With Nokia and Microsoft all set to unveil a host of new Lumia devices at a press conference in New York tomorrow, discussion has once again turned to whether the partnership can yield the kind of results that the coming together of two tech giants would suggest.
Images and rumours have already been doing the rounds for some time and the Windows 8 platform is already getting Microsoft fans excited. Of course, we have in some respects been here before, following Nokia’s first outing with the Lumia range comprising the 610, 710, 800 and 900, all built around Windows Phone 7 operating system. This series of device received favourable review but was not as popular with the general public as both Nokia and Microsoft would have hoped.
So, how will things be different this time around? Well, first of all the Lumia brand holds a level of gravitas that its Finnish creators could have only dreamed of 12 months ago. Despite underwhelming sales of handsets such as the Lumia 900, Nokia hit a home run as far as impressing the critics went, and the stunning simplicity of the Windows Phone Metro UI was a surefire winner among those seeking a smartphone experience with a difference.
Something else sitting in Nokia’s favour is the fact that other manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung are so deeply embroiled in a series of legal battles over patents that the door for innovation is wide open. Essentially, this means that while the makers of Android and iOS-toting hardware are arguing about icon designs and methods of unlocking screens, Nokia are able to showcase jaw-dropping technology such as its PureView camera functionality.
In addition to hardware headlines, the software horizon is looking good too, with all speculation pointing to the suggestion that Windows 8 could well be Microsoft’s first viable attempt at a fully integrated ecosystem. Obviously the proof will be in the pudding, but the signs are that users will be offered a level of unification not seen before across laptop, tablet and smartphone. Indeed, with even the likes of Apple only just starting to offer the foundations of real integration across devices with its Mountain Lion OS and iOS 5.1, Microsoft could prove to be real trailblazers here.
Despite all of the good news though, the fact still remains that the phone buying public still holds Android and iOS close to its heart and this will be the key battle for Nokia and Microsoft alike. Winning over the reviewers and critics is one thing, prizing people away from their Galaxy S IIIs and iPhone 4Ss in order to convince them to migrate to a largely unproven platform with hardware from a struggling manufacturer is quite another.
With the unveiling a matter of hours away, we will not have to wait too long before finding out whether Nokia and Microsoft really have a chance of changing the public perception of what a smartphone should be. But it seems safe to suggest that if the numerous rumours and sense of anticipation is anything to go by, then we could see Windows and Lumia becoming key components in the smartphone revolution.