Photo: Illustration: Ellis Hamburger
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop talked to Reuters this morning about why customers who have an Apple or Android phone will suddenly switch over to the Nokia-Windows Phone ecosystem.His answers weren’t very convincing. Here’s what they boil down to:
- Design. Elop thinks that the Nokia Lumia, which features bright colours, is the first phone to be designed to work with the Windows Phone software. “What we showed was the first REAL Windows phone because we took the design sensibilities of the platform and embodied them in the actual device.”
- Unique services. “In the cost of your Nokia Lumia device you get a full personal navigation device with full 3D turn-by-turn navigation….Same is true on music, where right out of the box, without signing up for anything, without filling out any credit card information or whatever, you can immediately go select a mix of music and immediately begin listening to tunes.” He didn’t mention the built-in ESPN app, which will let users pin favourite teams and scores to the home screen (for instance.)
The design point is matter of opinion. There are plenty of good-looking Windows Phones from other providers — the Samsung Focus that Microsoft sent us to test out is plenty beautiful — and those didn’t convince users to switch. Making the phones in a variety of bright colours doesn’t seem like enough of a big deal.
And in fact, the Lumia has at least one glaring gap compared with the latest iPhone and (many) Android phones: no front-facing camera. That means that whenever Microsoft adds Skype to the Windows Phone software, these phones won’t be able to use it!
(The likely reason: the Lumia 800 has three “soft buttons” on the front to meet Microsoft’s Windows Phone design specs. The Nokia N9 — which the 800 closely resembles — didn’t need those buttons, so had room for a front-facing camera, even though it was in an odd place, on the lower-right corner of the phone.)
The services aren’t that great either. Google offers a free app — Google Maps Navigation — for Android phones that does the same thing as the navigation service, and the music service is just like Pandora but with fewer songs available.
The real story here is that Nokia is relying on Microsoft to do most of the heavy lifting.
The only reason to buy a Nokia phone is if you like the Windows Phone software better than Android or iOS.