Nokia Corp. is busy introducing its Lumia Microsoft Corp. Windows Phone 8 smartphone Wednesday morning, placing an emphasis on a better camera, smarter maps and built-in wireless charging for its new flagship 920 device.
The vendor's launch in New York, however, was short on details about availability, pricing and carrier partners. Nokia merely says that the new Lumia 920 will be available later this year.
AT&T Inc. has typically been first with the Lumia launches in the U.S.
Nokia's high-end hopeful features a Snapdragon dual-core 1.5GHz processor, NFC, 1GB of RAM, a curved 4.5-inch display and an eight-megapixel camera. Nokia, however, is focusing on upgrading other camera features rather than rushing the smartphone megapixel arms race.
Nokia's 920 "PureView" camera "captures between five and 10 times the light of any competitor's smartphone camera," explains EVP of smart devices, Jo Harlow. This should mean that the phone takes better pictures indoors without a flash.
Maps, meanwhile, are also a major feature of the phone. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop called location a "key differentiator" for the vendor. (See Nokia Puts Itself on the Map.)
The vendor has "City Lens" in the phone. So you can take a photo of a city block and get the names of cafes, shops and other buildings overlaid on the picture.
The vendor is also pushing indoor mapping as a useful feature. "We can get you to where you want to go inside the train terminal or bus station," claims Nokia's Harlow.
Maps will also be available off-line on the phone.
Other quirky features include glove swiping, so that you can use the touch-screen phone in cold weather without removing your mittens. Built-in wireless charging is also included in the phone.
Many of the same features will also be available in the Lumia 820, an updated smaller brother to the 920 with several colorful removable shells to customize the phone.
Indeed, the focus on the Windows operating system updates appeared centered around personalizing the phone to access particular people or content, often via "live tiles" that can be moved or re-sized on the face of the phone.
"This is the year for Windows," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claimed at the launch event.
Ballmer and his Finnish friends will face stiff competition as we race into fall, however, with the next Apple Inc. iPhone launch widely expected on Sept. 12 and Samsung Corp. shifting millions of its Galaxy S III smartphone.
â€” Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile