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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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RE: Or...
By Reclaimer77 on 10/24/2013 1:17:05 AM , Rating: 0
You sound disillusion. Microsoft waited WAY too long to get Windows Phone in serious gear. How in the hell do you think it's going to steal that much marketshare from Android and iOS?

quote:
Lets find any other Android device in the sub $150 price range


That's because nobody is really competing at that price range.

You people talk about the Nokia 520 like it's some kind of world-beater. Wtf? Be serious. Those specs AND a 480p display, and you're talking like you can build a goddamn empire on that?

The vast majority of people go with a subsidized plan. Nobody gives a crap about a $100 phone. When they can have a flagship for a few dollars more a month.

quote:
2012 was a year of transition to a new kernel, 2013 was a year of hardware support, 2014 will be a year of app and feature support, and 2015 will be the year of WP gaining popular acceptance.


If it takes an entire year for any Windows Phone improvement to happen, which is what you're detailing here, then it's no wonder why it's not gaining popular acceptance. Come on, Microsoft is the biggest software company in the world, they need to be doing this faster and better than the next guy.

The OP nailed it. Windows Phone is a cobbled together rushed me-too product, and people just aren't falling for it.

quote:
I am saying is that Android will not dominate like it currently does either.


Google has the most popular and used search engine. They have the most popular and used free email service. They have the most popular and used video streaming platform. And they coincidentally have the most popular and used mobile OS, which seamlessly integrates all of the above and more.

Short of a meteor striking the Earth, I don't see what could happen that would change the current paradigm. There will be no three way tie, ever.


RE: Or...
By FITCamaro on 10/24/2013 1:03:41 PM , Rating: 3
You realize that there are around 2 billion people in the world who just want a phone and don't do subsidies. They don't care that it isn't the fanciest. Nokia marketing to them with feature packed phones with still GOOD hardware is a viable way to get marketshare.


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