Print 54 comment(s) - last by hpram99.. on Oct 25 at 11:53 AM

Nokia clarifies why it chose to trail Android OEMs in adopting larger screens, higher core count SoCs

This week Nokia devices -- the former Nokia Oyj. (HEX:NOK1V) that's now under Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) umbrella -- announced its first major device launch since Microsoft purchased it for $7.2B USD in September.  The results have thus far impressed, with the announcement of the 10.1-inch Lumia 2520 Windows RT 8.1 tablet and the 6-inch Lumia 1520/1320 phablets, plus some slick accessories like the "Treasure Tag".

I. Windows Phone Trims Hardware Gap With Android to About 6 Months

But the release of Lumia 1520 -- which packs a 1080p screen and quad-core Snapdragon 800 system-on-a-chip (SoC) from Qualcomm, Inc. (QCOM) -- raised some eyebrows given Nokia's past comments about HD screens and multi-core CPUs hurting more than they help.

In a new interview with TechRadar, Samuli Hanninen, Nokia Devices' VP of software program management, clarifies why Nokia trailed Android phonemakers in making the leap to 1080p and quad-core.

First he takes issue with the notion that it took "a long time", while acknowledging that Nokia's Windows Phone line has trailed Android on the path towards higher resolutions displays, first at the 720p node and then at the 1080p node.  He comments, "I don't think it took us a long time [to bring a Full HD display to a Nokia phone]."

From a pure numbers perspective, he has some grounds to make that argument.  Historically, Windows Phone has trailed Android and iOS by up to a year or two in key features.  But of late that gap has shrunk substantially.

The first 1080p Android smartphones weren't announced until early this year when HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) unveiled the One (February) and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) announced the Galaxy S4 (March).  Both products did not start shipping at volume until May.

There's no official ship date for the Lumia 1520 in the U.S. -- yet -- but it's expected to ship within a few weeks.  So Nokia is trailing Android in 1080p adoption by about six months.

This is similar to the case with 720p; the 720p (1280x720 pixel) Galaxy S3 was announced in May 2012, while the similar resolution Lumia 920 (1280x768 pixel) was announced in September.

II. Necessity and Design Dictate Hardware Timing, Says Nokia

And Nokia says that the extra time for 1080p was necessary as the higher resolution required a jump in device size to be useful.  Mr. Hanninen comments, "You only see the benefits when using a 5-inch screen and larger, anything below that the eye can't see the difference."

Again there's a lot of truth to this comment.  At a certain use distance for any device there's a certain maximum resolution that is useful to individuals with average eyesight -- for 4-inch devices that resolution is (roughly) 720p; for 6-inch devices it's roughly 1080p.  Of course 1080p resolutions on 4- or 5-inch devices may make certain specialized applications (e.g. making rendered text look "smooth") less expensive and may provide some crispness/clarity gains for the minority of people who have above average eyesight.

Stephen Elop
Former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop criticized previous generations of multicore smartphone SoCs. [Image Source: Reuters]

Likewise Mr. Hanninen clarifies that Microsoft SVP (and former Nokia Oyj. CEO) Stephen Elop wasn't attacking multicore smartphone SoCs, just pointing out that they were only hype without proper device design and application.

Snapdragon 800
Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 only became available in August. [Image Source: Liliputing]

He comments:

If I had the possibility of having a quad core CPU last year, I'd have said that I don't want it.  You have to get the best from a quad core chip. If you do it badly then the phones get very hot.

In other words, with older processor generations (i.e. the Snapdragon S4), Nokia didn't feel like it could design a quad-core smartphone that wouldn't be hot and inefficient.  The Snapdragon 800 (quad-core) only recently became available, so that explains Nokia's launch timing in a bit more depth.  (The first Snapdragon 800 equipped Android was LG Electronics, Inc.'s (KSC:066570) G2, which was announced in August.)

Source: TechRadar

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Numbers Game
By hpram99 on 10/23/2013 4:58:40 PM , Rating: 3
Just like megapixels, gigahertz, and "dual/quad" core.
Most companies like to list off tangible numbers that show the benefit to justify the premium. ie. This one has more "MP's!"

Looking back when Apple released the first few (notice I'm excluding the latter designs) iPhone designs, they focused on an overall design that worked well, instead of focusing on a certain number. Anyone that had a cell phone in that era can easily agree there was a significant increase in quality compared to what was available.

I feel that Nokia seems to be doing the same. The "best phone" doesn't necessarily have any need for quad-core, 4GB, 41MP (hehe), dual-band, 1080p tech.

RE: Numbers Game
By Argon18 on 10/23/13, Rating: -1
RE: Numbers Game
By Reclaimer77 on 10/23/13, Rating: -1
RE: Numbers Game
By althaz on 10/23/2013 6:11:00 PM , Rating: 4
Every Windows Phone Nokia makes that I have seen is available with a non-slip matte finish (phones I have personally seen with this finish: Lumia 520, 800, 900, 920, 925, 928, 1020).

At least try to have some sort of vague idea what you are talking about. The 920 was their first shiny Lumia, but was also available with a (much nicer) matte finish. That trend has continued with all subsequent devices, as far as I'm aware.

People wanted shiny (no idea why, I hate it), so they switched to shiny, but they didn't stop making matte textured versions :).

RE: Numbers Game
By Reclaimer77 on 10/23/13, Rating: -1
RE: Numbers Game
By OoklaTheMok on 10/23/2013 8:32:41 PM , Rating: 2
I think it must be those little dry hands of yours</snark>

The only WP phone that I have found that is slippery is the 925, with it's metal edges. Add one of the thin wrap around shells for it, and it's perfect.

RE: Numbers Game
By Labotomizer on 10/23/2013 9:46:54 PM , Rating: 2
I have a 928. I was tempted to get the white so it would stand out a bit more but it was really glossy. Didn't care for that much. The black is matte finish and I haven't had any issues with dropping it. I've also never put a smartphone in a case and I've been using them since the very early days. Never broke one either, although I think the Droid 2 was very much broke from the beginning... I'm sure if my experience on that weren't somehow worse than my MotoQ with WinMo I would have stuck with Android. My wife dropped my 928 off a 4' counter onto tile and there's a barely perceptible dent in the corner where it hit. Other than that not a mark.

The 920 is rounded isn't it? As is the 925 on TMo. Mine is definitely very pointy...

At any rate I don't think there's a right or wrong opinion. Well, other than Apple sucks. That's always the right opinion!

RE: Numbers Game
By Reclaimer77 on 10/24/13, Rating: 0
RE: Numbers Game
By CaedenV on 10/23/2013 10:13:36 PM , Rating: 2
Any of the matte finish phones should not be slippery. Most of the newer ones have this, but for the L920 it was pretty much only the black one. And really, who doesn't buy the black one?

RE: Numbers Game
By testbug00 on 10/23/2013 11:44:36 PM , Rating: 2
At least for the WP8 phones, Nokia offers Matte options for each phone (Sometimes only a matte option).

An example is the 920, red, yellow, white, and cyan are all "non-matte" while black and a color I cannot recall, are both matte.

And, once more, you haven't tried using a 920, 1020, or 520. All of those lack "sharp pointy corners"

How do I know? I personally own a 920 and 1020 and have a friend with a 520.

RE: Numbers Game
By Mint on 10/23/2013 6:40:30 PM , Rating: 4
Had Nokia used Android instead, they would have seen much greater market success.

Many Android phones feel plasticy and cheap.

I see. So if I ran a smartphone company in 2010 and offered well-built, well-reviewed products with Android, my market share would take off? Actually, let's say I'm the leading Android maker at the time, outselling even Samsung, then I should do even better than starting from 0%, right?
Whoops. There goes that theory.

Ironic that you deride WP a "me too" product while simultaneously suggesting that Nokia should have become a me-too Android maker. If they wanted to go Android, they should have made that decision in 2009.

RE: Numbers Game
By Reclaimer77 on 10/23/13, Rating: 0
RE: Numbers Game
By ritualm on 10/23/2013 7:12:40 PM , Rating: 2
Unless HTC starts turning around soon, I can imagine seeing them on the auction block in a year or two.

RE: Numbers Game
By Reclaimer77 on 10/23/2013 7:28:20 PM , Rating: 1
I agree.

My point was if it wasn't for Microsoft, we would be saying the EXACT same thing about Nokia today.

RE: Numbers Game
By Labotomizer on 10/23/2013 9:50:38 PM , Rating: 2
It makes sense. Business isn't all about volume.

Microsoft offered Nokia a very good deal when they opted to go with WP. I won't argue they likely would have sold more phones with Android but I don't think they would have made more money. Nokia was on the upswing and was becoming profitable again when they sold. So MS buying them didn't save them. Microsoft offering financial incentives to go exclusively WP did though.

It was the smarter business decision. I honestly think MS would have rather done it with HTC years ago but I'm guessing HTC turned them down. If you remember with the WinMo days, MS and HTC were very much in bed. In fact, HTC made the best WinMo phones ever made. The HD2 was an amazing device at the time and, in all honesty, ran Android better than any Android device until 3.0 came out.

RE: Numbers Game
By DFranch on 10/24/2013 12:36:17 PM , Rating: 2
first of all "Magnitudes" is an exaggeration, they don't even sell double the smartphones Nokia sells.

HTC is the perfect example of why Nokia was smart not to use Android. Samsung has stolen the android market, and Nokia was smart not to try and compete with them in the android space. HTC was the top of the heap only a few years ago. Now they are in real trouble. Nokia was already in real trouble, and needed the cash from MS to try and turn things around. Google wasn't going to give them a dime, so they made the only smart choice at the time.

Oh, and if you include Nokia's Asha phones, Nokia outsells HTC by magnitudes.

RE: Numbers Game
By p05esto on 10/23/2013 8:46:57 PM , Rating: 2
Yea, I totally disagree with you. I love Windows8 on the phone, it's a sleek OS, fresh, easy to use and far superior than a screen of icons (IMO). Each to his own, but your opinion is as valid as mine, and I love the OS.

RE: Numbers Game
By testbug00 on 10/23/2013 11:41:05 PM , Rating: 5
sure, WP8 is a piece of garbage, except that it feels better to use for me than:
iOS4 (with jailbreak) iOS5 (jailbroken), iOS6, iOS7, Android 2.4, Android 4.2

Yup, totally broken. You sound like someone who has not used WP8 for any length of time.

ARE THERE PROBLEMS? YES! Many of them are quite silly problems.

Could you name any of them? PROBABLY NOT!

RE: Numbers Game
By djdjohnson on 10/24/2013 8:14:14 PM , Rating: 3
WTH are you talking about? Windows Phone is vastly more efficient than Android. WP7 and 8 both run really, really well on "slow" hardware. The $99 Nokia Lumia 520 (off-contract pricing) runs circles around anything under $300 running Android.

RE: Numbers Game
By Johnmcl7 on 10/23/2013 7:16:13 PM , Rating: 4
Looking back when Apple released the first few (notice I'm excluding the latter designs) iPhone designs, they focused on an overall design that worked well, instead of focusing on a certain number. Anyone that had a cell phone in that era can easily agree there was a significant increase in quality compared to what was available.

Definitely not, I found the original Iphone was a big downgrade in quality compared to even older phones at the time. The original Iphone wasn't very durable and the hardware was laughable, the year before Nokia had released the N95 with a 5MP autofocus camera, GPS, HSDPA, native multi-tasking and other basic features such as MMS, and copy/paste. The Iphone launched with a 2MP non-AF camera, no GPS, no 3G, no multi-tasking, no MMS, no copy/paste etc. it just seemed a joke but sadly Apple won out and started dragging the market backwards and taking many years to implement what Nokia had managed a long time before.

RE: Numbers Game
By kmmatney on 10/23/2013 8:01:51 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is you are just talking specs, and not how easy it is to use them. I know when I bought my first smartphone 4 years ago, many phones had similar "specs" than the iphone, but in terms of how easy it was to actually use the phone, nothing else came close. I have an Android now, because I wanted a bigger screen, but certainly the first iPhones were not a downgrade from anything else.

RE: Numbers Game
By radium69 on 10/24/2013 5:44:07 AM , Rating: 1
I don't know why you got a 3...

Quad core is welcome on WP8 because it helps opening the apps faster and in case of the 1020, helps take pictures faster.

The GUI is fluid, no doubt, but stuff like opening a game or program quick is not as quick on WP8 as on iOS or Android for that matter.

1080p on 6" is also welcomed because 720p gives a low DPI.

720p for under 5" is enough.

And the 41MP is needed for it's oversampling technique.
You absolutely have no clue about the Lumia 1020 or 808 Pureview... It's been discussed all over the web multiple times jeez. Do your research.

And about the iPhone, 2 and 3G 3GS didn't have MMS text messaging no led flash and a camera which was absolute shite.

In that time I already had all of those "features" and even xenon flash which still is superior...

Your post is bad, and you should feel bad. Stop spreading lies and deceiving everyone!

RE: Numbers Game
By Flunk on 10/24/2013 9:12:50 AM , Rating: 2
App loading is IO bound so extra cores isn't going to make a difference, not only that I've never had an issue with app load times in WP8. It doesn't affect the camera at all.

RE: Numbers Game
By hpram99 on 10/25/2013 11:53:05 AM , Rating: 2
Quad core is welcome on WP8 because it helps opening the apps faster and in case of the 1020, helps take pictures faster.

How do you know? CPU speed has a common misunderstanding, a faster CPU is indeed itself faster, but the vast majority of applications are not CPU bound. Did you know the chipset in that 41MP camera doesn't actually support 41MP image processing? That's right, it's a different chip entirely that does the inital image capture/preprocessing.

I know exactly what the camera does, and I praised nokia for working on an overall design, instead of focusing on the numbers. If I recall correctly, in their press release, they said it's not about the number of pixels, but what you do with it.

Really, the rest of your post is actually supporting my claims. As I said, most companies focus on a specific spec to market their product, just like you said, your "other phones" had these features at the time before the iPhone. Yet the iPhone was extremely successful without these features due to overall design considerations. Much like Nokia rising to power with Windows Phone.

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