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Samsung, Nokia Unveil First Windows Phone 8 Devices

Nokia highlights wireless charging for new Lumias; Samsung device has storage options and a MicroSD slot.

Nokia, Microsoft's most important smartphone partner, took the wraps off two new Windows Phone 8 devices early last month: the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820.

The Lumia 920 is "the most innovative smartphone in the world," touted Nokia Executive VP Jo Harlow during a press event in New York City that was jointly held with Microsoft. The device comes in five colors and features a 4.5-inch curved glass display, a polycarbonate and scratch-resistant shell, an 8-megapixel Carl Zeiss camera, built-in near-field communication capabilities, 1GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor and the "largest battery we've ever installed in a Nokia phone."

The lower-end Lumia 820 has a smaller, more rounded body, and includes 8GB of storage and an interchangeable shell that comes in seven different colors.

Both devices support wireless charging. Nokia executives demonstrated two wireless-charging accessories at the event, a Fatboy charging pillow and the JBL Power Up wireless speaker, which will become available later this year. Nokia has also inked deals with Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in which Virgin Atlantic will provide wireless docking stations in its lounge in London's Heathrow airport, and Coffee Bean will install wireless charging plates at many of its locations. Other partnerships are on the way, according to Harlow.

"Our goal is whenever you recharge, your phone can recharge, too," she said. "It's the start of a new era of smartphone power management."

Harlow spotlighted three other features on the Lumia 920:

  • A PureView camera that promises to capture "better pictures and video than any competitor smartphone."

  • A highly sensitive PureMotion HD+ display that provides "better-than-HD resolution" and automatically adjusts to glare.

  • The Nokia City Lens, a navigation tool that lets users point their camera at any street and immediately see local businesses' information superimposed on the image.

Joe Belfiore, manager of the Windows Phone Program at Microsoft, gave a tour of some Windows Phone 8 features on the Lumia 920 after Harlow's presentation. Belfiore's demo had few surprises -- his presentation during the Windows Phone 8 June unveiling was more exhaustive -- but he did reveal that, unlike previous iterations of the mobile OS, Windows Phone 8 has a screenshot capability and supports pinch-zooming to take photos.

Belfiore also showed how third-party special effects and photo-sharing apps can interact with the Lumia 920 camera. These apps, which Belfiore called "lenses," add their capabilities to the phone's camera function either at the moment a picture is taken, or later, if the user decides to edit it.

"You get an experience that lets third parties add value for creativity, for social networking, for image quality," Belfiore said.

No specific release dates or pricing information for either Lumia device was revealed during the event. However, a Nokia spokesperson said that global distribution for the devices will start later this year.

"Exact timelines and countries will be announced as products are getting ready to appear in stores. We're not announcing specific country availability or carrier partners at the moment," the spokesperson said. "Pricing will be announced as we launch with partners around the world."

Windows Phone 8 is rumored to be scheduled for an Oct. 29 launch, though Microsoft has not officially announced a date as of this writing.

 

Samsung Beats Nokia to the Punch
The Microsoft-Nokia event drew a lot of media attention, but the two Lumias were not the first Windows Phone 8 devices to hit daylight. That honor would go to the Samsung ATIV S, which was unveiled at Berlin's IFA conference a full week before.

The Samsung Windows Phone 8 offering is thin and lightweight but still features a massive 4.8-inch, high-definition Super AMOLED display. Unlike the colorful Lumias, the ATIV S is wrapped in a brushed aluminum case. A post by Microsoft's Ben Rudolph on the Windows Phone Blog lists a few more specs:

  • 1GB of RAM
  • Either 16GB or 32GB of storage
  • 8-megapixel camera and 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera
  • 1.5Ghz dual-core processor
  • MicroSD slot

"This is just the first in a big lineup of new hardware that's coming with Windows Phone 8, but it's a seriously impressive opening salvo," Rudolph wrote

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for RCPmag.com and senior editor of AWSInsider.net.