The past couple of years have not been very pleasant for Nokia. The Finnish mobile phone giant has had a hard fall, and it can only blame itself. There is only one way Nokia can pull itself out of its downward spiral, and that is by coming up with droolworthy handsets. Fortunately, that is exactly what Nokia seems to be doing. The Lumia 920, which was unveiled a short while back, is a gorgeous device that is well complemented by great hardware and latest software.
Samsung was first off the block with Windows Phone 8 smartphones, but Nokia will probably end up deciding Microsoft’s fate in the smartphone segment. The Windows Phone 8 powered Lumia 920 packs in ample wow-factors to make consumers crave for Nokia’s beast.
The Lumia 920 features an eight-megapixel camera, which by itself is hardly noteworthy. However, Nokia claims that it will offer outstanding low-light performance thanks to its ability to capture five to ten times more light than other smartphones. It also features the stunning PureView tech that we saw in the 808. While the Lumia doesn’t have the gigantic lens of the 808, the combination of superior optics and PureView software could very well make it the best-in-its-class as far as the camera is concerned.
To go with the camera, Nokia is also bundling a number of Lens apps, which are nothing but little apps that are tightly integrated with the camera. The ones that Nokia showed off today include Bing Vision, Photosynth, Blink, FXSuite, PhotoStrip and CNN iReport. Bing Vision is Microsoft’s answer to Google Goggles. It offers image-based search for quickly looking up more information about the book that you are reading or the music CD that your friend owns. Photosynth is also a Microsoft app, and it allows you to create stunning 3D models of any location by stitching together a series of images. FxSuite is an image effects app that allows you to preview effects before actually capturing an image.
The most exciting feature, however, is City Lens. City Lens was announced earlier this year, and was so far only available through Nokia Beta Labs. However, with Windows 8, Nokia will be baking this feature into the system. City Lens is an augmented reality app that leverages Nokia’s excellent maps to overlay information about nearby buildings and establishments on your camera. Augmented Reality apps have been around for quite a few years; however, they are yet to really go mainstream. If Nokia can manage to nail City Lens, it could very well open the flood gates.
Using City Lens is pretty straightforward. Open the app, and tell it what you are looking for (e.g. Restaurants). It will instantly pull up nearby restaurants, and overlay them on the camera along with info about the restaurant and its distance. Tilt the phone 45 degrees, City Lens will switch to a list of those locations. Hold it in a parallel position, and it will bring up the map view. Check out the video below to see it in action.