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Nokia introduced Wednesday its new Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 smartphones based on Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 OS, marking the latest in a series of attempts by the Finnish handset maker to stay relevant in the ultracompetitive U.S. smartphone market.
Nokia did not specify pricing or availability details for the new phones, but when they launch, both will go head-to-head against Samsung's new Ativ S smartphone based on Windows Phone 8, along with Apple's fifth-generation iPhone, which is widely expected to launch next week.
The Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 were unveiled Wednesday, as Nokia originally hinted, at a press event hosted by both Microsoft and Nokia in New York City. The higher-end Lumia 920, which dominated the bulk of the press conference, touts a 4.5-inch curved glass display, runs on a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor and was dubbed by Nokia as the "flagship" Windows Phone 8 device.
A number of new features set the Lumia 920 apart from its predecessors, the Lumia 900 and Lumia 710. The smartphone comes with built-in wireless charging and near-field communication capabilities that make it easier to share content and keep a charge on-the-go. A more sophisticated PureView camera is also included, which Nokia says outperforms any other smartphone camera on the market.
Enhancements were also made to the Lumia's GPS and location technologies, including a new version of Nokia Drive, Nokia's homegrown app for voice-by-voice navigation, which lets users know exactly how long their trip will take based on local traffic reports. Offline maps -- or maps that can be pulled even when the Lumia 920 doesn't have a wireless connection -- are also included, along with a new feature called Nokia City Lens, which lets users point their Lumia 920 camera down any city street to see the names of restaurants, shops and other sites instantly laid over the images.
The new phone also sports tighter integration with Facebook and the capability for users to customize the homescreen and Metro-style "live tiles," a feature Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said yields the most personal mobile experience on the market.
"Today, with Windows Phone 8, we are creating the most personal smartphone experience," Elop told the crowd Wednesday during the launch event. "We started with the ambition that Nokia could build something beautifully different: This is Lumia, the world's most innovative smartphone."