Nokia Lumia 900 coming to the US

Nokia Lumia 900

If you’re not a gadget freak you maybe haven’t noticed that the biggest consumer electronics fair is currently happening in Las Vegas. Yes it is CES 2012. And although it is opening for regular folks just today many of the keynotes have already been held in front of rooms full of journalists. Nokia’s appearance was pretty brief (only 30 minutes plus Q&A) and revolved around just one thing.

The Nokia Lumia 900

If you’ve seen the Lumia 800 before the 900 will look very familiar, almost indistinguishable at first sight. But that definitely isn’t a bad thing. As part of the Lumia family it is a Windows Phone 7 system, which is great if you ask me as fresh Lumia 800 owner.

If Nokia’s naming scheme is similar to their more current Symbian phones then the 900 is the flagship model with the 800 positioned below it. But I don’t know if it is so easy to categorize in this case. The most specs are very similar and the ones that are not I would say are more of the differentiation kind, not necessarily better.

Right now the 900 is specifically made to target the North American market because it uses LTE, the next generation network technology not yet (broadly) available in Europe. Its larger display maybe is also targeted towards US-customers (?) or it was just a neat way to make room for the spatial needs of LTE and the larger battery (1830 mAh vs. 1450 mAh).

LTE

Just a short sidetrack about LTE. It is the successor of todays so called 3G networks (UMTS and its extensions HSDPA/HSUPA) and in the current form already allows for download rates of about 100 MBit/s so in the ballpark of current high speed wired connections.

Strangly enough the USA is far ahead of Europe with this wireless network generation. Two major carriers (AT&T and Verizon) have already launched, where Europe is mostly looking at some very limited tests at best. This is weird because the US have historically been pretty bad at wireless network coverage and speeds. They are pushing forward with this one though.

Current LTE Phones are said to be battery-hogs, even more so than their 3G smartphone counterparts. And the radios seem to be larger as well. That’s why Nokia might have decided to make the phone bigger, so they don’t have to make it thicker.

800 vs. 900

In summary the most important differences between the two sister models are

  • a 4.3-inch display vs. the 3.7-inch on the Lumia 800,
  • a 1-megapixel front-facing camera for video calling,
  • and the 4G LTE Radios.

To me that leaves one big

Open Question

Will there be a GSM version?

LTE is one of the main differentiators to the Lumia 800 so I don’t know if it makes sense to release a GSM version. In the US both phones will be available, but with different radios. For Europe to get the 900 it would need to be GSM and then I don’t think that would make much sense. Just for the larger display and the front-facing camera.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

Nokia Lumia 800 - A shell worthy of Windows Phone 7

Nokia Lumia 800

I think it’s safe to say that this will be my next phone. I mean just look at it. It looks gorgeous!

Now let me go back some time to explain why I think this is such a great phone. In February 2010 Microsoft announced Windows Phone 7, its first ‘real’ smartphone operating system to compete with the likes of iOS and Android. And it was a leapfrog step from the ancient Windows Mobile. It was elegant, fluid and even more devoted to simplicity in UI Design than Apple. It was a miracle. The integral parts of the OS’s design are plain squares, the use of beautiful typography and super smooth meaningful animations - everything comes from and goes somewhere. If you haven’t already you should watch the beauty in action.

In February 2011, so exactly one year later, Nokia decided to completely restart its smartphone strategy: Switching from Nokia’s own Symbian Series to Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 for all its smartphones. This of course wasn’t an easy decision and many people where unhappy with it. But it was a fact that Nokia was loosing in smartphones and had a hard time to come up with something to fight back. I kind of liked the idea of Microsoft and Nokia working together from the get go, though I can’t say I wasn’t a little bit sceptic too. Here’s what I tweeted then.

Nokia Lumia 800

Coming back to today my skepticism is gone. WP7 has recently received a major software update - called ‘Mango’ or 7.5 - which gets rid of almost all shortcomings that WP7 had. And on Wednesday Nokia remedied the second problem of the platform: A lack of really exciting hardware. Up until now all WP7 devices were kind of boring, or just not very interesting in any special way. But this: This is the full package. I also feel that Nokia still has a very strong brand presence - at least here in Europe. When I think of Nokia phones I associate things like good build-quality and beautiful Industrial Design. Now that it’s here I also have this feeling that I always wanted Nokia to succeed in the smartphone game. Maybe it’s because they are a European company, or at least that is part of it. Mostly though Nokia is just a brand I kind of like (congrats marketing people, you’ve done a good job putting that into my subconsciousness).

I could go on for some time I guess, talking about the phone’s design origin - the Nokia N9 - or about its WP7 sister model Lumia 710. I’ll leave that and some more background information to the great guys and galls of The Verge in the ‘Further Reading’ section.

One more thing: I just happened to stumble over a booth Nokia has at Berlin’s main train station where I could play with it. It feels extremely well made and solid. The design is even better when you’re actually holding it. It’s supposed to be available in Germany on November 15th for 499 € off contract. For the Lumia 710 it will be 320 €.

Further Reading