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Nokia's new phones: a Windows win?



After months of speculation they're finally here: Nokia's first Windows Phone smartphones will go on sale on the 16th of November. The Lumia 800 isn't just a smartphone, though. It's the first shot in a new technology battle. Fed up with Apple and Android getting all the attention, Nokia and Microsoft want to be the Phone Kings once again.


Mobile phones have changed dramatically in a very short space of time. Smartphones used to mean Windows Mobile devices, or possibly Blackberries; when Google initially designed its Android system, it looked awfully like a combination of Windows Mobile and the Blackberry OS. Then Apple came along. Its 2007 iPhone reinvented the smartphone, and most of today's devices have clearly been influenced by Apple's wonder gadget.


Microsoft didn't see it coming, but it soon realised that Windows Mobile's time was up. It dumped the ageing operating system and got its best people to design a new one. The result, Windows Phone, was brilliant, and its current version - 7.5, aka "Mango" - is a joy to use, with a drop-dead-gorgeous interface called "Metro" and great integration with entertainment services, social networks and even Xbox Live. Where other mobile OSes are essentially Apple-lite, Windows Phone thinks different.


There were just two problems. One, there weren't any Windows Phone devices with the all-important wow factor. And two, the firms who made Windows Phone devices also made Android ones, and they spent their marketing money on the latter. The Microsoft/Nokia partnership will change that by making must-have kit and making sure everybody knows about it.


So is the Lumia 800 any good? Early reviews say yes. The 3.7-inch screen is gently curved and its OLED display looks the business, delivering crisp colours and deep blacks even in bright sunlight, while the 8-megapixel camera, speedy processor and reasonable storage mean the Lumia's competitive with its rivals. Customers also get 25GB of free online storage courtesy of Microsoft's SkyDrive, Nokia Drive sat-nav software, the Nokia Music streaming audio service and, for sports fans, an ESPN application. The camera's the real selling point here, though: the combination of dual-LED flash and Carl Zeiss optics means you can leave your point and shoot camera at home.


It's good, then, but is it good enough? While Nokia and Microsoft tinkered away in their labs, Apple, Android and Blackberries were taking over the world. Android now has 50% of the UK smartphone market, with the majority of the remainder shared between Apple (18.5%) and RIM's BlackBerry (22.5%). If this were a race, Apple, Android and RIM would be nearing the finishing line while Microsoft and Nokia were still putting their running shoes on.


This isn't a sprint, though. It's a marathon. Microsoft is chucking enormous amounts of cash into the Nokia deal and associated marketing, and the Lumia 800 is just the first of many Windows Phone devices from the company. A more affordable Lumia is already on the horizon - the Lumia 710, which will arrive in early 2012 - and there will be stacks more over the coming year.


There will be new software too. Windows Phone's next version, Apollo, is expected to arrive when Windows 8 does - and Windows 8's new look, which is directly inspired by Windows Phone, will introduce millions to the joys of the Metro interface. That in turn could help drive sales of Windows Phones.


Rivals haven't stopped moving, though. Apple's just shipped iOS 5 and the iPhone 4S, and we'll no doubt see the iPhone 5 next year; Android's latest version, Ice Cream Sandwich, is starting to appear on phones as Android manufacturers become ever more competitive; and Blackberry's now shipping phones with its new Blackberry OS 7. The challenge for Microsoft and Nokia isn't just to match what rivals are doing today, but to anticipate and beat what they'll be doing this time next year, for now though we are happy there is finally another operating system backed with the hardware that really has the credentials to compete with Android and Apple.




Nokia have a loooong way to go... there last really good phone was the N95/N95 8GB... before that 3310... u see the patern?

But are the new Nokia phones enough to get GiffGaff to support MMS configuration for Windows Phone? I've been using an LG Optimus 7 for over a year now - and GiffGaff still haven't updated the "text settings to 2020" service to cope with Windows Phone - and since you can't manually set the MMS gateway info on these phones I haven't had working MMS for over a year Smiley Sad

the 2020 settings txt doesn't work with android either and they are more popular on giffgaff, yet giffgaff havnt bothered to sort that out... I wouldn't hold your breathe

Nokia misread teh market sooo badly it just shows you can be leaders of the pack but when you take your eye off the ball there is always someone there to step in.


Nokia has always build solid units but remain to be convinced they are willing to be innovative enough to challenge with Apple, HTC etc but they do have their fans so who knows ?

I used to be a massive fanboy of Nokia... I always loved their handsets and stuck by them... their biggest downfall was sticking with symbian... or atleast not advancing it with current times...

Agree with many of the comments above.


Will be fascinating how things will play out, definitely think Nokia/Windows now have the credentials to compete, although its been a long time coming, both companies are similar, they both took their eye of the ball allowing competitors to gain market share.


Nokia were dominant, Windows had a huge base (still have) from Desktop usage but just havent made the transition to mobile a good experience for users. Feedback on their Windows 8 O/S has been very good too, expect them to regain some gound in Tablets and Mobile next year.


I agree with most of the comments above, but cant forget the feeling of being badly let down by nokia in the past. I have had 3310, 6680 and n95 (both flavours). The first two were excellent phones, did the job well and are still both working fine. The n95's were different however and had a weakness in the screen. The repair centre at the time my first n95 broke told me this as they were getting hundreds back. I still don't trust nokia.


Over the years I've used windows OS's from "windows for workgroups 3.1" right up to "windows 7" and with each one people have moaned about them all, personally I haven't had much problem with any of them. I currently use vista and windows 7 and still have no problem with either.


I have I sony ericsson satio, which I would just like to forget about!!


Have bought a samsung galaxy s11, my first android phone and after 2 months use, I love it. It was a choice between galaxy and iphone and I think I made the right choice.


It was an new buy from ebay and was locked to orange. I unlocked it using the service found on giffgaff with no problems, put in a giffgaff sim on a goodybag and is the best phone ever.


If nokia and windows think they can beat that then good luck to them, cos we are about to get a phone that can walk the dog and do the ironing!


Nokia's Symbian grew out of the Psion Revo and Psion 5 operating systems and was fundamentally a top mobile OS. Nokia just messed it up over the years. It could be way out ahead now if it had the right support over the last 10 years. 


The Mango 7.5 Windows Phone is really quite good and an alternative to the current 2 leaders. Problem is that it is Microsfot and it is Windows. People associate that with the boring old office computer and it's just not cool. 


intresting, i realy want a windows phone!
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