Nokia launched Windows Phone-8 based devices on Thursday in New York. At the launch event for Lumia 820 and 920, it was clear that Nokia was playing to its core strengths in services, with Nokia Maps, Nokia Transport and Nokia Drive all upgraded with new features for the two devices.
While companies such as Samsung differentiate through the use of things like voice commands (S Voice), Nokia has chosen to improve the core experience of Windows Phone 8, which seems a more sound use of development time than adding additional but somewhat limited features.
Given that both of the new devices have essentially the same feature set, the buyer’s choice will likely be made on pricing, which hasn’t yet been announced. And launching the handsets with almost the same feature set also means Nokia retains a consistency of user experience across the range – a boon for those who want the full-fat smartphone experience without the full-fat price tag.
Similar feature sets with differing price tags will also help the Lumias win hearts and minds in the enterprise: lower price-point handsets can be rolled out to the masses, while higher-end devices are given to the execs – yet both user bases will be able to use near-identical apps and features. Of course, the Windows Phone 8 operating system is a platform likely to appeal IT departments, both in terms of playing to those companies that are Microsoft shops as well as easing support concerns for firms that have gone down the BYOD route.
The other area of development in Nokia’s favour is the growth of the Windows Phone Market, which has gone from around 7,000 apps at launch to more than 100,000 now. While that’s nowhere near the scale of the Android or iOS app stores, it does show a shift in developer support for the Microsoft platform, which is crucial to the success of Nokia.