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Big update also planned for the Lumia 800

Two of the biggest factors against Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Windows Phone 7 operating system when it launched in late 2010 were lack of compelling packaging and lack of carrier support.

Handset makers:
Were more interested in Android.
Figured WP7 would be low volume.
Ironically, noticed that WP7 performed great on low-end hardware.

Thus they shoved the OS onboard their most ugly budget models.  Ironically, many of these handsets still performed well, although they were far behind Android and Apple, Inc. (AAPL) in the looks department.  This -- along with Microsoft not paying carriers sales commissions -- led to a general lack of interest in carriers pitching WP7 handsets.

I. Nokia and AT&T Are Windows Phone's Dynamic Duo

Well, all of that is starting to change, thanks to Nokia Oyj. (HEL:NOK1V) and AT&T Inc. (T).

Nokia offered the first piece of the puzzle -- attractive packaged phones.  Nokia wowed with sleek handsets like the 4.3-inch display LTE-enabled Lumia 900; its "little brother", the 3.7-inch HSPA+ Lumia 800; and the upcoming Nokia Lumia 808 PureView, which featured a 41 megapixel camera, and potentially will get LTE treatment.

The Nokia Lumia 900. [Image Source: Nokia]

The next trick was finding a carrier to pitch the phone to customers -- a vital step, given the general public apathy with regards to high technology.  As Apple has demonstrated, a strong pitch can win over the masses.

AT&T long considered itself the "premium" WP7 vendor, yet its new efforts eclipse anything it has previously done -- or which any U.S. carrier has done, thus far, with Windows Phone.

Jeff Bradley, AT&T device chief says that the April 8 launch of the Lumia 900 will be a bigger launch than the exclusive 2007 Apple iPhone debut (or any iPhone debut for that matter).  In a CNET interview, he states, "At all levels, this is a notch above anything we've ever done.  Before you walk in to the store, you know this is our hero phone.  We're going big.  We're really bullish."

iPhone 2007
AT&T says that the Nokia Lumia 900 launch will be bigger than any iPhone launch to date.
[Image Source:]

Nokia and AT&T are being careful not to overhype too early, as has been the case with some Android devices that were hyped months before then sold poorly.  Instead, they plan to unleash a flood of advertising almost consecutively with the launch.

Recall that even Sprint Nextel Corp.'s (S) -- a distant third in subscribers -- was able to give Android a big 2010 boost with its resounding 4G-backed commitment to the platform.  When it's AT&T -- America's second largest carrier, Windows Phone may just have found its hero.  Or perhaps given that AT&T is looking for the next great thing, with the end of iPhone exclusivity, perhaps the situation is the other way around -- AT&T has found an unexpected hero.

II. Truly Modern

AT&T could pick a worse superphone to stake its reputation on.  

While Apple and Google are still stuck with 90s-era Chiclet icons, Microsoft's bleeding edge UI has been delighting the small crowd of early adopters with its rich modern tile-based UI.  Windows Phone screams of a smartphone OS that isn't trying to be on the defining edge of modern -- it is the defining edge of modern.  The only thing it is missing has been sales and handsets.

In recent months Windows Phone's Marketplace has soared in apps:
Aug. 2011: 30,000 apps [source]
Dec. 2011: 50,000 apps [source]
Mar. 2012: 70,000 apps [source]

Windows Phone Marketplace

At this pace, it's on track to cross the 100,000 app mark by sometime mid-year.  That places it in a lofty crowd that its current and former rivals like Research in Motion, Ltd. (TSE:RIM) and Hewlett Packard Comp. (HPQ) have struggled to reach.  Recall that in mid-2009, Apple still only had 65,000 apps a year after the launch of the App Store.

With Apple and Android both reaching the saturation point, Microsoft is seeing soaring developer interest.  And that ultimately means that most of the most beloved apps of Android and iOS are on Windows Phone.

At this point the only thing holding Microsoft back is the learning curve, but given that Microsoft's core apps are quite intuitive, it seems like customers could be talked into taking the plunge.  A sub-$100 Lumia 900 could sweeten the deal substantially.

III. Nokia Lumia 800 Gets a Boost

While the Lumia 900 may be getting the bear's share of AT&T's hype -- and marketing dollars -- it's also important AT&T puts forth a well-rounded lineup.  To that end, the Lumia 800 is receiving a major update.

While it's not official yet, write-ups have indicated the Lumia 800 is compatible with AT&T's network and may be headed to it later this spring/summer.

Lumia 800 and 710

The Nokia Lumia 800 (left) and 710 (right). [Image Source: Nokia]

The new Lumia 800 software -- V1600.2487.8107.12070 -- is being moved forward from April 18 to starting this week.  The four-week global rollout marks Nokia's third major update to the Lumia 800, which launched in November globally.

Nokia offers the humorous analogy that the update is like shepherding, writing:

The real-life analogy that I can think about to describe this is herding sheep through a gate. For a Windows Phone partner, developing a smartphone is like that: there’s always a balance to be struck between what you can do and what you’d like to do, between what you can offer now and later. But due to the urgent need to get this update in the hands of people, we were able to bring the schedule forward, although not all at the same time.

The update focuses on battery life and is supposed to bring total battery life up to around 25 to 30 hours on the stock 1450 mAh battery.

Again no U.S. carrier has officially launched the Lumia 800 -- yet.  But both AT&T and America's top carrier Verizon Wireless (a joint venture between Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) and Vodafone Group Plc.'s (LON:VOD)) reportedly are moving towards deploying LTE-enabled variants.  Together, the two giants account for around three quarters of the U.S. market in terms of subscribers.

For now AT&T is the clear leader of the Windows Phone charge.

But as happened with Sprint's Android pickup and AT&T's iPhone pickup, don't be surprised if Verizon Wireless jumps on the Windows Phone bandwagon in a big way this year or next.

Suddenly Windows Phone has gone pencil pushing shy nerd to the cool new kid in town.  It's hard to say exactly how far it will rise, but it's safe to say that the Lumia 900 launch will be the first of its kind for Windows Phone.

Looks like Microsoft finally made a smart investment in the phone space.

Sources: CNET, Nokia

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By Supa on 3/29/2012 7:09:05 PM , Rating: -1
The specs do not look overwhelming:

Single core 1.4ghz, 512ram, 800x480 4.3 screen, 11.5mm thickness ... but it might be OS related, as WP7.5 may work just fine with these specs.


RE: Specs
By jordanclock on 3/29/2012 7:27:19 PM , Rating: 5
WP7 is actually a very efficient OS. Microsoft chose a single SoC to develop toward very early on and now only has to worry about performance on maybe four or five SoCs (All based on the first) instead of the dozens for Android. They took a major cue from Apple on this one and it paid off very well. Even with "lackluster" hardware, the phone's performance is extremely smooth.

RE: Specs
By Mitch101 on 3/29/2012 10:38:01 PM , Rating: 4
Mine hss the 800mhz CPU and I dont know why I would need more CPU. Its fast and responsive so I cant imagine what a faster CPU would actually speed up or do for me but as long as it doesnt effect battery life why not. Windows Phone is also EXTREMELY STABLE. I havent had to reboot the phone and its never crashed on me. I havent seen anything this stable since the Commodore 64.

RE: Specs
By RufusM on 3/30/2012 11:49:47 AM , Rating: 2
Stable for now, until it gains share and has many developers creating crashy apps. Even when the OS survives it will be known as crashy instead of the crummy apps.

RE: Specs
By NellyFromMA on 3/30/2012 1:16:27 PM , Rating: 3
Microsoft has more experience than any other vendor in easing developer development and has supported the largest developer base of any vendor, including Apple.

Microsoft's approach looks to take the best of both polar opposites between Apple and Android.

Also, i've never had more aggravating tech moments than when using my Android phone and dealing with force closes and OS bugginess at nearly every turn (2.1, 2.2 and 2.3).

So, I'm pretty confident Microsoft will be just fine when in that light...

Strong-types managed and unmanaged APIs for dev's means they will find the appropriate tools for their skill level and needs.

Again, no one does this better or longer than Microsoft.

RE: Specs
By Dr of crap on 3/30/2012 2:54:39 PM , Rating: 1
Blue screen of death anyone?

RE: Specs
By Mitch101 on 3/30/2012 3:39:50 PM , Rating: 3
How Windows 98 of you time to upgrade.

Last time I saw a BSD it was Windows 2000 CD drive bug fixed in SP1 and the only other one since around that time was bad Memory module.

RE: Specs
By crispbp04 on 3/30/2012 4:07:42 PM , Rating: 3
I captured the windows 8 blue screen (it is the same in win7 but never saw it) thanks to my windows phone which was able to go from lock screen to taking a picture in less than 5 seconds (HTC Titan). You can see I have one second left on the timer before the PC rebooted. This was a bug in AMD's beta video driver reacting poorly to adobe's trash player.. i mean flash

Can you believe the new BSOD has an emoticon!? I love it!

RE: Specs
By Myrandex on 3/29/2012 7:28:34 PM , Rating: 4
Seriously people spend way too long reading about specs rather than comparing to see how efficient a total solution is with what it has. Why can an existing launch device with worse specs offer a smoother and more pleasing experience to some dual core android powerhouse of a phone? Its how the hardware is used, not just what hardware is there. Video game consoles have been like that for a long time, their hardware might not be top notch compared to a current PC, but still they can make very good use of the reasources they have in an efficient way and offer a great consumer experience in the end.

WP 7.5 functions perfectly fine with those specs.


RE: Specs
By Flunk on 3/29/2012 8:10:20 PM , Rating: 2
It's not that far off the iPhone 4s, which while it has two cores they run at 800mhz, 512MB Ram, 640 x 960 resolution.

RE: Specs
By A11 on 3/30/2012 7:23:58 AM , Rating: 3
GPU wise it's pretty far from the Iphone 4S but as already mentioned it doesn't matter, it's all about the experience not the specs. These are phones not PC's.

RE: Specs
By Reclaimer77 on 3/30/12, Rating: 0
RE: Specs
By NellyFromMA on 3/30/2012 1:20:29 PM , Rating: 2
"If phones are all about the user experience, then how do you explain Windows Phone's absolute abysmal market share?"

In a word: Marketing.

Also, I think they budgetted their investment in WP7 and got relatively what they expected out of it for this point and time.

Expect big synergy and a big pick up in WP advertising right between Windows 8's launch and subsequent WP8 launch which will likely be another distro of Win8 Arm.

That's an educated guess, but I'd wager I'm on the right track.

RE: Specs
By althaz on 3/29/2012 11:15:15 PM , Rating: 4
Ignore the specs, my Lumia 800 is an order of magnitude faster in general use than my wife's (now unused) Galaxy S II.

It's so much faster my wife bought a brand-new Optimus 7 (definitely the worst WP7 handset I've seen) to use until her contract runs down.

Her Optimus is WAY slower than my Lumia but still very noticably snappier than the Galaxy S II.

The only exception is probably web-browsing which doesn't feel any faster over WiFi (seems way faster over 3G, but that's probably because I changed carriers).

RE: Specs
By abhaxus on 3/30/2012 2:29:09 AM , Rating: 2
Just out of curiosity have you compared to the gs2 running ice cream sandwich? The experience is noticeably smoother and more polished even on my epic touch running a leaked build. Would be interested to see how you feel that compares. I am really hoping that Sprint gets a new WP7 device this year.

RE: Specs
By althaz on 3/30/2012 7:52:27 AM , Rating: 2
I have not. I've compared my Lumia to a Galaxy Nexus running ICS though.

I swapped phones with a guy at work when I first got the Nokia (because he thought it looked cool) for an hour and one of the first things he mentioned to me was how fast it was. When I got the Nokia back I certainly noticed that everything was considerably snappier.

To be fair the Lumia was less than a day old and the Galaxy Nexus probably a couple of months old. That said my Lumia is as fast today as it was the day I got it (but that was only a couple of weeks ago).

RE: Specs
By RufusM on 3/30/2012 11:52:31 AM , Rating: 2
ICS makes a big difference in smoothness. Google's finally paying some nice attention to the user experience in ICS.

RE: Specs
By abhaxus on 4/1/2012 10:30:59 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah I've heard the Gnex isn't all that slick. Poor SOC choice on Google's part. My GS2 on ICS is ridiculous, I can't even imagine what faster CPUs will do with it (running at 1.5ghz now, on GB it would run at 1.8 if I really didn't need battery life). The new phones this summer are going to be crazy.

Definitely jealous of your nokia in the short term.

RE: Specs
By TakinYourPoints on 3/30/2012 5:43:41 AM , Rating: 2
The OS is important to consider. Android is a pig in comparison to iOS and WP7. It is why iOS or WP7 are significantly smoother and snappier than Android running on faster hardware.

WP7 will run like butter on this.

RE: Specs
By Reclaimer77 on 3/30/2012 12:49:11 PM , Rating: 1
You keep stating this opinion as if it's absolute fact. In an effort to find if my user experience with my Galaxy SII was unique, and everyone else was plodding through a slow and "piggish" OS, I hit the review sites. GOOD unbiased ones like Anandtech.

Can you actually, for once, back up your claims about how the latest build of Android on the latest phones is a "pig"? Because I can't find any proof to back your bias.

I'm tired of you stating obsolete opinions about Android. OLD Android phones were less snappy because they couldn't do GPU acceleration for everything. That hasn't been the case in years now.

I think it's time to familiarize yourself with Android of TODAY, not years ago. This is a good starting place.

Notice this review is actually from 2011. ICS is noticeable smoother and "snappier" than their version of Android. You can't have an OS that's a "pig" and get benchmarks like that Takin. End of story.

You find me a professional review site like Anandtech stating that Android is a pig and the user experience was poor, and I'll shut up. But I use it every day on my phone and tablet. I think if it was a "pig" and not snappy, I would know it, and not be happy about it.

I get that you support Windows Phone and Apple, and that's fine, but when you need to repeat lies and spin falsehoods to do that, I draw the line.

RE: Specs
By NellyFromMA on 3/30/2012 1:25:29 PM , Rating: 2
My personal opinion of Android from having an Incredible for about 2 years is that it's terrible.

Mind you, I like technology. Love it even. I was excited to first get my phone. After a couple of months, utter slowness.

If the SQLLite db gets too full of txt messages, getting a new one in is a nightmare; a truly jarring experience.

I have used this phone on 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3.

Imporovements for sure, but subtle at best.

The phone itself was well reviews (also, when new). It's a fact that Android phones when clean run decently, even well.

But not long after that it suffers noticably.

Just my opinion.

RE: Specs
By Reclaimer77 on 3/30/2012 1:31:57 PM , Rating: 2
HTC killed the Incredible, not Android. See here: (Or skip to "perplexing performance" to see whatever HTC did to this phone)

But again, that phone is going on three years old. I don't care about ancient history, when Takin makes a blanket statement that Android today is a "pig", I want proof. Not a history lesson.

RE: Specs
By TakinYourPoints on 3/30/2012 4:53:11 PM , Rating: 2
I'm tired of you stating obsolete opinions about Android. OLD Android phones were less snappy because they couldn't do GPU acceleration for everything.

Because it's one that makes them look bad. Duh :)

Ah, using Reclaimer style arguments against Reclaimer, so good...

RE: Specs
By TakinYourPoints on 3/30/2012 5:08:55 PM , Rating: 2
Ugh, I can't leave it at a stupid post like that, guess I can't go full Reclaimer.

ICS is obviously a huge improvement and much needed improvement in performance. The thing is that browser benchmarks in current ICS handsets bring it up to around where iOS performs with older and slower clocked hardware. Again, a much needed improvement and good on them for doing it, but again it seems to thrive on more horsepower than what iOS and WP7 require to do the same thing.

Another thing is that you say to disregard "Android from years ago". Months or weeks ago is more like it. Hell, there are still Android handsets being sold that do not support ICS, and there are recent Android handsets that won't be getting it. To say that Android being slow is ancient history is incorrect. In the mean time there are WP7 and iOS handsets from three years ago that will run the newest OS just fine, and again very smoothly.

I can't emphasize how butter smooth WP7 is on "slow outdated" hardware. To go back to the root post, yes, WP7 on a single core SoC should run beautifully.

RE: Specs
By Reclaimer77 on 3/30/2012 5:37:48 PM , Rating: 2
Apple's to oranges. Apple doesn't make slower low range phones to see how iOS would perform on it. Hell Apple doesn't even make MIDRANGE phones. They make ONE phone at a time, with the highest performing hardware that can typically be crammed into one.

Again, a much needed improvement and good on them for doing it, but again it seems to thrive on more horsepower than what iOS and WP7 require to do the same thing.

And, AGAIN, I'm asking you to post a link proving this. Opinion time is over.

Months or weeks ago is more like it. Hell, there are still Android handsets being sold that do not support ICS, and there are recent Android handsets that won't be getting it. To say that Android being slow is ancient history is incorrect.

I don't have ICS on my phone yet, but that doesn't make it "slow". It's not slow. Every Android phone out there wont be getting ICS, we know, why do you keep harping on that? It's not the end of the world. Google is NOT Apple, they aren't focused on ONE phone model exclusively. Obviously you can do things with that approach more cohesively. However attempting to judge Android as garbage simply because they're at a transition stage into ICS is rubbish and you know it.

I can't emphasize how butter smooth WP7 is on "slow outdated" hardware.

Who cares?

1. Nobody is buying Windows phone. NOBODY. Even RIM has more market share and they're collapsing.

2. Top end phones are driving this market.

You make some good points, and I'm not saying Android is perfect, but this whole "Android is terrible" garbage by you is just biased trolling. Android is the only mobile solution even coming close to competing with iOS, that should clue you in that it's not garbage.

Find some benchmarks or some reviewer calling Android a "pig", and I'll shut up. Until then you come off like the typical Apple/WP7 fanboi. Anti-Android, anti-open source.

RE: Specs
By jnemesh on 3/30/2012 11:46:13 AM , Rating: 2
Yup, the phone runs VERY fast with only that single core CPU. Unfortunately, some tasks, such as recording video, are limited because of this single core as well. Current Android phones can record at 1080p...this is limited to 720p. Also games and graphics will be affected as well. Now, dont get me wrong, you can play some great games on a 1.4ghz single core, but compared to the latest quad core monsters that will be launching this spring on the competition? I think they are at a disadvantage. Also, WP7 doesnt even support high resolutions on the phones! New Samsung phones are coming with 1080p displays, and the new HTC One sports a 720p display. This will probably be the most noticeable difference to the average consumer...the quality of the screen.

Then you have the ecosystem. Microsoft is trying VERY hard to mimic Apple and their successful iOS platform. They are making a phone that is TOTALLY locked down. No jailbreaking, no sideloading apps. ALL software that runs on the phone will be purchased from Microsoft, through the official Microsoft App Store. This bothers me a whole bunch, but you may or may not care...but it IS something to consider.

Microsoft IS trying hard to make the experience on the desktop and mobile platforms the same...this is the whole reason for "Metro" on Windows 8. Unfortunately, legacy Windows programs (the ones you are running on your Windows PC now), will not run on the new ARM based Windows 8 designed for tablets. You will have to buy a more expensive ($800+ according to recent estimates) tablet if you want to run ALL Windows apps. This "Self-fragmentation" that Microsoft is working towards looks to be a disaster...I could be wrong, but I think it is going to lead to confusion and disappointment for a LOT of people!

Back to the phones. If you are looking for a replacement for your Mom's "dumb phone"...a Windows Phone may be a good bet. I think there IS room in the market for a 3rd competitor here. However, compared to iOS and Android, the platform lacks a LOT (no Pandora for one, and there are TONS of other popular apps that will never make it to the platform as well...look before you leap if you have a favorite app!) There is a lot going for Windows Phones as a platform, but so far, after a year and a half, they have only managed 2.5% of the market...Palm posted better numbers with the Pre! If they don't turn things around VERY soon, this will end up being a dead platform and you will be left with a very nice, but unsupported, device. It happened to me with my Palm Pre...and it is happening to millions of Blackberry customers right now.

Take a look, play with the phone, and compare it to the competition, then make up your own mind. There is a LOT of back and forth on the forums here (I am guilty of more than one trolling post on this myself)....but in the end, YOU are the person who will have the decision to make. Try to make a good one!

RE: Specs
By koenshaku on 3/30/2012 12:18:20 PM , Rating: 2
I think everyone knows what specs do for phones here. I am really only concerned, about getting information off my phone, using a couple social in a timely fashion, with an intuitive UI that I can navigate with smoothly even when my handset is mounted in my car. Instead of trying to flick through a sea of small icons on my iphone or worse an android handset that has preinstalled apps you don't even use. This is the reason I am buying a Lumia 900 when it comes out not 1080p you can't see the difference from in quality from the 720p because the bitrate is lower...

RE: Specs
By rocketbuddha on 3/30/2012 12:38:40 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you. Generally when you are buying a new smartphone fresh as a back-up/international phone, a Windows phone can give a good ROI. But in the US scene where contract is the kind, if I am getting a Lumia at $99.99 for a 2yr deal vs a LG Nitro/HTC Vivid/ Samsung Sky rocket for the same $99.99 price for a 2yr deal, which do you think is the choice that is far easier to make.

Dual core - faster hardware wise.
Better Ram
Wider market share and apps.
More features like 1080p recording by default.

But Nokia is the one thing that can bring something unique to Windows phone that other manufacturers cannot bring/hesitate to invest. They develop applications/software and can port the apps from its Ovi Store (now defunct) to the Windows platform.

a) Its Maps (from its NAVTEQ subsidiary).
b) Cameras (though HTC is 1 upping them with 16M in Titan II)

A offline GPS as well as capability to download offline maps for any part of the world wherever allowed(as long as u have storage capacity to spare), for free, Nokia can make hay while the sun shines....

If it fails then Microsoft can continue to shut its WinPhone business and make money from Android as they do today ;-)

RE: Specs
By michaelklachko on 3/30/2012 1:24:48 PM , Rating: 2
When it has 720p screen, minimal bezel design, under 8mm thickness, and outstanding battery life, I'll be interested.

RE: Specs
By MadAd on 4/2/2012 3:09:39 AM , Rating: 2
meh, when i can load my desktop apps without having to pay again for apps from the store, then ill be interested

RE: Specs
By BillyBatson on 3/30/2012 2:33:12 PM , Rating: 1
Keep buying your products based on specs and I'll watch your wallet drain while you remain woefully unhappy with your device.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

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