Microsoft Thinks It’s Fair to Call Nokia Lumia 800 ‘First Real Windows Phone’ [Gallery]

Microsoft has backed a claim by Nokia that its new Lumia 800 smartphone is “the first real Windows Phone”, in a move that could up strain relations with other manufactures such as HTC and Samsung.

  •  In an update delivered later this year, Nokia Lumia users will also gain the ability to create personalized channels from a global catalogue of millions of tracks. Also integrated in Nokia Music is Gigfinder, providing the ability to search for live local music for a complete end-to-end music experience, as well as the ability to share discoveries on social networks and buy concert tickets also coming in the Nokia Music software update delivered later this year. Photo: Nokia In an update delivered later this year, Nokia Lumia users will also gain the ability to create personalized channels from a global catalogue of millions of tracks. Also integrated in Nokia Music is Gigfinder, providing the ability to search for live local music for a complete end-to-end music experience, as well as the ability to share discoveries on social networks and buy concert tickets also coming in the Nokia Music software update delivered later this year. Photo: Nokia
  • Both smartphones include signature Nokia experiences optimized for Windows Phone, including Nokia Drive, which delivers a full-fledged personal navigation device (PND) with free, turn-by-turn navigation and dedicated in-car-user-interface; and Nokia Music introducing MixRadio, a free, global, mobile music-streaming application that delivers hundreds of channels of locally-relevant music. Photo: NokiaBoth smartphones include signature Nokia experiences optimized for Windows Phone, including Nokia Drive, which delivers a full-fledged personal navigation device (PND) with free, turn-by-turn navigation and dedicated in-car-user-interface; and Nokia Music introducing MixRadio, a free, global, mobile music-streaming application that delivers hundreds of channels of locally-relevant music. Photo: Nokia
  • The Nokia Lumia 800 contains an instant-share camera experience based on leading Carl Zeiss optics, HD video playback, 16GB of internal user memory and 25GB of free SkyDrive storage for storing images and music. The estimated retail price for the Nokia Lumia 800 will be approximately 420 EUR, excluding taxes and subsidies. Photo: NokiaThe Nokia Lumia 800 contains an instant-share camera experience based on leading Carl Zeiss optics, HD video playback, 16GB of internal user memory and 25GB of free SkyDrive storage for storing images and music. The estimated retail price for the Nokia Lumia 800 will be approximately 420 EUR, excluding taxes and subsidies. Photo: Nokia
  • It features a 3.7 inch AMOLED ClearBlack curved display blending seamlessly into the reduced body design, and a 1.4 GHz processor with hardware acceleration and a graphics processor. Photo: NokiaIt features a 3.7 inch AMOLED ClearBlack curved display blending seamlessly into the reduced body design, and a 1.4 GHz processor with hardware acceleration and a graphics processor. Photo: Nokia
  • The stunningly social Nokia Lumia 800 features head-turning design, vivid colors (cyan, magenta and black) and the best social and Internet performance, with one-touch social network access, easy grouping of contacts, integrated communication threads and Internet Explorer 9. Photo: NokiaThe stunningly social Nokia Lumia 800 features head-turning design, vivid colors (cyan, magenta and black) and the best social and Internet performance, with one-touch social network access, easy grouping of contacts, integrated communication threads and Internet Explorer 9. Photo: Nokia
  • Yesterday, at Nokia World, the company's annual event for customers, partners and developers, Nokia demonstrated clear progress on its strategy by unveiling a bold portfolio of innovative phones, services and accessories, including the first smartphones in its Windows Phone-based Nokia Lumia range. Photo: NokiaYesterday, at Nokia World, the company's annual event for customers, partners and developers, Nokia demonstrated clear progress on its strategy by unveiling a bold portfolio of innovative phones, services and accessories, including the first smartphones in its Windows Phone-based Nokia Lumia range. Photo: Nokia

The comment yesterday by Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop was intended to disparage rival Windows Phone manufacturers. Nokia also hoped it the combative approach would demonstrate that the Finnish phone maker was not “in Microsoft’s pocket”.

Asked what he thought of the comment, however, Microsoft’s head of Windows Phone, Joe Belfiore, said that “when he said it I was very enthusiastic; it made me feel positive”.

“There’s lots of good pieces of hardware but what [Elop] meant, and what I thought of when he said it, was that this is about everything that supports the phones – the ad campaign, the connection to customer, a brand being really behind it,” Mr Belfiore added.

“I think what Nokia’s going to do is going to be quite different from what other manufacturers have done with Windows Phone. So from that perspective I think it’s fair. And I think it will capture for us and for customers a really different feel about the whole proposition.

“We needed hardware and ‘go to market’ – advertising, retail energy to fill that out. I think Nokia’s bringing that to the table. We have great software and we now have killer hardware and a company that’s going to support it.”

The difference in approach, Mr Belfiore argued, stemmed from Nokia’s different relationship to Microsoft. “Other handset vendors, in general, are looking, at us as part of a portfolio that focuses on Android; what Nokia is doing is very specific to Windows Phone,

Mr Belfiore singled out the HTC Titan for its “unique and interesting” approach, but said Nokia’s “hardware is a great fit for Windows Phone”. The Finnish firm has come “quite a long distance in aesthetically beautiful hardware, quality standards that are very high – it’s visually distinctive in a way that Windows Phone is distinctive”, he said.

Future evolutions of Windows Phone were likely to be more personalised, Mr Belfiore said. He compared the Microsoft platform to Google’s Android, and said his company’s product required less input from consumers. “Android is a very customisable platform, so if you’re a tinkerer it gives you lots of possibilities,” said Mr Belfiore.

“The flipside of that trade-off is you have to do quite a lot of work. What we’re trying to do is make our start screen and our tiles light up for you personally without you having to put in the work to customise it.”

For future products, Mr Belfiore said “We will do more of that, and the phone will also light up with the world around you too, with products that are sensitive to your location.”

But some analysts say it may be ‘too little, too late,’ for the world’s top mobile phone maker, hoping to claw back market share it has lost in the smartphone race to chief rivals, Apple, Samsung and Google.

With price tags of $560 and $360, the Lumia 800 and 710 are based on Microsoft’s operating system and come eight months after Nokia and the computing giant said they were hitching up.

“Lumia is reasonably good … but it’s not an iPhone killer or a Samsung killer,” Neil Mawston from Strategy Analytics said. “But where Nokia does stand out is on their price – it looks like they are going to be very competitive.”

Lumia 800, with Carl Zeiss optics and 16GB of internal memory, will be available in selected European countries in November, including France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and Britain.

It will be sold in Hong Kong, India, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan before the year-end. Lumia 710, with a 1.4 GHz processor, navigational applications and Nokia Music – a free, mobile music-streaming app – will first be available in Hong Kong, India, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan toward the end of the year.

The company’s share price jumped almost 3 per cent in an otherwise depressed market on the Helsinki Stock Exchange but settled, closing almost unchanged at ($6.68).

Nokia, which claims 1.3 billion daily users, has been the world’s biggest handset maker since 1998, selling 432 million devices last year – more than its three closest rivals combined.

But after reaching its announced global goal of 40 per cent market share in 2008, it has struggled against rivals making cheaper handsets in Asia, and its share has shrunk to 24 percent earlier this year.

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