Due to growing competition from Apple’s iPhone and the many Android powered devices on the market, Nokia has needed to step it up for a while now. So it should come as no surprise that the Finnish handset maker announced their strategy to take back some of the market share in its World Event in London today. What’s their solution? A family of Windows Smartphones, the highlight of which is the Lumia 800.
The Lumia 800 and its younger bother, the Lumia 710, are expected to hit stores in Europe next month and represent a final stand for Nokia. Similar to Sprint situation regarding the iPhone, Nokia is using this debut as a way to stay competitive. For a company which has seen its presence in the US diminish substantially, as well as lose more than 63 billion euros in market value since the introduction of the iPhone 4 years ago, this is a make-it or break-it situation. If Nokia can get this right, then they can place themselves in a position for a comeback. And thus far, it looks possible because the Lumia 800 is gorgeous.
Featuring a curved display, the Lumia 800 intertwines metal and glass. So smooth is its finish that one can barely tell where the metal ends and the glass begins. It boasts a 3.7 inch amoled touchscreen and a 1.4 GHz processor. It also contains a graphics processor and an 8-megapixel camera. Its smaller sibling, the Lumia 710 has similar components but is made of plastic instead of a hybrid of metal and glass, and only supports a 5-mega pixel camera. The Lumia 800 will cost you 420 euros ($585) whereas the 710 will only run you a mere 270 Euros ($376.) These phones will support the Windows OS, which presents itself as a collection of tiles in the home screen that represent the main functions of the phone. With Mango, the software will be able to tag photos and include voice dictation.
In the announcement, Nokia also revealed a series of apps that will integrate its maps to other points of data and allow the user to share their location with selected contacts. A functionality that sets it apart from the other smartphones out there is LiveView, an application that allows the user to attach names and links to objects detected by the phone’s camera.
Will this new line of Smartphones, supported by the Windows OS, be enough to win back Nokia’s lost customers? With the iPhone 4S generating an astounding 4 million in sales in its first week, and soon releasing in Europe, Nokia certainly has its work cut out for it. But using Windows in this gamble is a smart decision and if Nokia is able to stay innovative, I have no apprehensions that Nokia will climb its way back to the top. Unfortunately for me and my American counterparts, the Lumia is not available in the US market yet. Nokia did say that it would start to sell its Windows phones in the US in early 2012, but whether that will be the Lumia or some new device not yet launched, only time will tell.
Regardless, Nokia’s new smartphone launch, following the introduction of the iPhone 4S earlier this month, signifies the growing competition in this market. As companies start to live and die by these decision and “bet the farm” to gain an edge, it’ll be interesting to see what advances, and flops, are in the works for the smartphone.