This year at CES, Microsoft had quite a presence, particularly with regards to Windows Phone. This year, 2012, will be a decisive year for Windows Phone. It is also a decisive year for Nokia, who has bet their smartphone strategy on Windows Phone. After seeing the announcement of the Nokia Lumia 900 and having played with the Nokia Lumia 800, I believe they actually have a future.
I have, generally speaking, been impressed the several times I played wih a Windows Phone in a shop. However, I have stayed away so far for two very simple reasons: specs and apps.
In terms of hardware specifications, the Windows Phones are somewhat lacking, particularly in terms of processors and screen resolution. This is of course a very nerdy thing to say, but I do find that important, particularly when looking at how the device performs in a year’s time, with a new (heavier?) OS version and more involved/heavy apps.
However, my experience yesterday with the Nokia Lumia 800 gave me a feeling of a very snappy OS with good responsive apps. If fact, in terms of performance, I would say that it was pretty much on par with my Galaxy S2. I am sure that some more processor intensive activities, such as browsing the web, editing photo and video on the fly, and the like, do benefit from a dual core processor, but for general purpose applications and the OS, it seemed to keep up very nicely. I guess Joe Belfiore was right when he said that “Windows Phone will compete on quality, not specs“.
My second reservation has to do with the application catalogue. A little over a year ago I purchased a Nokia N8, after Nokia promising that Meego, Symbian and Qt were their future. This means I have experienced a lacking app catalogue for a long time. For that reason I switched to Android, and I have promised myself that I would not jump on a platform again with a lack of apps.
Moreover, it is not just a lack of apps, it is also that generally speaking, you need version 2 of the app to actually get mature apps. Over a year and a half ago, I started with Android, with a Samsung Galaxy S. At that time, Android had quite an extensive application catalogue, but apps actually weren’t all that great, looking back. Fast forward to now, and on my Galaxy S2 I feel that the application situation is very similar to what I have on my iPad: generally feature-rich and well performing apps.
When playing around with the Lumia 800, I saw the Nokia people had preloaded some local content, such as Marca.com (sports newspaper) and ElPais.com (national newspaper) – the last is not even available on Android(!). I naturally tried both of the apps, and I came away impressed in terms of the content it provided, the interface and the performance.
In summary, I am willing to give Windows Phone a real chance after what I saw. The Nokia Lumia 800 perhaps is not exactly what I was looking for, the screen is a little too small and no front facing camera, but the Lumia 900 fits my needs quite nicely! I have asked the people over on Nokia Connects for a two week trial of the Nokia Lumia 800. Let’s hope I am lucky and I can report back on how it went.