Nokia + Microsoft = Win?

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Nokia + Microsoft = Win?
In February of 2011, Nokia and Microsoft announced their new partnership which would have Nokia start using the latter's Windows Phone platform for its smartphones. More than a year has passed since then, and we've been introduced to a number of Nokia WP devices, some of which have already reached the market.

Just recently, at MWC 2012, Nokia also announced its first true budget Windows-powered offering – the Lumia 610, and with that, its Lumia line-up finally started to take shape. Now, we all know in what unfavorable situation Nokia has found itself, so it doesn't take a genius to know that the success of these Lumia phones would be of vital importance for the future of the company.

Until now, information about actual sales numbers has been relatively scarce – some say they have been disappointing, while Nokia mostly insists that it has had a great success, as always.

But even if these early Nokia Windows Phones aren't a tremendous success, does it mean that the company is doomed? And what about Microsoft? If it fails to popularize Windows Phone – would it mean that all hope for a foothold on the mobile market is lost? Well, we think we have the answers to most of these questions in the lines below, but before we get to answering them, we'd rather first take a good look at the production these companies are outing today (or in the following months). Observing what we have now can give us a pretty good understanding of the capabilities of the Redmond-Espoo partnership, and may even allow us to make a few predictions about the development of the mobile market in the coming years.

The powerhouse: Lumia 900

The Lumia 900 is Nokia's high-profile smartphone solution for the U.S. (although it will also come to Europe as well), where it's soon going to face some very tough competition from the monstrous Android phones and, of course, the iPhone. Hardware-wise, we should admit that the Lumia 900 has everything that its competitors have, save for a multi-core processor. Although this might not involve so much real-life benefits for the iPhone 4S and the dual-core Android pack right now, we know that specs are significant factor in the decision-forming process for many consumers. So regardless of whether there's much practical benefit in having a multi-core processor or not, we believe Nokia should try harder in order to get that tech in its phones.

Other than that, as we said, the Lumia 900 seems to have everything to be competitive with the other top dogs, considering its large 4.3” screen, 8MP camera with F2.2 aperture, large storage capacity and so on.

The initiator: Lumia 800

In Europe, Nokia's flagship smartphone is the Lumia 800. It's slightly more mainstream, due to its 3.7” screen. However, it's still very well packed with features and has that same beautiful characteristic Nokia design. The trouble here is similar – even though the phone has a fast, 1.4 GHz processor, it still relies on just one core, which might make it seem a tad less future-proof compared to the hi-end competition flourishing on other platforms. Still, we really can't find any other downfalls with this phone's specifications. We gave it a good, but not great rate – 7.5, due to a couple of issues, but as far as we can see, users who have bought the phone are enjoying it a lot.

The deal: Lumia 710

The Lumia 710 is the Lumia device that should probably sell the highest amount of units, considering its more affordable, but still capable nature. So, what do we have here? This handset actually doesn't have that new characteristic Nokia look, but rather sticks to a more conventional design. That's not to say the phone looks bad, though, and when you factor in its more than decent hardware and aggressive pricing, it becomes evident that the Lumia 710 is a great deal, compared to most of the competition. Yeah, you can get some Android models at this kind of price too, but most of those will be low- to mid-rangers, and a mid-range Android phone certainly doesn't perform like a mid-range Windows Phone. With that said, we shouldn't forget that performance is not everything, but we'll talk about this in a second.

The budget solution: Lumia 610

Since Nokia wanted to produce an even more affordable Windows Phone, it worked with Microsoft in order to lower the minimum requirements of the system. The result is the Lumia 610 – a WP device powered by an 800 MHz single-core Qualcomm processor and 256 MB RAM. Now, before some of you put the imaginary stigma on the handset, let us tell you that we played with it at MWC and found it to behave just as smoothly as any other Windows Phone out there. We're not sure if this will stay true with heavy 3D games, for example, but this isn't the primary function of a smartphone anyway. The fact of the matter is that now Nokia will have a Windows Phone that can rival to masses of low-end Android handsets, which are selling like hot cakes these days. It probably won't be as cheap as the cheapest Androids, but it will compensate with a superior user experience.

App ecosystem

OK, by taking a close looks at the Lumia line-up, we came to the conclusion that it has all the needed hardware in order to rival the current cream of the crop. But what about software? A smartphone is only as good as the applications that can run on it. Currently, there are over 70,000 apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace, which is a pretty decent selection. However, it's still tiny compared to the App Store's over 500,000, and Android Market's Google Play's over 320,000 titles. 70,000 is still a good place to be, though, and by the looks of it, Microsoft and Nokia are doing quite a lot of work in order to popularize the store among developers. About 300 new apps are being added each day, and we can imagine that in case Windows Phone finally gains some real traction, developer interest will only be getting stronger.

Meanwhile, Nokia has made sure to cook up some nice software offerings for the users of its phones, just to make them a bit more attractive than the competition. Nokia Drive, Maps, Transport, Reading and Music are all very solid products that do bring a lot of highly-appreciated functionality to Lumia handsets, in a move to cover some of the gaps in Windows Phone and add some additional value. Apparently, with a decent catalog of 70,000 apps, as well as these pre-loaded offerings designed to make the basic experience of owning and using a smartphone seamless, the Lumia line-up does start to look like a pretty well-packaged solution. Of course, it will take time to reach the level of comprehensiveness of iOS and Android with regards to third-party programs, but overall, it appears that Nokia Windows Phones are ready to make it big. So, why does it take so long?


It shows that Nokia and Microsoft are putting quite a lot of effort into the design and marketing of the Lumia phones. And how wouldn't they – both companies aren't doing really well in mobile lately, so they are trying to help each other in hopes to establish their own place on the smartphone market. On one side, we have Nokia contributing with its spectacular phone designs and complementary software, while on the other we have Microsoft, investing into the development and promotion of those offerings, as well being open to tweaking Windows Phone so that it fits Nokia's vision (lowering the minimum specs requirements is an example of that).

But are their efforts strong enough, because, as we're seeing, Windows Phones haven't managed to spark a mass craze so far... As a matter of fact, it's completely understandable that a lot of people following the industry have started to question Microsoft and Nokia's ability to fight iOS and Android, after all, everyone knows how difficult it is to catch up when you're so late in the game. When it comes to the devices themselves, it's clear that they are perfectly good – both in terms of looks and specs. But we should understand that Windows Phone is a different OS. It not only looks different, but it has a structure that is uncommon to today's user. Many people have just gotten used to dealing with icons, file explorers and widgets, and now, out of nowhere, Microsoft is giving them Live Tiles and Hubs. Our belief is that it will take some time until people start seeing Windows Phone as something familiar – something that has been around for a while. But what is going to give the strongest boost to Windows Phone will be Windows 8 with its Metro UI. Unlike Windows Phone, Windows PC has an enormous user base, which will soon be introduced to the Metro philosophy, and in a moment, Windows Phone will not be as scary for the regular customer as it used to be.

Naturally, introducing Windows 8 with an all new (for a PC) Metro UI is wise not only because it will help sell Windows Phones, but also because it will let Redmond finally enter the tablet field. And boy what an entrance that would be! We are not saying that Windows 8 tablets will magically overtake the iPad, but they will surely capture a pretty sizable share.

And what about Nokia? Well, when that whole new Windows machine starts working and gaining traction later this year, Nokia will surely be there to benefit the most out of all Windows Phone (and maybe tablet) manufacturers. Our prediction? Big gains for Microsoft and Nokia in the following years.



1. snowgator

Posts: 3621; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

I am so not worried about Nokia, or Microsoft. I think these two are all in, and their gameplan is solid. I think they excel together. Where I am worried is the other manufacterers. As Nokia is all in on WP, and Sammy, HTC, LG, and ZTE are Android driven, will they stay in the WP arena?

23. Henrik

Posts: 141; Member since: Feb 18, 2012

I actually think both HTC, LG, Samsung and ASUS are waiting eagerly to drop some WP8 devices, now that they are more free to spread their wings in terms of hardware. Especially Samsung is pretty confident that it has the hardware to compete with Nokia, porting it from their Android catalog. And with the beast of Windows 8 coming to town, partnering with Windows Phone, things will probably start looking really good by the years end for all of us :-) Not so much for Android, but for Windows Phone! Android and Apple need the heat of the competition, and people should recognize that.

32. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

i think those manufacturers are a little hung up with marketing specs, so they are weary of low power wp... once multi core ad hd screen support comes i think there will be a larger rush to wp7 form manufacturers.. hopefully sparking some competition as long as microsoft stays truthful to preventing major tampering... for all the customizations they could do, quick updates and a unified os are way better for wp as it cannot nor should not compete with android for customization

2. wendygarett unregistered

sorry to say that... i would still prefer htc... and i would buy a high end android phone (One X) this year and a mid-low end windows phone (similar to Radar) next year. If next year htc doesnt show mid-low WP. thus i will purchase lumia series. Platform is the key of the smartphone nowadays..

7. deacz

Posts: 162; Member since: Nov 02, 2011

tbh i wouldnt buy a tegra 3 phone, sure on a tablet they make sense but for phones i would hold out for the s3 or a phone with a krait dual core. right now the phone company in most trouble is HTC they have nothing special in their lineup, they wont be able to compete with low price and kick ass coding from the chinese andriods, or sammys tech. Neither do they have the design or backbone of sony.

3. FoneAddict

Posts: 263; Member since: Jul 05, 2011

Nokia were doomed as soon as they went to bed with Microsoft. Their initial release hasn't really caught the publics imagination and I don't see how they can turn this around. The fact is Nokia had something special with Meego but Nokia (or should i say Stephen Elop) decided to ditch it. BIG mistake! This will be studied in business schools around the world as a case study for generations to come.

5. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

meego was a failure from the beginning. It may have had a foothold in europe had it survived, but it would have never made it to major player status, no matter how good it is because American carriers would shun it.. Just like they do with Bada. its only chance would have been emerging markets like china and india. I really dont get the doom and gloom people say about WP7. The OS has been out less than a year and frankly is doing better than android did at the 1 year mark. Most OS's are not over night hits but are build ups. WP7 hasnt been heavily advertised up until this point because MS wanted to work out its bugs and have all its players in position. This year is the year that the WP7 push starts, and the nokia devices are already selling quite well. WP7 has iOS smoothness, the capability of Xboxlive quality games, some customization like android, and an already active mod community. It also is finally getting the bankroll from MS to advertise and make it popular, which they havent done until now. It also has the advantage of being part of a larger family of "Metro UI" as EVERYTHING Microsoft is touching this year is turning to the same interface.. so you will have no choice but to be familiar with the set up. Open you eyes, you will be surprised.

8. deacz

Posts: 162; Member since: Nov 02, 2011

once they remove zune and the whole file system thing on wp7 it will be a great mobile system. People should really try it out before they keep fanboying ios or andriod devices, wp7 is fast and fluid.

19. nghtwng68

Posts: 108; Member since: Nov 26, 2009

Being an avid Nokia phone user I totally agree. Have had a Android device and own a iPod Touch and I'm very impressed with WP OS. Fluid interface, cool animation sweeps and very fast overall. A true joy to use. Once WP get a little customization added, I think it will go over nicely to the masses. Good luck to Nokia and Microsoft.

24. Karan_Malhotra

Posts: 27; Member since: Feb 17, 2012

I dont know why people still rattle about nokia ditching meego. Dont u think if nokia went with meego it would take years and years to build the app ecosystem the android or ios has today....but with wp backed by the giant like could catch up with android and ios somewhat more easily...

6. wendygarett unregistered

you should try to accept WP though :)

4. RaKithAPeiRiZ

Posts: 1488; Member since: Dec 29, 2011

Meltimi of GTFO

9. Bluesky02

Posts: 1439; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

The U.S sales will determined Nokia's fate. It is by then we will know Nokia is successful or not.

10. AndreaCristiano

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

This is definitely a good article and accurate Windows phone like it or not is about to explode onto the scene and take the fanboys on all sides by storm, and this is coming from an avid android user rocking a Galaxy Nexus who is about to switch

11. u-suck-more

Posts: 529; Member since: Aug 26, 2011

i really hope Nokia succeeds. because when they do, other manufacturers like HTC, LG and maybe Samsung will push out more Windows Phones. my friend has the Lumia 710 and i must say, the phone is extremely fluid. i kinda like WP7 and i would really hope to see it succeed, i think one of the ways it can succeed is if Nokia is successful with their Lumia Phones as it would give Windows Phone its much needed attention.. also i heard that WP7 doesn't have Mass Storage(?) i hope MS changes that tho

12. redmd

Posts: 1941; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

Nokia + Microsoft = they have a lot of catching up to do. WP is an entirely different OS than symbian. I found it much easy to shift from symbian to Android because of those retained functions. Its not all about smoothness everyone is crazed about.

13. azri05 unregistered

I surely won't buy windows phone for the time being. I'll wait until it's completely matured. I'll wait for windows 8. WP have a very big potential. Lets see how they going to direct it.

14. azri05 unregistered

Alert! Off-topic for a while. It's fun to see how smartphone nowadays having their own trademark name: Nokia = Lumia Samsung = Galaxy Motorola = Razr(comes back) Sony = Xperia LG = Optimus HTC = One(not sure) What else?

16. JSern

Posts: 282; Member since: May 22, 2011

Ya, this may somehow easier for the people to know the latest phone model rather than remembering totally different names

21. MYTHiKAL unregistered

Do not forget to SUPER Famous EVO line up from HTC :)

28. haroonazeem638

Posts: 141; Member since: Mar 29, 2011

For Motorola, it's not Razr. It's Droid. All really cool names haan? What about Apple? Their names suck! iPhone, 2, 2S, 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S....bla bla bla..what?

38. karanstyle

Posts: 188; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

Seriously, Apple sucks with Monotonous names and designs it creates. Design looks good but not durable and doesnt fit the palm for longer. Designs Like: Xperia Neo/Nokia N9/HTC Desire HD/Nokia X7 are too easy in palm because they're rounded @ curves

15. sheepygalaxy

Posts: 68; Member since: Mar 10, 2012

Most people haven't tried w7phones yet they say it's rubbish and a fail DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR TRY IT FIRST BEFORE BASHING IT.I have lumia 800 n8 3Gs and sgs2 so I can say it's almost as good as Android but better than the other 2

37. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

Oh, I've tried it and I'll admit it's smoother and more consistant than Android, but my argument between Android and iOS applies for WP7 too. WP7 can't do anything! If I left my homescreens completely blank, I'm sure scrolling between them would be pretty smooth as well. Close to no customisability, and I'm pretty sure you can't download custom live tiles from the marketplace. So all the live tiles you add would be those Microsoft provides you with, which once again forces that "consistantcy". WP7 would look like a mess if they allowed user to use custom tiles. The guy who's phone I was trying also told me he would have preferred an iPhone and only bought his current model because it was considerably cheaper than the iPhone and high end Androids (I don't remember what model it was, I don't give a crap about WP7s but it was before the Lumia series, a HTC I think, the top of it's time). I don't hate WP7 as much as I hate iOS due to it's fanbase still being a very humble bunch and WP7 still has a hell lot of room for development (Who knows? I might even switch to it one day if it gets good), but Nokia and Microsoft are getting way to cocky for their own good. and we all know what happens when a company gets too cocky, they stop producing good stuff and keep producing the same crap because they know they have a strong fanbase that will support them no matter what.

39. karanstyle

Posts: 188; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

Are you aware of a word called Marketing...? They're working on their WP7 then WP7.5 and Soon getting WP8(Apollo) which would get you to the better customization step by step... Neither Android's Cupcake & Froyo were born that good(mature) nor it was Apple's iOS. It was only Symbian in its time was born Mature(as per its time, dont compare it today but still Belle is Good & Smooth). Conclusion: Everything takes time to Ripe!

17. JSern

Posts: 282; Member since: May 22, 2011

For developing countries like Malaysia(me), the lacking of some essential features like scout can be a turn off. I'm waiting for the announcement from Nokia World, where they announce the brand new Nokia WP Apollo. NOKIA + WP = WIN

18. Shubham412302

Posts: 580; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

I will buy nokia devices only with launch of apolo

20. zuckerboy

Posts: 898; Member since: Dec 22, 2011


22. rnk.khch

Posts: 86; Member since: Jan 30, 2012

I'm so glad that finally Phonearena posted a decent comment about Microsft/Nokia/Windows phone. All of the previous comments were negative and biased.

27. karanstyle

Posts: 188; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

Agreed! this time they were not baised else it'd have been my last login to their site...

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