Nokia have lifted the covers off their first Windows Phone 8 handset, the Nokia Lumia 920 smartphone. Using Microsoft’s forthcoming mobile operating system, it’s looking particularly good in the photography and navigation departments.
The Finnish company’s new flagship handset, it features a 4.5-inch screen running at WXGA (1280×768) resolution using “Nokia PureMotion HD+” technology that promises to offer an experience “better than HD”, with a curved glass display that delivers blur-free motion from video and app scrolling thanks to “PureMotion HD+” processing tech. The display also uses ClearBlack, a new automatically activating system for adjusting brightness, colour and contrast details to compensate for lighting, intended to deliver a clear viewing experience no matter how bright the sunlight is. Nokia also claim it to be the brightest smartphone screen ever.
Measurements put the Lumia 920 at 130 x 70,8 x 10.7mm, weighing 185g.
For those who live in colder climates though, there’s an especially nifty feature; you’ll be able to swipe away at the screen, without needing to take your gloves off. The screen can differentiate between skin and fabrics, and respond accordingly.
Packing a Qualcomm 1.5GHz Dual-Core Snapdragon S4 processor and Nokia’s superb PureView imaging system, the Lumia takes “the best photos and videos of any smartphone” according to Nokia’s Jo Harlow. Using floating lens technology, Nokia claim the 8MP camera sensor onboard can capture between 5 and 10 times more light than any other smartphone, making a bold claim that it rivals even SLR tech. A large f2.0 aperture was also touted. A dedicated camera button is onboard for snapping pics, with zooming now handled by a pinch-to-zoom gesture, rather than an interface slider. Hitting a “lenses button” also threw up all manner of camera-related apps, including Bing Vision, CNN iReport and FXSuite, with the latter offering a host of image filter options. An app called Blink also took a burst shot of photos, then picked the one it thought would look best.Augmented reality navigation features also look set to play a major part in the smartphone, using Nokia’s Maps for voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation, as well as delivering offline mapping features for a “Daily Commute” option. Indoor navigation will also get a look-in, while a “City Lens” app uses augmented reality technology to overlay information on your surroundings through the Lumia 920’s touchscreen and camera. Shop names and restaurant information will pop up in real-time, with similar features being integrated into Nokia’s standard mapping app.
Wireless charging was also onboard, with a 2,000mAh battery powering the handset; the largest Nokia has ever put into one of their smartphones. Wireless charging comes with a separate, dish-like accessory, though the Qi standard means other wireless charging mats should work with the Lumia 920. Virgin Atlantic and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf are partnering with Nokia too to start offering wireless charging in their departure lounges and stores respectively.
As you’d expect from a flagship handset, LTE 4G, Wi-Fi, 3G and NFC features are also onboard, with NFC tech allowing you to “tap” music onto compatible speaker systems and have the music instantly sent to the dedicated audio device. 32GB of storage is onboard, with 7GB SkyDrive storage and 1GB of RAM to boot.
Windows 8 apps and customisation features were also showcased. Microsoft’s Joe Belifore gave a demo that saw him arrange the phone’s Live Tiles interface to prioritise contacts such as his wife, and shrinking down other tiles to accommodate his most used apps more efficiently. Moving fluidly and updating swiftly, he expanded the CNN News tile to a larger size, which saw the tile automatically make better use of the extra space given to deliver more story details. He also took screenshots of his home screens using a native Windows 8 feature that works by pressing the power and Home buttons simultaneously, then shared it to Twitter.Coming in yellow, lipstick red, white, black and slate grey shades, the Lumia 920 uses a polycarbonate plastic casing rather than what Nokia’s Kevin Shields referred to as “needless” metals. Ceramic buttons are used, which Nokia promise are almost impossible to scratch, and should mean that phone can take (within reason) a fair old beating.
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop also spoke of the growth of the Windows phone ecosystem over the past year, claiming that Nokia’s partnership with the OS had inspired app growth to rise from a mere 7,000 apps to the 100,000 presently offered.
“The most important step that we took as part of the shift as part of Nokia’s strategy was to change the way Nokia operates. We have taken actions to make Nokia a more nimble competitor,” said Elop.
All in all a fairly impressive showcase from Nokia. Plenty of the features discussed, particularly the screen technology and SLR-rivalling camera features will need to be looked at in depth to see if they deliver on their promises, but if everything comes together as suggested by the press conference, Nokia could have a very nifty handset when the Lumia 920 hits stores “sometime in Q4″.
By Gerald Lynch | September 5th, 2012