Nokia’s Big Product Announcements

While most of us were sleeping last night, Nokia was hard at work at Nokia World in Abu Dabi announcing new devices. They also announced many other things, but I’ll talk about their other announcements in future articles.

Nokia Lumia 1520

Nokia-Lumia-1520-cs-Samsung-Galaxy-Note-3-vs-HTC-One-Max1

The 1520 was the star of the show this morning. This is Nokia’s newest spec monster, but it goes in a slightly different direction than the 1020. I see this device as more of a replacement of the year old Lumia 920 than the 1020. The spec barf is below. So, notice a few things on the specs. First of all, its clear this phone’s main selling point is going to be its huge 6 inch screen and 1080p resolution. This will be the first truly high definition phablet for Windows Phone. Also notice in the pic below how the extra pixels are used on the start screen: You’ll essentially get two additional medium tile columns.

Nokia-Lumia-1520-2

While not a huge deal, the extra glance and go info will be nice for some. The extra pixels will also make text, pictures, and videos a bit more crisp, but I don’t expect a very noticeable difference from the existing 720p screens. Also of note is this model is sporting an IPS LCD instead of the AMOLED screens present in the more recent devices. You may remember that the venerable 920 had an LCD before the 925, 928, and 1020 came out with their AMOLEDs. While I’m typically critical of LED screens for being over-saturated or unable to generate a good white screen, Nokia’s implementation has converted me to AMOLED. My 928 is brighter, more vibrant(but not too vibrant) and presents much better blacks than the 920, and there is a lot of black space to Win Phone 8. So its slightly disappointing to see the 1530 with an LCD, but Nokia seems apt to use LCD with new screen tech to save money at first, so hopefully further variants will opt for the AMOLED.

This thing is also a spec monster even compared with the latest Android phones, but especially for Windows Phone. Win Phone 8 runs well even without super high end hardware, so the phones don’t have to have the latest and greatest processors but instead Nokia tends to innovate in other area of the experience like the camera or screen. But this time, Nokia wanted to show off and has outfitted the 1520 with the latest and top of the line Snapdragon 800 quad core processor running at 2.2 Ghz, 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage. Basically, this phone will fly through anything you can throw at it. But I think its pretty impressive that Microsoft and Nokia have managed to put out a phablet that goes spec for spec with Android flagships mere weeks after the G2 and Note 3 are released. While the timing isn’t perfect, Microsoft and Nokia are managing to adopt newer hardware and newer trends much quicker than before, and that’s important when faced with the breakneck pace of hardware innovation present in the Android market.

One final hardware mention about this phone is that it will be sporting a 20 MP back camera, rather than the 41 MP beast the 1020 has. Once again, this pits the device as a 920 replacement. The 1020 will continue to dominate as the best smartphone camera, but the 1520 brings the 1020’s advancements to a well-rounded flagship. The camera will still take advantage of Nokia’s oversampling technology (using multiple pixels to generate one better and higher quality pixel) and can even shoot a RAW image as Nokia announced for the 1520, 1320, and 1020 today (a RAW image takes the full camera sensor input and outputs it in s digital form, giving a photographer an unconverted and unmodified picture to edit). Oh and yes that is a 3400 mAh battery. Battery life should be awesome.

As usual, the 1520 will be an AT&T exclusive, but expect variants of this device (like the rumored 929 for Verizon) to show up on other carriers later. This is one thing in really disappointed in. The fact that the 928 and 925 both outsold the 920 should have enough evidence to Nokia that they need to expand their carrier reach a bit.

Nokia Lumia 1520 Specs

  • Screen: 6′ IPS LCD ClearBlack display w/ 60 Hz refresh rate
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (368 ppi)
  • Display glass: Corning Gorilla Glass 3 w/ Super Sensitive Touch
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core @ 2.2 Ghz
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Storage: 32 GB built in / microSD card support up to 64 GB
  • Camera: 20 MP PureView with f/2.4 aperature
  • Camera Flash: Dual LED
  • Wireless connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac / Bluetooth 4.0 / NFC
  • QI Wireless Charging: Yes
  • Battery: 3400 mAh
  • Dimensions: 162 mm H x 85.4 mm W x 8.7 mm D
  • Weight: 209 g
  • Colors: Yellow, Red, Black, White
  • Price: $750 (unsubsidized – contract price unannounced)

Nokia Lumia 1320

Lumia-1320-Hero-2-jpg

This guy will be a cheaper variant of the impressive 1520. It’ll be running for the equivalent price of $339, but the 1320 is more geared towards Asian markets. Its not exactly a slouch though. Its 6 inch screen, even if is only 720p, should be very popular in its intended market as phablets quickly replace conventional laptops.The device is powered by the still quite capable Snapdragon S4 Pro dual core processor that powers most 900 series Lumia phones and will even come with 4G LTE capability, which will be a nice addition as Asian markets begin to ramp up LTE attenna support.

There are a few areas where its cheaper price tag does show, though, like its Lumia 520-like 5 MP camera and removable backs, but this phone doesn’t really seem “cheap” by any stretch of the imagination. From what I’ve seen from the event coverage, the device is rounded and comfortable to hold like the Lumia 620. Also of note, the device will still be carrying the same 3400 mAh battery as it’s beefier cousin, so the lower specs will probably translate to even more ridiculous battery life.

Nokia Lumia 1320 Specs

  • Screen: 6′ IPS LCD ClearBlack Display w/ 60 Hz refresh rate
  • Resolution: 1280 x 720 (245 ppi)
  • Display Glass: Corning Gorilla Glass 3 w/ Super Sensitive Touch
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Dual-core @ 1.7 Ghz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Storage: 8 GB Internal / microSD support up to 64 GB
  • Camera: 5 MP with f/2.4 aperture
  • Flash: Single LED
  • Wireless Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n / Bluetooth 4.0 / NFC
  • QI Wireless Charging: No
  • Battery: 3400 mAh
  • Dimensions: 164 mm H x 85.9 mm W x 9.8 mm D
  • Weight: 220 g
  • Colors: Red, Yellow, Black, White
  • Price: appx. $340 (before local import taxes)

Nokia Lumia 2520

Nokia-Lumia-2520

The oft rumored and leaked Nokia tablet became official as well. When the leaks and rumors were going around, I didn’t think much of the device, but its kinda growing on me. Incidentally, the biggest problem with this device is not going to be the hardware. The hardware is wonderful, powerful, and beautiful, but inevitably its going to be criticized for taking on Microsoft’s struggling Windows 8 RT ecosystem. While Win Phone often gets wrongly accused of having a weak ecosystem, there are few apologists that would claim the Win8 ecosystem is anything but weak. I was pleasantly surprised how many gaps were filled with upon checking out the Windows 8.1 store, and I think I could get along doing a lot of what I like to do in the Metro environment, but the app ecosystem needs some work. Nokia’s work in Windows Phone really helped bring the apps the ecosystem needed and brought a lot of attention to the platform, so I can only hope Nokia’s software talent will continue doing great things for the Windows platform as well. Now on to the hardware.

The device is really incredible and actually stands out in a variety of ways against the Surface. First of all, look at that hot red exterior. This device simply looks beautiful. Even the keyboard looks great as a contrast with that vibrant backing. To make the hotness even better, Nokia brought their display innovation to the tablet world with a 10.1 inch ClearBlack IPS LCD running a full 1920 x 1080 resolution. Supposedly, Nokia built the display as close to the glass as possible, removing any air between the two and resulting in an experience in which the screen literally looks like it’s on top of the glass, rather than underneath it. I’m also impressed with the display’s insane 665 nit brightness. The screen on this tablet should be completely visible even in direct sunlight.colozeum-682x1024

This is going to be a pretty powerful tablet too. Rather than grabbing Nvidia’s fairly untested Tegra 4 processor like Microsoft did with the Surface 2, Nokia opted for the above referenced Snapdragon 800, which is the current ARM hotness. This is rounded out by 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal storage, microSD expansion, a USB port, an HDMI-out port, and even LTE connectivity for the pretty decent price of $499. Oh, and because this is Nokia, it of course has a decent camera. It will have a 6.7 MP PureView camera with Carl Zeiss optics and a fairly impressive f/1.9 aperature (smaller aperature is better). So all you wonderful people who hold up tablets to take photos will be happy to have that.

The most interesting part of this tablet is going to be what it can bring to the Windows ecosystem. For instance, a Nokia Lumia smartphone can pair with the tablet over NFC and transfer photos, music, and videos wirelessly. I’ve honestly been waiting for someone to use NFC in this way for years and I’m surprised Samsung never put NFC in their tablets for this reason. Finally, Nokia announced their new Video Director app for Windows 8, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds. It’s a simple but well designed video editing app for Windows 8. There’s not much to say about it but WPCentral did a pretty good hands-on video if you want to check it out.

That nice looking detachable keyboard cover on the above picture will also be available separately but is similar to the Surface 2’s power cover. While the 2520 is estimated to get about 11 hours of battery life, the Power Keyboard will give it an additional 5 hours along with providing a tactile keyboard experience. About that experience though, while the keyboard may be nice, Mary Jo Foley recently tweeted that its actually pretty floppy, so don’t expect it to be a hard plastic keyboard like Microsoft’s Power Cover. The additional keyboard should debut at a surprisingly affordable $149.99.

All in all, a pretty impressive showing for Nokia’s first tablet. While Windows 8 is yet another ecosystem that needs some work, Nokia’s presence certainly helped catapult Windows Phone 8’s ecosystem in ways that Microsoft could never do. So hopefully between the second generation Surfaces and the Nokia 2520, Microsoft can finally carve a niche for itself in the tablet sphere when this device ships in November.

Nokia 2520 Specs

  • Screen: 10.1′ IPS LCD ClearBlack Display w/ 60 Hz refresh rate
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (218 ppi)
  • Display Glass: Corning Gorilla Glass 2
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Quad-core @ 2.2 Ghz
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Storage: 32 GB Internal / microSD support up to 64 GB
  • Front Camera: 2 MP HD w/ f/2.4 aperature
  • Camera: 6.7 MP with f/1.9 aperature
  • Flash: None
  • Wireless Connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n / Bluetooth 4.0 / NFC
  • Ports: 1 USB 3.0 / 1 micro HDMI
  • Battery: 8000 mAh
  • Dimensions: 168 mm H x 267 mm W x 8.9 mm D
  • Weight: 615 g
  • Colors: Black, Cyan, Red, White
  • Carriers: AT&T / Verizon
  • Price: $499 (unsubsidized)

A Splash of AshaAsha-502-Dual-SIM-KSP-4-jpg

The last three device announcements were Nokia’s new Asha 501, 502, and 503 Symbian phones. While Symbian is in no way a modern operating system, it is still being supported and allows Nokia to build some really cheap hardware. Those in American may be surprised to note that Nokia actually sales a rather large amount of Asha phones and comprises a significant amount of Nokia’s device sales revenue. As long as these incredibly low cost devices continue to sell and as long as Microsoft doesn’t say anything about it, Nokia will continue to produce more of them.

So, onto the devices. All three of them are dual-sim devices (useful for constant travellers), all seem to be clad in a durable crystal plastic shell, and they come in a variety of colors. The most interesting advancements for the new devices is actually on the software front. These new Ashas will come with Nokia’s new VoIP app, Nimbuzz messenger, which allows users to utilize cell data or WiFi to make domestic and international calls to cell phones and LAN lines. They also sport a newly redesigned user interface with one-swipe camera access, a one-touch share option, and a new FastLane screen that aggregates Facebook and Twitter updates, favorite contacts, new apps, and calendar appointments on a single page.

New FastLane Screen

New FastLane Screen

There are some minor differences between the three models as they are separated by minor variations in price.

Asha 500:

  • 2.8 inch screen @ 320 x 240 resolution
  • 2 MP camera w/ f/2.8 apature
  • No flash
  • 2G radio only
  • Red, black, white, green, cyan color options
  • $69.99 off contract price

Asha 502:

  • 3 inch screen @ 320 x 240 resolution
  • 5 MP camera w/ f/2.4 apature
  • LED Flash
  • 2G radio only
  • Red, black, white, green, cyan color options
  • $89.99 off-contract price

Asha 503:

  • 3 inch screen @ 320 x 240 resolution
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 2
  • Glance screen & double tap to wake
  • 5 MP camera w/ f/2.4 aperature
  • LED Flash
  • 3G and 2G radios
  • Red, black, white, green, cyan color options
  • $99.99 off-contract price
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