Nokia’s Lumia 820: a mid-range alternative to the 920

5 Sep 2012

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As well as its new feature-filled Windows Phone 8 flagship smartphone, Nokia has also announced the Lumia 820, a mid-range model that will appeal to those with tighter budgets.

It’s 18 months since partnering with Microsoft, and Nokia has today launched two new smartphone handsets running on the new Windows Phone 8 operating system. For those who don’t feel the need for the extensive functionality (and the likely much higher price tag) that comes with the new Nokia Lumia 920, the Finnish phone manufacturer has also launched the Lumia 820.

The 820 has the same look and feel as the high-end Lumias, and comes with some of the same features as the 920, such as built-in NFC, digital lens apps, and advanced Nokia locations services.

The 4.3-inch display is housed in a colourful shell that can be easily switched out for a new colour – red, yellow, grey, cyan, purple, white, or black – with some of these shells offering wireless charging capability.

Nokia Lumia 820 with Windows Phone 8

As it’s a Windows Phone 8 device, users can expect to see pre-loaded Microsoft Office apps and Internet Explorer 10, while the new start screen has animated live tiles that offer real-time updates. Users will also be able to sync their 820 or 920 across all Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 and even Xbox devices that they own.

The 820 features a 1,650mAh battery and comes with a microSD slot for added storage. Both smartphones will come in pentaband LTA and HSPA+ variants and, though specific details on pricing and release have yet to be announced, we expect to see them shipping later this year.

Nokia’s Windows Phone 8 opportunity

Windows Phone has thus far struggled to compete in a market dominated by iOS and Android, but the launch of the latest Windows Phone 8 devices could mark a turning point for Microsoft. “Despite recent gains, Windows Phone is not yet performing to Ovum’s expectations,” said Tony Cripps, principal analyst at Ovum commenting on the Lumia launch.

“This is, at least, partially as a consequence of the strength of the opposition, but partly, we think, as a deliberate move by Microsoft and its hardware partners to avoid flooding the market too quickly with the platform before they are in a position to play up its synergies with other Microsoft products, especially Windows 8 for PCs and tablets, and its business applications. The clear benefits to businesses from the ready integration possible across Microsoft’s products set will set a benchmark for BYOD strategies focused on out-of-box device capabilities once Microsoft’s full range of new platforms is available.”

Launching now is also timely for Nokia, while smartphone heavyweight Samsung is hitting roadblocks. “There could be also a real opportunity here for Nokia and Microsoft to exploit any shortage of Samsung’s Android-powered smartphones in the market following the US court ruling against the Korean giant in its patent dispute with Apple, although anything too blatant on that front would seem like a low blow,” said Cripps.

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Elaine Burke is managing editor of Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com