We’re still not sold on Windows Phone, and at least some of that comes from the app tax that comes with moving to a new platform. As we’ve said before, every new app downloaded to a smartphone, no matter which platform, is one more reason to avoid switching to another platform.
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We’ve already paid that tax once, when we switched from iOS to Android (the tax isn’t just monetary, by the way, it also includes the time and effort of reinstalling free apps, too), so we’re reluctant to do so again. That said, we were interested to see the first Windows Phone devices from Nokia, and the company unveiled those on Thursday.
The Nokia Lumia 800 might look familiar, and it is. It’s basically an N9 (although it is, for some reason, missing the front-facing camera the N9 had which we have come to decide is de rigueur for new smartphones, if only to match others spec-for-spec). According to Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, it’s the “first real Windows Phone.”
We’re sure that prior Windows Phone OEMs Samsung, HTC, LG, etc. are all excited that Elop thinks that.
The device sports a single-core Qualcomm MSM8255 1.4 GHz Scorpion (Snapdragon) processor, 16GB of internal storage and 512MB of RAM. It has an 8MP rear-facing camera which also captures 720p video, but as we said, no front-facing camera.
It is a quad-band GSM device with 14.4Mbps HSDPA speeds. The battery is 1450mAh, which Nokia claims can supply about 9.5 hours of 3G talk time.
The screen is a 3.7-inch curved ClearBlack AMOLED 800 x 400 screen with either a black, cyan or magenta case (12.1mm thick, by the way). The Lumia 800 also comes with a free 25GB of Microsoft SkyDrive storage to get you started in the cloud.
Software-wise, users get Nokia Drive, which is a free turn-by-turn voice navigation program (the first for any Windows Phone), as well as Nokia Music with Mix Radio, which is a global music service sans subscriptions or log-ins, which the company says will deliver “hundreds of channels of locally-relevant music.” Users will also find ESPN Sports Hub. Nokia notes that those three programs can’t be found on any other Windows Phone device.
Once again, we’re sure Microsoft’s other partners are jumping for joy at that news.
The Nokia Lumia 800 will be available in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and United Kingdom in November. Pricing is expected to be about 420 euros ($585 U.S., we assume unsubsidized). Pre-orders are available now through Nokia’s Web site.
Nokia also introduced the Lumia 710, which is more of a mid-range device. It has the same 1.4GHz processor and 3.7-inch ClearBack AMOLED touch screen as the 800 and will also come with the aforementioned apps.
Pricing for that device will be 270 euros ($376 U.S.). It only has 8GB of internal memory, and only comes with a 5MP camera. The Lumia 710 be less colorful than the 800 (black or white), but users will have the option of customizing the device with replaceable back covers.
The Lumia 710 is expected to ship in Russia, Taiwan, India, Hong Kong, and Singapore later this year, with more markets coming in the first half of 2012.
We’re pretty unimpressed. The hardware specs don’t blow us away with 720p for their flagship device, and no front-facing camera. In addition, the device only sports a single-core processor, though we will freely admit that we’re unsure how “efficient” Windows phone is in terms of operation; perhaps the device will be snappy nonetheless. There’s also that app tax to pay.
To be honest, the specs for the high-end Lumia 800 are no better than mid-range in terms of an Android device, and pale in terms of the iPhone 4 and 4S, too.
We’ll admit to being an Android fan(atic) with its better integration with Google services, too, but even trying to maintain the neutrality we should, we just can’t be excited.
However, we will eventually get these into our hands, and we’ll see how we feel about it then.
You can view some Nokia Windows Phone videos in the sidebar.