This has been an exciting week for Windows Phone with the long awaited unveiling of the new Nokia devices at Nokia World. There was another update on the rollout of “Mango” with Microsoft confirming that they are removing the filter and that 100% of eligible devices should now receive a notification to install. In addition to that testing is now complete for the LG Optimus 7 on Telefonia is now deliving and the Omnia 7 on Deutsche Telekom is scheduling (this should mean that very soon I’ll get the OEM drivers for my Omnia 7 on T-Mobile UK).
The evening before that event I met up with Garry Whittaker (blog | twitter), from the Digital Lifestyle Show, in London at a Windows Phone User Group meeting and it was great to meet some people from Microsoft and also experience the enthusiasm of developers. There were some prototype demonstrations using the new augmented reality features that developers can now take advantage of with the “Mango” update along with some published developers demonstrating their applications which you can find here and here. If you’re a developer working on Windows Phone then I really recommend you take the time to go to one of these meetings.
Now onto the main event this week when Nokia unveiled both the Nokia Lumia 710 and Nokia Lumia 800 that will be their first two devices running Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango). This is make or break for Nokia and so while the devices are slightly disappointing from a hardware perspective, neither of these devices have front facing cameras for example, there is no doubt that the Lumia 800 looks amazing and is based on the N9 chassis.
I’m sure there will be more devices unveiled over the coming months but for me the arrival of Nokia is more about what they can add to Windows Phone and the sheer volume of marketing that so far has been lacklustre at best. Two of the main additions to Windows Phone, through applications not modifications to the operating system, are Nokia Drive and Nokia Music. The former brings 3D turn-by-turn navigation for free and although it uses online maps these can be downloaded for a pre-planned journey while the latter is a streaming music service with pre-defined “mixes” that can also be downloaded for offline listening. The music service is of particular interest since it is completely free and doesn’t require any subscription. These types of music services normally require a monthly fee and once you stop paying you lose access to the songs and albums you have been listening to.
In terms of marketing Nokia have already been bombarding the UK with adverts, with many of these during peak viewing times, for the Lumia 800 so hopefully awareness of Windows Phone will be increasing. They have completely taken over the Channel 5 website in the UK with their “Amazing Everyday” banners and themes. It feels like Windows Phone has seen more marketing this week than it has in the entire preceding 12 months. It will be interesting to see if this translates into take up when the phones launch on the 16th November. Certainly almost all the UK carriers are offering the devices on various contracts which again is a turn around from the recent drought where most carriers had stopped offering any Windows Phones.
While the Nokia Lumia 800 doesn’t match the specifications of the HTC Titan I’m certain that they will have devices to compete early next year. The real difference in this partnership is that Microsoft and Nokia need each other as unlike other Windows Phone OEM’s, who offer handsets running Android, Nokia will only sell Windows Phone and they need to regain their handset market share and profitability. Microsoft on the other hand need to increase the penetration of Windows Phone which so far has got off to a slow start mainly due to lack of advertising and awareness more than a poorly designed interface (like in the old Windows Mobile days).
What do you think; can Nokia survive and will their presence help increase the uptake of Windows Phones? Let me know in the comments or even better contact TDL Mobile team where this week you stand a chance of winning a copy of DVB Link TVSource Connected Edition.