Nokia announced its next-generation Windows Phone handsets at a joint event with Microsoft in New York City this morning. The Lumia 920 spent the most time in the spotlight, thanks to its PureView camera, wireless charging, PureMotion HD+ display, and many other great features.
The Finnish manufacturer lavished a lot of attention on the Lumia 920’s 8.7MP PureView camera with Carl Zeiss optics, which can take beautiful photos without flash and in low lighting. This is made possible thanks to the springs which have been placed around the entire optical assembly to create a floating lens. Or, in the words of Nokia, “Finnish Judo moves.” The result is a smartphone camera that is up to 50% more effective than many high-end digital cameras, since the springs allow the device to take smooth in stable photos and videos. The stability also allows the camera shutter to stay open longer, capturing five to ten times the amount of light of any competing smartphone and further increasing photo quality. Nokia showed off a few comparison photos on stage, and the results are simply stunning. When you combine this with Windows Phone 8’s new camera features, you have a very compelling imaging experience.
The second standout feature is wireless inductive charging, which supports the Qi standard. This allows you to charge your phone’s 2,000mAh battery by simply setting it on top of Nokia’s upcoming Fatboy Recharge Pillow or another wireless charging station. Nokia is continuing its top-notch support of the platform by helping to bring wireless charging stations to places like Virgin Atlantic’s London Heathrow Clubhouse and various Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf locations, as well as partnering with manufacturers like JBL to create compelling accessories. The JBL Power Up speaker includes support for both NFC and wireless charging, allowing you to start playing music with a single tap or power the phone by placing it on the charging pad. The same goes for JBL’s wireless headphones, which come in vibrant colors to match Nokia’s offering. These and many other accessories will be available “when the Lumia 920 comes to market.”
Speaking of partnerships, Nokia has expanded its lineup of exclusive apps to include Angry Birds Roost (a three-month exclusive), which brings the best of the Angry Birds experience to Lumia devices with tips, walkthroughs, news, and more; Angry Birds Classic, Seasons, and Space (coming in 2012 with a few surprises); Vimeo (includes a free three month trial of Vimeo Plus), the World of Red Bull (a nine month exclusive); Bloomberg Hub (a three month exclusive); StyleSaint (a 2012 exclusive); Groupon (with a six-month exclusive on augmented reality features); YouSendIt (with a three-month exclusive on NFC functionality); MICHELIN (with exclusive NFC features for six months); WhatsApp Messenger; and much more.
In the first-party app department, Nokia Music is now available in the United States, and the company plans to merge the features found in Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive, Nokia Transport, Nokia City Lens, and other location-based apps on the Lumia 920. Lifting up the Lumia 920 after setting your route will switch on augmented reality mode, highlighting your route and points of interest. Previously announced features like offline maps, auditory turn-by-turn directions, traffic calculations, and more were also mentioned. Nokia is also releasing new camera lens apps like Nokia SmartShoot, which allows you to remove or modify objects in an image, and Nokia Cinemagraph, which allows you to add bits of video to a still image to create motion.
On the hardware side, the Lumia 920 features the same tough polycarbonate chassis as its predecessors, along with the return of the 2.5D curved glass display fashioned from Corning Gorilla Glass 2. The 4.5-inch PureMotion HD+ display runs at a native resolution of 1280 x 768 (32ppi) and it works great in bright sunlight. It’s also the “fastest LCD display (sic) ever shipped on a smartphone” at 60Hz, so it’s free of blurring and flickers. Best of all, Nokia’s super sensitive touch technology ensures that the device is just as responsive with big thick gloves as it is with direct skin contact. The Lumia 920’s 2,000mAh battery lends it an estimated ten hours of talk time, 400 hours of power on standby, 67 hours of music playback, or six hours of HD video. The device also has a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 1.2MP front-facing camera, 32GB of internal memory plus 7GB (or more) on SkyDrive,
and a microSD card slot. The fact that it might not include a microSD card slot is interesting, given that the Lumia 820 does have one. We’ve reached out to Microsoft and Nokia for clarification.
Overall, the Nokia Lumia 920 should be an excellent device when it is launched later this fall in yellow, red, grey, white, and black variants. Sadly, Microsoft isn’t discussing pricing and availability yet, or even which carriers it’ll be made available on. In fact, many Windows Phone 8 OS features are still being kept under wraps as well. But that doesn’t change the fact that, unless HTC unveils something jaw-dropping in two weeks, the Nokia Lumia 920 will be my next daily driver. In the words of Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, “This is Lumia. The world’s most innovative smartphone.”