By Alexandra Burlacu | Sep 07, 2012 09:16 AM EDT
Nokia unveiled its brand new Windows Phone 8 smartphones, Lumia 920 and Lumia 820, on Sept. 5, marking "an important milestone" in Microsoft's 18-month partnership with Nokia, according to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The unveiling focused on the Lumia 920's superior PureView camera, its augmented-reality map and driving features, and its built-in wireless charging capability.
"Windows Phone is unlike any other on the market," said Ballmer. "You really see it in the 820 and 920."
Nokia's new flagship smartphone, the Lumia 920, sports a 4.5-inch display with a 1280 x 768 resolution, a dual-core processor, wireless charging, an 8.7-megapixel camera with PureView technology, and a slew of other exciting features. The handset will be available in colors: yellow, red, or gray. The Lumia 820 will come in these three colors and purple as well.
"This is the most innovative smartphone in the world," Jo Harlow, executive VP of Nokia smart devices, said in a Webcast for the event. "This is Lumia, and it's time to switch," she added, holding up the yellow smartphone.
A Nokia spokeswoman said the two Windows Phone 8 handsets will be available globally "later this year," but gave no pricing details. The Lumia 920 flagship is expected to have competitive pricing to challenge the high end of the smartphone market, while the Lumia 820 is expected to come as a powerful smartphone for the more budget-conscious.
Once an undisputed king, Nokia has been falling behind competitors and struggling to keep its head above the water. The two new Windows Phone 8 devices are crucial for the company's comeback and aim to prove that Nokia can come up with viable competitors to Apple's iPhone and the slew of Android smartphones.
CityLens, the augmented reality feature, is one of the most-touted features of the new smartphone. With CityLens, a user can simply hold the phone up to a city street and names of restaurants and stores will appear on the display, hovering over images of the buildings.
Meanwhile, the Lumia 920 smartphone also offers built-in wireless charging (the 820 will have a snap-on back cover for wireless charging), which means users can charge the device by laying it on a charging pad. The charging process is done through inductive charging principles based on the Qi wireless charging interoperability standard. The wireless charging component will, however, cost extra.
When it comes to processors, Nokia's decision to pack just dual-core chips seems a bit odd, considering that Samsung's Galaxy S3 packs a quad-core processor, and Apple's next-generation iPhone will likely pack the same. On the other hand, the phones' dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor is reportedly 30 percent more battery-efficient than a quad-core processor.
The Nokia Lumia 920 also sports a PureView camera with PureMotion HD+, designed to reduce blur by capturing more light (roughly 10 times more light than any other smartphone). Nokia's PureView technology made its debut on the Nokia 808 PureView, which came with a whopping 41-megapixel camera. The Lumia 920's PureView, however, is an 8-megapixel camera with an improved lens that can capture more light.
According to Joe Belfiore, Microsoft's corporate vice president for Windows Phone, Windows 8 will offer screen-capture technology for the first time, allowing users to take advantage of 100,000 Windows Phone apps.
Nokia posted more specifications for the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 Windows Phone 8 smartphones on its Web site, but did not provide pricing details or an exact launch date.
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