFC); Bluetooth 4.0; 32GB memory; and 1800mAh battery! And of course, running on Windows Phone 7.5 Mango OS! Now isn't this exciting? We will just have to wait for it. And if this does comes out, I will DEFINITELY buy one! :D [Read: Nokia 900 (Ace) Specs Revealed]

Now that Nokia had had its first flagship Windows Phones, we as hardcore fans want more! I strongly believe Nokia can and will deliver better in the very near future. My speculations on Nokia's slightly-above-average-product this time is maybe because of the limited time that was available to grab hold of the Christmas shoppers, and they do not want to lose on that. Another thing is maybe, by producing more affordable Windows phones now, they can cater to a lot more lower income customers who are in search of a smartphone; which will attract more developers to build on the Windows ecosystem and then, deliver a better phone with a much more mature and established OS later! Of course, these are just my assumptions. A very optimistic one. :)

Quote in its article 'Nokia Lumia 800 Could Be The Best Windows Phone Yet [HANDS ON]' : "The Lumia 800 may be the best thing to happen to Windows Phone, not because it's a great looking phone - but because it has the type of design that might make more users consider Windows Phone as a platform.
That's what the original Droid did for Android. It gave Android a brand name and in the U.S., a flagship device that could go toe-to-toe with the iPhone. It didn't matter if a user ultimately ended up buying an HTC or Samsung Android device, the Motorola Droid was what conceptualized and sold the Android OS experience to millions of users.
Microsoft and Nokia are both betting that the Lumia 800 does the same thing. For Nokia, this is Waterloo and it's time to stand and deliver. At least in my limited time with the device, it's delivered. This is a phone that has the goods and the OS - Windows Phone 7.5 - is worthy of its beauty."

Whatever it is, Windows OS are here to stay. Like it or not, loyal Nokia fans would inevitably need to switch from Symbian to Windows and learn to embrace it! Nokia-Microsoft partnership is still young and fresh, give them a good 6 months for them to better complement and understand each other. I believe, soon, Nokia-Microsoft will be on top, again.


Wil Liam Choo is no professional phone reviewer. This article is solely his opinion and never meant to be judgmental. He always believe that there is so much more in a smartphone platform than just iOS and Android; and hopefully Nokia-Microsoft will create a successful third ecosystem.


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