As I boarded my flight, I was struck by how melancholy my purpose and destination was. I was flying down to Abu Dhabi to be part of Nokia World, the company’s biggest event that showcases all its new devices and its road to the future. My original plan was not to go for this event as my life back in India was going through one of those ‘living in hell and no time to breathe’ schedules. Yet, even with a workload like that, here I was. There was only one reason to take such a profound decision. This may well be the last ever Nokia World on this planet. I had to be there to be part of the swan song. And what a swan song it was!
Nokia’s First Windows tablet – Lumia 2520
Bright colours, unibody design, thinner edges, better grip, a 10.1-inch HD display you can actually read in bright sunlight, comes standard with 4G LTE and WiFi and more importantly has a 6.7MP camera with Zeiss optics and a seriously good Qualcomm processor. The Video Director and Storyteller apps are very cool and easy to use as is the addition of two USB ports. But the standout feature is the battery life and charging time. It will give about 15 hours of battery life with the wraparound keyboard, and will charge to 80 per cent in less than an hour. It’s also priced well at $449. Quick Verdict: Nokia gets everything right, tick marks all that you need, then adds even more and then missteps with the screen size. Big 10.1-inch screen tablets aren’t the ‘hot’ category anymore. People are happier with 7.7 to 8.2 inches. Still, this is one of the best Tablets and one that may just get enough traction to spawn off a whole new line up.
Nokia’s first Phablets – Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1320
Nokia gets into the Phablet world with two 6-inch devices. The big screen helps to bring in a third row of tiles and gives you much better screen real estate to use Microsoft Office. The 1520 has a 20.7MP PureView camera with almost all the optical trickery of the 1020. Videos even have the advantage of four mics placed to capture directional sound. It’s priced rather high at about $700.
The Lumia 1320 is the brighter and younger sibling of the 1520. With a 6-inch 720p display and lower camera optics, this is basically a large screen phone for a younger consumer at a much better price point; and will be available in orange, yellow, white, and black. Pricing will be around $339.
Quick Verdict: I’ve always maintained that Windows on a phone screams for a bigger screen to really show off its real capabilities. We have them now. The 1520 is a stunning piece of hardware and features marred by its price. The 1320 gets it all completely right and I expect this to be the phone to take Lumia to a whole new level.
Three new Hopes for Nokia – The Asha 500, Asha 502 and Asha 503
Take the bright colours of Asha and encase them in a fusion of ice and glass. That’s the first impression you get when you hold the new crystal-like Asha phones. Each has the new swipe function, each will now come with a new and very customisable version of Fastlane. Think of it like a second home screen for quick access to frequently used apps and social networks. The two killer USPs are that each will now have WhatsApp and will come in bright red, bright green, yellow, cyan, white and black.
The Asha 503 is the first 3G Asha phone and has a 5.0MP camera, dual SIM options, a 3-inch screen and Corning Gorilla Glass 2. The price will be about $99.
The Asha 502 also has a 3-inch screen but no Gorilla Glass. It still has a 5.0MP camera with LED flash and dual SIM options and will be about $10 less than the 503.
The Asha 500 makes up the lower end of the new threesome. It has a 2.8-inch screen, a 2.0MP camera, single SIM and dual SIM variants, and will come in at a price of about $69.
Asha is both the lifeline and bread-and-butter line-up for Nokia. They’ve got it right again, have refined what a feature phone can do and enhanced the capabilities and the looks. These three will sell very well in India. That then was the line-up of six that may well define the last ever Nokia World. Six devices built around an ecosystem that makes it obvious that Windows and Lumia are going to get stronger, better, sell more and finally become a true contender in the OS and device war. I’m just surprised and very suspicious that all these great new products and announcements are all coming after the Microsoft-Nokia deal! Call me a conspiracy theory specialist, but all this great news and activity makes me even more certain of my Nokia Trojan horse theory.
That was a great Nokia World, pity it may well be the last.
Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3
From HT Brunch, October 27
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