Dynamite Debuts In The Desert: Nokia Reveals New Phablets, RT Tablet1:30 PM EST Tue. Oct. 22, 2013
Nokia unveiled a slew of new mobile devices Tuesday in Abu Dhabi at the company's "Nokia World" event. In anticipation of
Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's device and services business expected to be complete early in 2014, Tuesday's event likely marked the last occasion Nokia will reveal such a hardware lineup on its own. All of the new devices run on a version of the Microsoft operating system, including one that sports RT, and could give Microsoft a much needed boost in the mobile arena, bringing the company closer to competing with Android and iOS operating systems. Here are seven things to know about Nokia's Tuesday announcements from the Abu Dhabi stage.
Nokia's first tablet operates Windows RT 8.1, and despite the first RT disaster, Nokia said the device is advanced enough that it could be used to replace a laptop or desktop. The tablet sports a 10.1-inch, HD 1080p display and weighs in at just over a pound. On the inside, the 2520 runs on a 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, has 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB internal memory. In addition, the device's storage can be expanded through a micro SD card or SkyDrive cloud storage. The tablet has 4G LTE connectivity and is Bluetooth-compatible. The rear-facing 6.7-megapixel camera and the front-facing 2-megapixel camera can both leverage the new preloaded Windows apps to enhance photos and videos. Nokia claims the device is capable of playing up to 10 hours of video on a single charge and can regain well over half its charge in under an hour. The Nokia Power Keyboard with USB ports and an extra five hours of battery life can be purchased separately.
Price: List, $499; $648 with keyboard
The first round of Windows RT was a fast flop, causing devices loaded with the ARM-based operating system to drop like flies and eventually ended up in Microsoft taking a $900 million charge against the failed Surface RT tablets. Although most vendors lost faith in RT after Microsoft's first release of the operating system, Microsoft pressed on with an update, and Nokia had enough faith in the improvements to load Windows RT 8.1 on its only tablet. On Monday, a small percentage of Surface RT users reported a glitch in the Windows 8.1 update, though the problem has yet to affect other devices updated with Windows 8.1.
Nokia entered the phablet game with two new additions to its Lumia smartphone lineup. The first of the two new devices, the 1520, has a 6-inch display, the largest of any Windows phone on the market. A 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and 2GB of RAM adds to the high-end phablet, but unlike the similar-in-size Galaxy Note 3, the Lumia 1520 does not have a stylus. Nokia's PureView camera technology powering the 41-megapixel Lumia 1020 camera is also used in the new phablet, but on a smaller scale, giving the phablet a 20-megapixel camera. Other features on the smartphone include wireless charging ability and four built-in microphones. AT&T is expected to have the phone by the end of the calendar year.
Price: $749 unlocked
Nokia's second phablet is more budget-friendly and is expected to be offered in emerging markets first. With the same 6-inch display size as the Lumia 1520, the 1320 is downgraded in the camera, resolution and chip set arenas. The 5MP camera is a significant drop from the 20-megapixel camera on the 1520 or the 41-megapixel camera on the 1020. The 720p display is not quite as impressive as that on the 1520 and the chip set is a dual-core rather than a quad-core processor. Finally, the device is loaded with only 8GB internal storage and 1GB of RAM.
Price: $399 unlocked
In addition to the smartphone releases, Nokia unveiled three new feature phones in its Asha lineup: the Asha 500, 502 and 503. Even more cost-conscious than the Lumia 1320 budget smartphone, each of the Asha feature phones cost less than $100. The Asha phones still sport a rear-facing camera and the WhatsApp instant Messenger application. The most advanced Asha phone has 3G connectivity.
Price: $69, $89 and $99
Although the camera has been the focal point on recent Lumia smartphones with the introduction of a 41-megapixel camera on the Lumia 1020, some of the most popular applications for photos and videos have yet to be available on the Lumia phones, until Tuesday. Now, Instagram and Vine will both be supported by Windows 8.1 within a matter of weeks. In addition, the Nokia Camera app preloaded on the smartphone gave the camera several more capabilities, including reframing, refocus and removing objects. The app also is available for older Lumia smartphones. A lack of app availability, when compared to the Apple and Google Play app stores, continues to be a thorn in the side of Windows devices even though the store is growing.
Rumored as a replacement option for former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Stephen Elop presented all of Nokia's new products from the Abu Dhabi stage on Tuesday. Elop later told The Wall Street Journal, "The most important signal of Microsoft's pleasure and the momentum we are building is the fact that the Microsoft transaction is happening. You don't make a move like that unless you are happy with the progress being made." Microsoft's $7.1 billion deal to acquire Nokia's device and services department is expected to be final near the beginning of 2014. Elop also said the 18- to 26-year-old crowd has fueled the growth Nokia has experienced over the last four fiscal quarters.