Now Samsung has set the scene, it’s time for Nokia to step up to the plate and take a swing with their new Windows Phone 8 powered smartphones. Leaks aside (and if you really want to find them, there are plenty other websites out there with spy shots, images, and rumoured specs, Bing is your friend), the upcoming announcement in New York on September 5th is going to be a pivotal one for Nokia, for the Windows Phone ecosystem, and the world of smartphones as a whole.
Outside of the specifications of the device and the inclusion of Windows Phone 8 as the operating system, what will I be watching out for during the launch?
Nokia’s PureView Imaging Technology
Potentially Nokia’s last big Symbian powered phone the Nokia 808, announced at Mobile World Congress (and walking away with the ‘Best In Show’ award), featured a jaw dropping 41 megapixel sensor. It wasn’t just for ‘big’ images but the software allowed far more oversampling and processing of an image, providing very high quality images, improved low light performance, and lossless zoom.
It also led to a rather distinctive bulge on the back of the 808, but the image aficionados were happy with that as a trade off.
The Ongoing Styling Story
Thanks to recent court cases, a lot of people will be looking at the physical design of the device hoping they can make a few snarky comments on Twitter. They should rest easy, Nokia have consistently been using the ‘pillow style’ shape on their handsets from the Symbian powered Nokia N8 through to the Windows Phone Lumia 900. Expect to see rounded long edges, flattened profiles at the top and bottom, and a very shallow curve over the glass and the rear of the unit.
Nokia’s Extra Software
Microsoft has put a lot of effort into keeping the look and feel of Windows Phone as consistent as possible over different manufacturers, and largely succeeded. Differentiation focuses heavily on styling and the extra software available on a device. While HTC and Samsung have a number of extra apps on their Windows Phone devices, this is an area where Nokia excel.
Their Windows Phone 7 devices stood out with apps such as Nokia Music (free streaming music out the box), Nokia Transport (for public transport navigation), Nokia Reading, and their crown jewels of Nokia Maps (coupled with Nokia Drive for in-car directions). Every one of these should be available on Windows Phone 8, but there may be an extra trick or two in software to make the new handsets sand out even more.
NFC Payment Support
Announced alongside Windows Phone was Microsoft’s Wallet hub, promising a single space for users to track credit and debit cards, loyalty programmes, membership cards, airline boarding passes, and more. Windows Phone 8 also supports NFC, and this is another area where Nokia has a lot of experience – such as their NFC ticketing trial with the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority. It’s an area with a lot of interest from the mobile phone networks, and I wonder if Nokia is going to big up the NFC Payment features on any new devices, alongside their practical NFC uses such as ‘touch to pair’ with their bluetooth enabled audio accessories.