Windows Phone 7 was Microsoft’s answer to the new touchscreen era with many critics of the older Windows Mobile claiming it was not fit for purpose. WP7 was designed from the ground up and truly offers something unique compared to Android and the iPhone. It has a much more social emphasis with excellent entertainment on offer with Zune and Xbox. Although it was first released over a year ago though, it has so far failed to make much of a splash.
That was true and looked likely to remain true until Nokia announced the new Lumia 800. To date only Samsung and HTC have released a small number of Windows Phone 7 devices, but Nokia’s partnership with Microsoft, announced at the start of the year, should bring a great deal more Windows Phones to the market. Nokia is investing a lot of advertising money to push Nokia Lumia contracts and it certainly looks like the most appealing Windows Phone yet.
At first glance the Lumia looks a lot like the MeeGo powered Nokia N9. It has the same brightly coloured design and identical physical proportions. The big thing about the N9 was that it operated on a purely touchscreen basis – with absolutely no buttons on the front. The Lumia does come with buttons though, Windows softkeys placed beneath the display. Because of this the Lumia’s screen is ever so slightly smaller than the N9′s – although this is the only recognizable difference between the two phones from the outside.
Of course, in the software department the two phones are entirely different. Although there was originally a lot of interest in MeeGo it has since been dropped by Nokia – meaning that future support for updates and apps will be limited. On this phone Windows Phone 7 actually looks a whole lot more appealing – and like a much more complete operating system.
Windows Phone 7 is not very customizable, and so there is not much about the Lumia’s interface that is very different to, say, the HTC Titan or Samsung Omnia W. Nokia has endeavored to include some of its more traditional services on its Windows Phones though, including its maps and navigation services. The Lumia comes with Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive and Nokia Music – helping to differentiate the Lumia from other Windows Phones somewhat.
The Lumia 800 comes with the new Mango update for Windows Phone 7, including all the new features for cloud computing and improved social networking integration. One new feature that was added into Mango is the support for front camera video calling – unfortunately this is not a feature that has made its way into the Lumia as it does not have a front facing camera.
On the other hand, it does have an excellent main camera. The 8 megapixel camera comes with Carl Zeiss optics, dual LED flash and 720p video – and is easily as good as the camera on the earlier Nokia N8.
It is make or break time – for Nokia and for Windows Phone 7 – which is evident by the amount of money that Nokia is spending to market the Lumia (more than any previous Nokia phone). The adverts look tantalizing, as does the phone itself – and this could easily become one of the best mobile phone deals of 2011. This could indeed be the start of a great new partnership between Nokia and Microsoft.