Today, Nokia made an important step in its evolution as a mobile phone maker by making official its first two handsets that will arrive on shelves with Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system on board, namely the Nokia Lumia 800 and the Nokia Lumia 710.
Both running under the Windows Phone Mango OS flavor, these devices are expected to mark the beginning of an ascending trend for both Nokia and the mobile OS.
The anticipation for Nokia's Windows Phones was great, fueled by various leaks and rumors, which culminated with the availability of press photos and specs of these two devices even before they were brought to stage at Nokia World.
However, both these handsets seem aimed mainly at the mid-level market, and are not the high-end, astonishing superphones that many were waiting for, not to mention that they will be pushed only to a handful of markets in 2011, which might actually prove disappointing for enthusiasts.
In all fairness, Nokia did say that it would bring even more appealing devices to shelves next year, and that it would also kick off mass production, which means expanded availability, both for these devices, as well as for other, yet-unannounced Windows Phones.
According to Nokia, its Lumia series of devices marks the availability of “the first true Windows Phones” out there.
These two devices, and the many more to follow, bring along a true Windows Phone experience, complemented by the availability of specific applications and services for those who will choose to purchase a new Nokia smartphone. Nokia Lumia 800
builds on the same design as the MeeGo-powered Nokia N9, though it sports a smaller 3.7'' screen, mainly due to the inclusion of three touch buttons on the front. The Lumia 710 sports about the same features and capabilities as the first Nokia Windows Phone, but in a cheaper package.
When it comes to hardware specs, these phones pack what can be found in most Windows Phones today.
The 3.7-inch screen is complemented by a 1.4GHz application processor, which has at its disposal 512MB of RAM for delivering increased performance capabilities.
Nokia's Lumia phones also arrive on shelves with 8MP and 5MP cameras on the back, respectively, as well as with 16GB and 8GB of internal memory. Also, Nokia Lumia 800 packs a larger battery when compared to Lumia 710
The rest of the specs for these two handsets are about the same, including the applications and services that the two come to the market with right from the start.
Apparently, Nokia will stress a lot on the services that its Windows Phones rely on when it comes to differentiate them from other devices, though their design will also make them stand up in the crowd.
Nokia's Windows Phones will arrive on shelves with Nokia Drive, a new navigation application and service, along with Nokia Music, which sports the MixRadio music-streaming services, and with fast access to social networking, email and Internet browsing.
Since both smartphones are based on already existing hardware from the company, the 'wow' factor that users were expecting is somehow diminished, but that does not mean that the two phones won't be successful, especially if available as part of the right offering.
The prices for these two phones is within the expected range, with Lumia 800 priced at 420 EUR (around $585) and Lumia 710
going for around 270 EUR ($375), which makes them fairly competitive.
Nokia's Windows Phones are meant to revive both the company and Microsoft's mobile operating system, and Lumia 800 and Lumia 710 are meant to prove the first steps Nokia takes in this direction.
However, to ensure fast adoption, Nokia will have to make its Windows Phone devices available at even lower price tags, so as to better compete against Android. It will also have to launch cheaper devices for the lower-end of the market.
The entry-level and mid-tier market are not the only areas on which Nokia needs to focus with its Windows Phone devices, that's for sure.
At the high-end level, Android and the iPhone are kings at the moment, and Nokia will have to bring to shelves smartphones that will include that 'wow' factor meant to ensure their success. And it needs to make this move fast, for some already consider the Finnish giant as irrelevant.
Soon after these Nokia phones
went official, with price tags and all, one of my colleagues asked me whether I'm confident in Nokia's ability to regain market share in the smartphone area or not. After all, analysts are confident in Nokia's power to regain its foothold.
Undoubtedly, it's still too soon to say a definite “yes” but, helped by Microsoft and by a strong portfolio of devices that should make a debut in early 2012, Nokia does have a chance against Android and other competitors.
During the past eight months, the company promised great Windows Phone devices, and the two smartphones unveiled today should be only the first in a far more appealing series.
We've seen a lot of changes in Nokia's strategy lately, with handsets arriving on shelves much faster than before, and with more enhanced and better priced smartphones launched in the past several months when compared to some of the previous devices in the company's portfolio.
Hopefully, they will continue on the same road, and the future series of Windows Phone smartphones
will manage to impress users right from day one. After all, Nokia does need to launch such devices, one should agree.