In 2012 we have seen smartphone technology progressing in to a market that is increasingly dominated by huge displays and dual and quad-core processors. In the early part of the year, Nokia released two new phones in the flagship Lumia range: the 800 and the 900. These phones were the Finnish multinational telecommunications company’s latest attempt to make a mark in the competitive and crowded smartphone market. Unfortunately, while both phones were solid and performed well, a single core processor and the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango operating system was not spectacular enough to compete with what Samsung and HTC were bringing to the market with the Galaxy S3 and One X respectively, or the incredibly popular iPhone 4S. Likewise, Windows Phone devices put out by Samsung and HTC were nothing more than half-hearted attempts to rival the Nokia devices.
Windows Phone 8 Operating System
Fast forward to August this year, and the first showing of the Windows Phone 8 operating system, on the all-new Samsung Galaxy Ativ S. This was quickly followed in September when Nokia unveiled their latest additions to the Lumia range – the 920 and 820 – both running the new Windows OS. All of a sudden Windows Phone has a line-up that looks like it can really compete with Android and iOS. The question is: are the phones good enough to take a significant market share from the all-conquering Android and iOS which has now added the iPhone 5 to its range?
The first thing consumers will look for when considering a new smartphone is the specs. As the Windows Phone OS has failed to excite in the past, good hardware will be more important than ever for the range of WP8 phones. Top notch hardware is something Samsung always brings to the table; thankfully, Nokia have also raised their game.
Let’s take a look at the specs of each phone:
Samsung Galaxy Ativ S
- 137.2 x 70.5 x 8.7 mm and 135 grams
- 4.8 inch Super AMOLED 720 x 1280 pixel display (306 ppi pixel density)
- Qualcomm Snapdragon Dual-core 1.5GHz Krait processor
- 8-MP LED Flash 1080p@30fps primary camera and 1.9-MP secondary camera
- 1GB RAM
- 16/32GB internal storage and microSD card slot (up to 32GB)
- 2300mAh Li-Ion battery
Nokia Lumia 920
The Nokia Lumia 920 specification.
- 130.3 x 70.8 x 10.7 mm and 185 grams
- 4.5 inch IPS TFT PureMotion HD 768 x 1280 pixel display (332 ppi pixel density)
- Qualcomm Snapdragon Dual-core 1.5GHz Krait processor
- 8.7-MP dual LED Carl Zeiss optics 1080p@30fps primary camera with Pureview technology. 1.3-MP secondary camera
- 1GB RAM
- 32GB internal storage
- 2000mAh Li-Ion battery
The Nokia Lumia 820 is essentially just a smaller version of the Lumia 920, with a couple of differences. The 820 comes with a smaller 4.3 inch AMOLED 480 x 800 pixel display giving 217 ppi, and a slightly lesser 8-MP Carl Zeiss Tessar lens primary camera and VGA secondary camera. At 9.9mm and 160 grams it is also thinner and lighter than the 920.
It is clear to see from these specs that these phones have everything needed to compete at the top of the market. Both Lumia’s and the Galaxy Ativ S have the processors needed to make multitasking easy and the quality display’s to meet the ever-increasing demands of HD hungry consumers. The Ativ S comes with exactly the same display used on the Samsung Galaxy S3 – the Korean company’s flagship phone and the one currently sitting at the top of the market. At 332 pixels per inch, the Lumia 920 not only betters the Galaxy S3 but also the new iPhone 5.
For the Windows Phone 8 phones to compete with Android and iOS they must look at good as they perform. Nokia showed that they know how to design a good looking phone when they released the Lumia 900 and Lumia 800 Windows Phone 7.5 handsets; the new additions to the Lumia range are no different.
While the 920 is not as light or as thin as some of the top handsets on the market, there is no doubting that it is one of the most aesthetically pleasing phones on the market with its polycarbonate unibody build and range of bright colours.
The Samsung Galaxy Ativ S is also a decent phone to look at; seriously slim and with a tapered bezel, giving the lightweight phone excellent balance. The Ativ S and the Lumia’s will have no problem competing on looks.
Windows Phone 8
As good as the new range of Window Phones are on hardware and looks, the defining factor on whether they are able to rival iOS and Android will come down to the operating system. Windows Phone 7 wasn’t a bad OS, but lacked the range of features, app store and exposure of the two market leaders.
The first improvement Windows Phone 8 has over its predecessor is multi-processor support, meaning we can now expect much better apps to appear in the Marketplace. The excellent metro-tiles have been kept on for WP8, but are now customisable. This will provide users the opportunity to change the size of the tiles as they wish. We will also see the brand new Internet Explorer 10 featuring on all Windows Phone 8 handsets.
This is the fastest mobile browser to date and is loaded with excellent features.
With WP8, Microsoft has developed an operating system that is as good as either Android or iOS and both Nokia and Samsung will skim over the OS with their own UIs giving consumers a straight choice between which companies apps they prefer. Nokia Maps and Nokia music have both been improved. Each Windows Phone also comes with NFC (Near Field Communication) technology (something the iPhone 5 does not have) and SkyDrive to keep all apps and files synced with tablets and computers.
The Lumia 920 and 820 will bring something to the table that no other phone currently has: wireless charging. This gives users the opportunity to charge a phone simply by placing it on a power pad – no plug in required.
So do the new WP8 phones have what it takes to compete with what Android and iOS bring to the party? The simple answer is yes. With the Lumia 920, Nokia has delivered their best smartphone to date and one that rivals any other phone on the market in every department. The lesser Lumia 820 will also prove excellent competition for all Android phones in the mid-range. Samsung has also put a lot into the Galaxy Ativ S, producing a handset that is almost as good as the Galaxy S3. With the right exposure and a good marketing campaign, Windows Phone 8 devices have a very good chance at grabbing significant market share.