Eight months ago, Nokia bet its future on Microsoft, abandoning other smartphone efforts so it could create Windows Phones instead. Now, we’re seeing the first fruits of that strategy shift in Nokia’s Lumia 800 and Lumia 710.
The Lumia 800 is the star of this show, with a gently curved polycarbonate frame, a 1.4 GHz processor and an 8-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics. In terms of hardware, it’s essentially the same phone as Nokia’s N9, which was based on the MeeGo operating system Nokia is abandoning in favor of Windows Phone. But its AMOLED display is slightly smaller at 3.7 inches—presumably to make room for Windows Phones’ home, back and search buttons—and there’s no 64 GB storage option. Instead, you get 16 GB of storage built in, plus 25 GB in the cloud through Microsoft’s SkyDrive service.
A second Nokia Windows Phone, the Lumia 710, has the same 1.4 GHz processor, but it uses TFT display technology for its 3.7-inch screen instead of the superior AMOLED, and comes with a 5-megapixel camera instead of the 8-megapixel Zeiss lens. Only 8 GB of storage is built in. The design—a simple plastic build with a removable back plate—also isn’t quite as classy as the Lumia 800.
Although Nokia prides itself on hardware, the company will also try to differentiate its Windows Phones with software, including free turn-by-turn voice navigation, a free streaming music service called Mix Radio and ESPN Sports Hub. Both phones will run Windows Phone “Mango,” the latest version of Microsoft’s mobile operating system.
Now for the bad news: Neither phone has been announced for U.S. wireless carriers yet. Nokia’s launching the Lumia 800 in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom next month for 420 Euros. The Lumia 710 hits Hong Kong, India, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan for 270 Euros toward the end of this year. Nokia says it’ll “introduce a portfolio of products” in the United States next year, but no word on whether these specific handsets will be part of the act.