Nokia Lumia 900: An iPhone User’s Perspective

Since 2008, I’ve been a dedicated iOS user and somewhat of a fanboy. While I’ve spent plenty of time playing around with Android phones such as the Droid RAZR and the HTC Desire, they’ve all been laggy and generally do not provide an enjoyable experience for me. But while Android didn’t stand out for me, another mobile OS did: Windows Phone 7.

To be honest, most Windows Phone devices have been pretty dull. The Samsung Focus, HTC Titan and others have looked like any other non-iOS. However, this completely changed when Microsoft and Nokia announced their partnership and Nokia announced their new series of Windows Phones.

In case you’re unaware, Nokia originally announced the Lumia 710 and 800 in November of 2011. The Lumia 710 featured a whole new design while the 800’s design was carried over from the MeeGo-sporting Nokia N9. The Lumia 710 would be brought to the US via T-Mobile while the Lumia 800 would stay in Europe. This did eventually change as the unlocked Lumia 800 was offered in a wallet crushing media pack, which cost $899 at Microsoft Stores in the US.

Then CES 2012 rolls around and Nokia announces two more devices: the Lumia 900 and the Lumia 610. The 610 is meant for emerging markets as the expected price of the unlocked phone is sub-$250. The Lumia 900 on the other hand, is an AT&T-exclusive high-end Windows Phone for the US market.

Priced at only $99 (on-contract) in the US, the Lumia 900 rocks a 4.3″ touchscreen and a front facing camera. The US variant of the Lumia 900 also packs LTE connectivity while the international version is running on HSPA+.

Now that I’ve run down all the specs and history of the Nokia Lumia series, I want to give you my full thoughts on the Nokia Lumia 900 after I was given one last week. While this won’t be a full review of the Lumia 900, it should give you a good idea of an iPhone user’s thoughts on the device.

My Thoughts on The Lumia 900

I’m not one to complain about specs on a mobile device. As long as the device works flawlessly for me, I’m happy. So I honestly don’t care that the Lumia 900 only features a 1.4GHz single-core processor and 512MB of RAM. Why? The phone is smooth. Scrolling is fluid, app switching is fast and to be honest, it just works. So that’s a plus.

Lumia 900
The Lumia 900 features an absolutely out of this world design. I never thought I would say that a chunk of plastic is sexy, but I think I have to. The Lumia 900 (and 800, for that matter) has arguably one of the best phone designs I’ve seen in recent history. I like to think of it this way:  the iPhone 4/4S has the best industrial design while the Lumia 900 has the best “playful” design on the market.

As for Windows Phone 7.5, I don’t mind it. It’s a totally new idea, which didn’t copy iOS. The menus could be a tad more easy to use, but the “Live Tiles” are very nice and add a ton of functionality to the device. While there is a lack of applications in the Marketplace, the necessities are there and so is Angry Birds.

As for the screen, ClearBlack is nice, but not perfect. While it does allow me to see the screen better in the daylight, the pixel density is pretty horrible. With a screen resolution of only 480×800 (~217ppi), text can often seem blurry and images washed-out. I’m refreshed when I go back to my iPhone 4S’s 960×640 (~326ppi) screen.

The Lumia’s camera is also pretty bad. While Nokia claims the Lumia 900 boasts a 8-megapixel sensor, it sure doesn’t act like it. Images seem washed out and have an annoying pink spot in the middle. Please see the example below.

Lumia 900 Camera

Finally, I cannot currently comment on the Lumia’s LTE connectivity as I’m using it on AT&T’s PAYG plan, so I only have access to their HSPA+ network. On HSPA+, data is fast and call quality is pretty good.

While the Lumia 900 won’t replace my iPhone 4S, it’s a close runner up. It’s definitely the best Windows Phone 7 device on the market and Windows Phone 7 provides a nice user experience which can’t be matched by anything except Apple’s iOS. So if for some reason you’re looking for a non-iOS device on AT&T, the Lumia 900 should be your match.

Nokia Asha 302 Already Available In India For Rs.6285

Do you still remember the Nokia Asha 302 phone? Yes, we are talking about the same QWERTY smartphone which was announced along with the Nokia PureView 808 and Nokia Lumia 610 at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2012 in Barcelona. This handset comes with a 2.4 QVGA display as well as a 1 GHz processor.

The Nokia Asha 302 is company’s first Series 40 phone to support Mail for Exchange, which lets the user to access their emails, contacts, and calendar on an exchange server. Nokia has not yet officially launched this device in India. However, popular online retailers such as Flipkart and LetsBuy have already started selling this device in India. Check out the complete specs of this budget QWERTY phone below.

nokia asha 302

Nokia Asha 302 features a 2.4 QVGA display, sporting a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels, Symbian S40 OS, 1 GHz processor, full QWERTY keyboard, 3.2 megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom, 3G Connectivity, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Nokia Browser and so on.

Other features include a 3.5 mm headset jack, music player, enhanced stereo FM radio, Social Networking apps, Mail For Exchange, Bluetooth 2.1 with enhanced data rates (EDR), 140 MB internal memory, microSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, MicroUSB, up to 29 days of stand-by time, up to 9 hours of talk-time, and a 1430 mAh battery.

The Nokia Asha 302 is currently available only in 3 colors – Dark Grey, White, Plum Red. The Mid Blue and Golden Light colors are expected to join the bandwagon soon after the launch. The Nokia Asha 302 comes with a price-tag of Rs.6,285. To get this device, head over to this page at Flikart or LetsBuy.

White Nokia Lumia 900s Hit The Shelves

Today, the white Nokia Lumia 900 flagship Windows Phone has officially gone on sale at AT&T stores.

Some stores did sell the device a day early, according to reports. AT&T stores were allegedly allowed to begin selling the phone a bit earlier than expected at their own discretion, and clearly some stores did just that. If you didn’t go to one of the early bird AT&T stores, however, then now is your chance.

When it comes to phones, people seem to be mesmerized by white. This was most clearly demonstrated in the case of the iPhone 4, when many held out waiting for the white version of the device which didn’t ship for quite some time. Some have other reasons behind their choices to purchase white phones, such as Rafael Rivera, who bought his so that he could use the green bumper.

The Nokia Lumia 900 is pretty much the flagship Windows Phone devices. It’s being heavily promoted by AT&T as a flagship device, as they greatly covet a third ecosystem. Even Verizon expressed a desire for a third ecosystem, claiming that they wish to throw as much support behind Windows Phone as they did for Android.

Nokia Lumia 610 Launching In Asia At The End Of April

Back in February, Nokia announced the fourth smartphone in its popular Lumia family, the Nokia Lumia 610. It is the company’s cheapest Windows Phone powered device. The Nokia Lumia 610 is specially targeted at the younger audience. This handset comes with the Microsoft Office apps which allows the students to use the Word mobile, PowerPoint mobile, Excel mobile to manage documents and OneNote mobile to capture notes, ideas, pictures and voice memos. This handset runs on the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango Operating System.

“The Nokia Lumia 610 will introduce Windows Phone to a new generation of smartphone users, offering something very different to the monochromatic smartphones filling shelves today,” said Jo Harlow, Head of Smart Devices at Nokia. “PeopleHub, Nokia services and quality apps – coupled with a fast and friendly interface – will make for a great smartphone experience at a great price.”

nokia lumia 610

Nokia Lumia 610C features a 3.7 inch LCD display with 800 x 480 pixels resolution, 800 Mhz Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 processor, Windows Phone 7.5 Mango OS, 5 megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash, 3.5 mm headset jack, 256 MB RAM, 8 GB internal memory, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, XBOX Live Hub, Microsoft Office, SkyDrive, A-GPS, Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive, Nokia Transport, Nokia Music, up to 720 hrs of stand-by time, up to 9.5 hrs of talk-time and a 1300 mAh battery.

Nokia recently announced that the Lumia 610 smartphone will go on sale first in the Philippines in the last week of April, followed by China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam in the coming weeks. This handset will be available in black, cyan, magenta and white colors. The Nokia Lumia 610 comes with a price-tag of EUR 189 (approx. $250) before taxes. Sadly, Nokia has not yet announced the price and availability of this device for the Indian customers. Stay tuned for more updates.

Nokia has a Dismal Quarter; Sales Disappoint

Nokia announced its earnings for the first quarter of 2012, and as expected, they suck. Its net sales dropped 29% year-over-year to €7.35 billion, while its operating profit dipped from €439 million to an operating loss of €1.34 billion.

It has seen a decline in not only smartphone sales, but also mobile phone sales. It is expecting to make an operating loss again in the next quarter, as it scrambles to get its device strategy in place.

While most of the loss can be attributed to restructuring, it would have reported a loss even on an adjusted, non-IFRS basis.

While the sales of Lumia devices have apparently been encouraging, they hardly offset the decline in sales of Nokia’s Symbian devices.

“We are navigating through a significant company transition in an industry environment that continues to evolve and shift quickly. Over the last year we have made progress on our new strategy, but we have faced greater than expected competitive challenges.” said Elop, Nokia’s CEO. “We are confident in our strategy and focused on responding urgently in the short term and creating value for our shareholders in the long term.”

At this point, Nokia’s future is almost entirely tied to Microsoft’s Windows Phone. 2012 is going to be a very crucial year for both of them, and should tell us whether or not Nokia made the right move by betting everything on Microsoft’s horse which may be capable of smoking the other horses, but entered the race too late.

Nokia plans to focus on the budget smartphone segment with cheaper smartphone options like the Lumia 610, and also focus on international markets to drive growth.

Nokia’s Roller Coaster Fortnight

Nokia Lumia 900

Oh wow, what a couple of weeks Nokia has had. A company trying to reinvent itself and staying relevant in an increasingly iOS/Android-dominated smartphone world caught the headlines mostly for all the wrong reasons. Here’s a rundown of the news and my take on the same.

Lumia 900 Announced

First, after showing the Lumia 900 at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, they finally announced the availability of Nokia Lumia 900, their flagship device for the North American markets. Pre-orders would start on March 30, at AT&T’s website, and the device would be available in stores on April 8. As a surprise they also announced a glossy white version, to be available only in stores (no pre-order) on April 22. All good news, albeit some would argue that according to leaks earlier, it was supposed to happen on March 18, so this date could be considered a “delay”. Oh well.

Mixed Reviews?

Then, the review embargo is lifted. Suffice to say that while generally extremely positive, there was a feeling that some of the reviewers (especially one at a very high profile site) were very critical of certain aspects of the phone and the OS. I wrote about how the Lumia 900 may have created a very high set of expectations and meeting or beating those expectations would be almost impossible. Also, the device, unlike typical iPhone releases, was not accompanied by a major software update of the Windows Phone OS. So a lot of reviewers started poking around what’s missing in the OS rather than reviewing the device itself. Bottom line, there was a lot of coverage on the stuff that was missing, instead of highlighting how, at $99 with contract, this was an excellent deal for a very well-made phone.

Amazon Users Love The Lumia 900

Recently, a certain noteworthy technology blog published a controversial review on the Lumia 900. While Topolsky praised the phone’s hardware, he brought up some of his existing gripes with the Windows Phone platform as a whole which seemed to hit a nerve amongst the community. However, disregarding the opinions of pundits for a second, it would appear that normal users have taken quite a liking to the device, at least if Amazon is any credible metric.

For one, the most helpful review is titled “Almost Perfect”, and proceeds to describe the device like so:

Seriously, you cannot buy a better smartphone at this price. I purchased mine at my local corporate AT&T store for $99 during the pre-sale. I received the phone on Friday the 6th and as someone who has had Blackberry’s, Windows Mobile (old versions), several Android devices and even tried an iPhone for a while, this is the best phone I have ever used.

Pretty much all of the following reviews march to the beat of this same drum, with a few exceptions (like one “Conspiracy Keanu” commenter who believes that Microsoft is astroturfing the comments, as surely a Windows Phone cannot be that good… right?)

The phone has a nearly 5-star rating on Amazon. And, out of the 201 reviews (at time of writing), 178 are five star reviews. While I cannot weigh in with my thoughts on whether the Lumia 900 is deserving of such a rating as I am yet to thoroughly spend time with the device, all that I can say is that it’s certainly a good phone for the price.

I think that Microsoft is well aware that they need to step up the Windows Phone platform before it can truly face off against Android and iOS, so in that sense, the device’s pricing is brilliant.

Nokia Belle FP1 Task Manager and Other Goodies Ported To Nokia N8

Last week, we reported that Nokia has started rolling out the Nokia Belle FP1 update for three of its handsets, the Nokia 603, 700 and 701. The FP1 update will not be rolled out to the first generation of Symbian^3 handsets, including the N8 because of their slower processor and low RAM.

However, one of the developers over at DailyMobile forums has managed to port all the new goodies in Belle FP1 to the Nokia N8. This includes a new music player, the new web browser, the new widgets and the new task manager. The custom firmware also includes other goodies like improved image and video quality, more free RAM and overall faster performance.

N8 owners can get all these new Belle FP1 and other features on their phone by flashing the Nokia N8 Pro Edition v8 CFW from Taylor. Keep in mind that flashing this CFW file will void the warranty of your N8, so please proceed with caution. Head over to this thread on DailyMobile forums for the download link and further discussions.

Hopefully, these new UI goodies in Belle FP1 will also be ported to other first generation Symbian^3 handsets from Nokia.

Nokia Belle FP1 Update Rolling Out For Nokia 603, 700 and 701

Nokia has started rolling out the official Nokia Belle FP1 update for the Nokia 700, 701 and the 603 beginning from today in Asia and other regions of the world. The upcoming camera powerhouse from Nokia, the Pure View 808, will also come with Belle FP1 pre-installed.

Nokia Belle FP1 (Feature Pack 1) brings with it subtle but welcome changes including an updated task Manager with a webOS style UI, 20 new widgets, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Headphone, an improved browser with HTML5 support, and an updated notification bar. The processor speed will also be bumped up to 1.3GHz on the Nokia 700 and 701, brining about a noticeable improvement in the performance of the handsets. All the inbuilt Nokia apps have also been updated to their latest version.

Sadly, the first generation of Symbian^3 devices including the Nokia N8, C6, C6-01, E7 and the C7 will not be getting the Belle FP1 update due to their slower processor. The Nokia Belle FP1 update will not be the last update for Symbian handsets. Instead, Belle FP1 will be followed by Nokia Carla which will again bring an enhanced web browser and many other improvements and features.

Via – GSMArena


Nokia Q1 Financial Earnings Disappointing Despite 2M Lumias Sold

In a press release today, Nokia announced that it has sold over 2 million Nokia Lumia handsets in Q1 2012, but despite this, the company is still falling short when it comes to financials:

“Our disappointing Devices & Services first quarter 2012 financial results and outlook for the second quarter 2012 illustrates that our Devices & Services business continues to be in the midst of transition,” said Stephen Elop, President and CEO of Nokia. “Within our Smart Devices business unit, we have established early momentum with Lumia, and we are increasing our investments in Lumia to achieve market success. Our operator and distributor partners are providing solid support for Windows Phone as a third ecosystem, as evidenced most recently by the launch of the Lumia 900 by AT&T in the United States.”

Nokia also updated its outlook for Devices and Services in Q1 2012, going from expecting a breakeven non-IFRS Devices & Services operating margin to expecting one of approximately negative 3%. The company’s outlook on Q2 2012 is also bleak; Nokia expects that its non-IFRS Devices & Services operating margin will be similar or below that of Q1.

The Lumia 900 — which was launched on April 9th — is pegged to be a flagship Windows Phone device that will hopefully drive more sales to the platform. Many buyers of the device have reported a strange data connectivity issue, which was quickly identified as a problem with the software. A fix will be pushed out shortly, and AT&T is offering a $100 credit to Lumia 900 owners affected by the problem.