Yesterday was a wild one, but I expected nothing less from a Nokia product launch. The great white hope of Windows Phone unveiled two products that look like exactly what they and Microsoft need to kick in the holiday season.
However, I also felt there were a lot of things missing or poorly executed, so it was certainly not all daisies and unicorns in a new-found Windows Phone 8 euphoria. Let the ranting begin...
The Nokia Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 are true contenders
If the hardware, design, camera, and exclusive software was not enough to convince you that Nokia has crafted a pair of dangerous heavyweights, then just watch their presentation. It is an odd thing to say, but as I was watching the company's top brass deliver the keynote it gave me the same feeling as watching an Apple device announcement (yes, I do watch them). Because while Windows Phone 8 does a lot to remedy claims that they had fallen behind in terms of specs, that appeared to be the last thing on Nokia's mind when they were talking about their products. When Jo Harlow held up the Lumia 920 for the first time and gave an overview of the device, she never said once how large the display was or how many megapixels the camera would be. Instead, the focus was strictly on the branding — it was a PureMotion HD+ display and a PureView camera — which is straight out of the Apple playbook.
The focus was strictly on the branding...which is straight out of the Apple playbook.Even if they didn't focus on it though, we all know that the Nokia Lumia 920 and even the Lumia 820 have the specs necessary to compete with the smartphone world's top players. But like we said, Nokia decided to focus on things that were actually important to the customer instead of getting dragged into a spec sheet war. Wireless charging isn't a new feature to phones, but Nokia has so far done the best job of representing how cool and genuinely useful the concept is thanks to their slick lineup of headphones, speakers, and charging stands. Nokia's Kevin Shields also presented one small feature that could be a big selling point if advertised: "Super Sensitive Touch", which lets people with long fingernails or those wearing gloves to use their phones just as they normally would with their bare hands.
Sure, these aren't the features that someone tech savvy like me or the audience that reads this site religiously would care about, but on the contrary these are the small little touches that differentiate Nokia from everyone else and that is worth paying attention to.
Plenty of Nokia, not enough Windows Phone 8
Windows Phone 8 only accounted for 20 minutes of the 90 minute-long presentationSince I'm already hating on Microsoft, why not keep going? While I and the rest of the industry fell in love with Nokia's product-filled announcement, Windows Phone 8 only accounted for 20 minutes of the 90 minute-long presentation. Yes, I counted (from about the 27-minute mark to the 47-minute mark) and you can watch it for yourself here.
If you read my predictions, I expected Microsoft to have a much more significant role in the spotlight. After all, this was supposed to be a "joint event" between the two companies representing the launch of Windows Phone 8 and of Nokia's new Lumia handsets. However there was no news about new features coming to the platform, outside of the camera improvements. There was also nothing new to report about Windows Phone 7.8, an issue that both companies seemed to tip toe around.
No release date? Blame Microsoft.
This was a frequent complaint from yesterday's event, and I have a feeling Microsoft is more to blame than Nokia. The house of all things Windows has this habit of doing big, sweeping events to launch their most important products in sequence and if this Microsoft's insane announcement schedule this year (like the Surface announcement and the WP Summit being back-to-back) didn't tip you off, it appears the company really wants to coordinate all of their new product launches. However, I agree with common opinion that this doesn't excuse Microsoft from not talking about release dates...although it would have looked bad if Nokia had gotten on stage and basically said, "These phones are great right? Wait two months and then you can buy them."
All of the rumors and even common sense suggested that Windows Phone would be forced to follow behind the Windows 8 launch, and unfortunately that became true after yesterday's event. Whether it is the right decision or not, especially as the new iPhone is released onto the market, remains to be seen.