#AskDanWindows Episode 3 - Is Microsoft abandoning high-megapixel phones?

It is Friday evening here in the US, so it is time for another episode of #AskDanWindows. This is our new web show where I field interesting questions submitted by you folks on Twitter.

This week, I am tackling numerous topics, including Band 2 availability, the promise of Project Astoria and carrier support for Windows Phone. Let's get to it!

#AskDanWindows Episode 3

  • Will Microsoft Band 2 be available in other countries? - @DMaskerboy
  • Do you think MS Mobile is abandoning super­high Megapixel devices like Lumia 1020? - @TheSchmed
  • Do you think there is anything in the rumor that next phones will include a retina scanner? - @mikehole
  • What do you think about #ProjectAstoria and do you think Snapchat will give it a try? - @CasperSvensrud
  • Why doesn't Microsoft release the same phones to all carriers? They would get much bigger customer base & more $$$ - @nambiguazu

Thanks to everyone who submitted a question even if I did not have time to answer! Do you have a question for me? Ask it on Twitter using the hashtag #AskDanWindows and maybe we'll pick yours for our next episode!

Daniel Rubino
Editor-in-chief

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

213 Comments
  • Who's asking these questions?! I love em.
  • Us ;)
  • @Daniel I would really love to have WC podcasts ... :)
  • And no Eid wishes to WC readers.. ? .. :/
  • What?
  • You mean "What is Eid?" ? :)
  • Yes, obviously, that was implied by saying, "what?" So no, what i mean is what. What what what. Yet you still didn't answer the question.
  • Woah stop hating.
    Btw Eid al-Fitr is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.
    Source: Wikipedia
  • I don't think they fast. Changing their eating time yes. In place of eating in the day, they now eat at night.
  • Oho.. 14 hours of fasting in the day time.. 24-14=10 hours.. We are left with 10 hours... Consider atleast 4 hours of sleep... 10-4= 6 hours ... During fasting season our stomach is not growing so that we can consume a lot of food.. There is no way we can consume 3 times heavy food within that 6 hours.. So i would like to know how your calculation went... ;)
    ( some places in Europe fasting time is 18-20 hours .. Consider that as well ) :)
  • Didn't heard that before. We call it "Ramadan holiday" in Turkey
  • They don't want to do them because the immature fanboys on this site have a brain aneurism every time they use the Google+ streaming (despite the fact that if they listened to the podcasts, you'll hear Daniel ripping on the service every episode). I suggested XSplit, but that's apparently not a viable option.
  • Ohh.. I didnt knew that.. But i did see Daniel mentioning Podcast few days before.. I dont remember clearly
  • Yup. Having said that, we still want to bring it back and we have plans. Mark and I still need to set up a proper office/studio up here in MA and once we do that, we'll have more options/abilities to do something more than a basic podcast.
  • Ohh.. All the best for that.. Will be waiting :)
  • عيدكم مبارك وكل عام وانتم بخير
  • Eid Mubarak Yasar and to WC!
  • Eid al Fitr Mubarak ya'll.
  • :)
  • I hope they don't abandon 6"-6"+ devices.... That would suck.
  • Then this year it's gonna suck for you.. :p but may be there will be other OEMs flagship with 6"+ display..
  • I'd be happy with 5.7-6 but there has to be some sort of "phablet".
  • Screen size under 7" will get Windows10Mobile .. So if any OEM releases a tablet under or equal to 7" , that will automatically become a phablet.. Hope you can consider those like phablets that you are talking about :)
  • If they give it phone capabilities at 7", then its a phablet for sure, but 7" is way too big for a phablet in my opinion. I'd like to stay around the size of the 1520.
  • I do believe Windows 10 Mobile does allow OEMs to disable the Phone and Messaging apps and make WiFi only devices. Well, Microsoft is supposedly working on it, according to screenshots leaked months ago. Nothing is set in stone, but they are developing it. Which makes sense, as this would enable OEMs to ship WiFi-only small tablets and iPod Touch-esque devices. To my knowledge, anyways, so somebody feel free to come along and slap me if I'm wrong.
  • Rodneyej, considering that currently no U.S. cellular carrier has agreed to sell the forthcoming Cityman 5.7-inch flagship, it doesn't look optimistic for us Lumia 1520 owners who desire a true "phablet" flagship for WP10. I just cannot believe that Microsoft may release only ONE flagship device this fall to support the launch of Win10 Mobile. Makes no sense to exclude an important subset of Windows Phone fans who want a large screen flagship.
  • Heard that news and hopped over to an eBay nexus 6 ... They clearly don't understand the flagship game.
  • Considering that the Cityman hasn't been officially released that might be why no carrier has agreed to sell it..
  • 5" or 5.2" with hardly any bezel is the max suitable for pockets and general use. That's what I want to see.
  • Heard that news and hopped over to an eBay nexus 6 ... They clearly don't understand the flagship game.
  • Meh, I'll buy it from the MS store if it comes to that (TMOUS is SOOOOOOO not likely to carry it based on prior history) I will miss the WIFI calling but I've only had it on 2 devices and it rarely worked seamlessly as it should (you couldn't switch back and forth as needed without losing the call).  I don't know if any of that's changed since I was rocking a 1520.3 until a week ago (sad face during w10) :(
  • Microsoft will essentially copy Apple, like they've been doing since 2009 with the release of WP. Cortana and the 1020 were the last differentiators they had and now they're gone. Without a 1020 successor WP will be boring.
  • Yes, my dream was a 1520 with 1020 41MP high dynamic range sensor...
    I'm starting to believe that nadella is a very bad ceo for ms and is making too much mistakes
    Cameraphones were an exclusive of lumia brand
    and nadella even with engineers Like alakharu killed cameraphones....
    This man is doing too much mistakes
  • Camera-phones were a NOKIA thing, not a Lumia or a Windows Phone thing. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Yeah I was thinking about that too!! :)
  • You trollboys crack me up with your nonsense =)
  • I can't tell much of a difference between cropped images of the 1520 and 1020, so I believe there are diminishing returns on the amount of detail that can be focused with cell phone lenses. It would make more sense to stick with 20 Mp until some advancement in other areas happens.
  • This. The market honestly doesn't care that much about high mega pixels phones and above 20 MP it really doesn't matter much to the average consumer. Resources would be better spent on post processing. There's a reason people think iPhone pictures look better, and its not the 8 MP camera.
  • I would prefer them to update the FPS, 20 MP is perfectly fine and very good either way. I'd like some slow-mo capability, maybe 120 FPS, if they can push it to 240, great! Either way, the camera will still probably be very good if not better considering how much Nokia prided the phones on imagery tech. I think MS has to carry that forward.
  • The market? Speak for yourself!!!
  • I know, right!  I wanted a Lumia 1020.  And I'm still hoping they release a replacement.  I heard what Daniel stated about the Lumia 1020 not selling well.  Here's the deal.  I would have purchased 3 had it been releases on Tmobile.  It wasn't.  It was only on AT&T.  As a TMobile customer I was starving for a great Lumia device.  But nothing!  I got the Luma 810 and I didn't upgrade my family phones because there really isn't anything worth upgrading too.  And yes, I've seen the 640 and everything else in between but none of those devices conjure up any feeling of MUST haves... for me.
  • And it was underpowered even two years ago...!
  • I would've purchased a 1020 on day #1 if it had microSD. A dedicated camera-phone without microSD was the single most boneheaded decision for that device. I'm going on a long holiday in a couple of weeks and I will be taking 4 microSD cards.. 2 x 32 GB and 2 x 64 GB. There's no way I want to run out of space in the middle of my trip!
  • Agree a 1520 with 1020 camera should be a best seller
  • The Iphone photos look better? ahhahaha
  • The actually do. Apple, while their optics are mediocre, has incredible post processing. This of course stems from the fact they design all the hardware and write all the software, so there's optimization along every step of the way. That's why iPhones take surprisingly good photos with so little effort on the user's part. You can take dozens of photos a second and they'll look fantastic. Yes, Lumia PureView devices have far, FAR better optics, but the automatic image processing is only mediocre. You have to know how to to adjust the settings to unlock your PureView's true potential, in my opinion. That's not a bad thing (it's true foe everything out there, where being knowledgeable in manual beats auto), but the iPhone is definitely a device where anyone, regardless of their photography expertise, can just pick it up and immediately take great photos without much effort. So if we could combine Nokia's stunning optics and Apple's processing prowess: You'd probably have phones that could take photos that see into other dimensions, haha.
  • I agree. Apple does some great work with their cameras.
  • The market cares only which phone is being used by Kardashian and West to take selfies... and which netbook/tablet is used by Kevin Spacey in House of Cards... and here where Microsoft is failing: good marketing/product placement...
  • That's not true. If that were the case, BlackBerry would have the highest market share. Kim Kardashian loves BlackBerry. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • If you really think that's all it takes to sell a phone I have a bridge to sell you. I guess all those Microsoft executives simply haven't figured out, after 5 years, that the secret to success is placement in House of Cards, placement that Apple famously doesn't even pay for.
  • you dont watch much tv, surface pros and windows phones everywhere
  • I have both and the difference is very clear. Overall clarity, ability to zoom, coloring, low lighting, etc. I would hope they don't abandon 1020-like hero phones. Otherwise the cameras are no better than competitors
  • It looks like that I have to keep my L1020 for a long while to backup my L940XL.  Satya wants MS to build killer phones which can provide differentialtor and stand out.  L1040 is an ideal candidate.
  • This! I am a happy 1520 owner, but my wife's 1020 photos certainly blow mine away, particularly when the xenon comes into play! I'm crossing my fingers that the triple LED will even things out some, but I doubt it'll be a true worthy substitute...
  • I miss my 1020. There was some hardware issues with it and they gave me a Lumia 830 instead. That camera was so awesome, this 830 camera looks like a toy camera in comparison.
  • See if you're into really high-quality pictures and that's 90% of what you want in a phone, then sure the 1020 is excellent (There were issues with green colouring when it was released, but I expect those are fixed now). My point is that there aren't enough people like you to make the investment worth it. If cameras mattered as much the 1020 would have sold like hotcakes. But it was slow, and it was on Windows Phone ergo no one bought it. We need more people on our platform before we can start justifying investing money on niche features.
  • What I want to know is whether Microsoft is keeping the camera tech team.
    Nokia were at the forefront of this I gather.
    If they can maintain the lead, perhaps they can at least continue to create the cameras and licence them to Windows OEM's. Camera is a major differentiator still in mobile.
    Dan, do you know?
  • @Letros New glasses ;)
    My wife's 1520 isn't even close to my 1020 regarding cropping and zooming
  • Then the objective is clear: make the improvements in the other areas if the MP of the camera doesn't matter. A camera phone doesn't need to be all slim and trim like a ordinary phone. It can be chunkier to allow for better camera parts, batteries and internals. People who want a 1020 successor aren't looking for "good enough", they're looking for the absolute best camera that has a cell phone built in, and they want that phone to be Windows. There's no need to talk about being limited by cell phone lenses when the technology can be made to expand what is the 'norm'. A phone as such is definintely niche, but it's a functional niche and not just a gee-whiz phone.
  • Why is Dan waiting for the train? Why doesn't Dan wear a Microsoft band but instead is wearing an old watch?
    Who is taking these pictures?
    Why is Dan wearing sunglasses on a cloudy day?
    A baby blue Lumia, really?
  • That looks like a Microsoft band on his other wrist.
  • trivial much ?
  • Why are you asking so many questions?
  • Fellas...hes kidding obv...get the humour and move on... :/
  • True. I love Dan. I'm a big fan. Just giving him crap so his head doesn't get too big.
  • The answer is simple. You see Dan is a real person, and not a Microsoft mannequin. Therefore he he commutes if he needs to and wears what he wants to.
  • There are a movie called 'dan in real life'... ;-) good one.
  • Nist.. Why do you exist? You fundamental existence on this world is an undiscovered piece of trivia yet to be disclosed. What are the we doing here NIST on earth? Whats our cause? Why do we wear clothes NIST? WHY do we have to poop? Can you guess if I wear a Microsoft Band?
  • I am naked.
  • Because reasons.
  • And why is he using Kim Jong-Il's haircut?
    Are they related?
    What's going on here? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Lol
  • Nice to listen that carrier exclusivity is now over for Microsoft's flagships, this damaged a lot of WP marketshare in the past 2 years since Nokia made exclusivity deals with AT&T and Verizon. This was also true on other countries where the Nokia Lumia 1020 was only sold with a data plan. Having the Lumia 940 and 940XL unlocked gives these devices the same starting points than the upcoming Apple and Samsung devices announced for Fall 2014. Lets hope Microsoft flagship phones can be sold in many many countries, and not just on developed markets.
  • It effectively screwed the 930... I would've gotten that phone if it had been on AT&T. Well, we'll see what comes our way soon.
  • Agreed bro
  • Honestly what i've noticed is a lot of developing countries have a lot of interest in WP. Per say; India, and Pakistan really likes the low end phones like 520. WP made great sales in that respect.
  • "What do you think about #ProjectAstoria and do you think Snapchat will give it a try? - @CasperSvensrud" Well, Terry said that Win10 will have an Android subsystem, which means you can run a APK file directly without having to recompile anything. With objective-c projects, you'd have to open them in VS first and recompile. What this means is that if snapchat doesn't use any special APIs, we can just download the APK and run snapchat without any modification. This is good news, because I kind of miss getting funny and gross WTF-pics from my friends. But let's hope snapchat actually posts the app on the store themselves via astoria or islandwood.
  • Does Windows 10 mobile future plans are to have an Android subsystem?  Maybe you should post a link to the tweet which explains that.
  • I don't think this is correct, at Build conference they explained how it worked and it does require a recompile of the code to run on Windows 10.
  • Exactly. It requires a recompile - it does the API remaping by it self, but not al APIs are supported. This is the reason it runs less jarring than it did on BB - because it will use WP services, keyboards and sys APIs. It still looks that iOS ports work better - especialy for custom UI stuff (Candy crush works as good if not better than on iOS - and better than on a comparable Android).
  • You know, for the better of the app ecosystem, I say yes to snapchat. Not because I use snapchat (complete waste of thumb power, you don't even use your brain) but it's what's gonna get our market share to go up (getting more apps, not only snapchat). Seems monotonous, but then it comes to choosing an OS that's finally complete, and then windows phone can compete. And things look to be going that way.
  • I can't see Astoria bringing Snapchat to Windows Phone.  Snapchat isn't even in the Amazon app store, and all that needs done for that is submitting the existing Play Store app to Amazon.  Regardless of how good Astoria is, the code is going to need at least some minimal tweaking to get working on Windows.  If Snapchat can't even be bothered the half hour job of submitting the app to Amazon, they're not going to bother recoding the notifications or whatever on Windows.
  • Not entirely true. Snapchat uses some of Google's proprietary APIs that are only available in the closed part of Android, as opposed to AOSP. Try to run Snapchat on FireOS or BB10 and it won't let you.
    That being said, if Microsoft replicates every API that is used, you actually could just recompile.
  • I certainly hope they don't abandon the high megapixel phones. After all this is one of the reasons many choose lumia. It would suck to have lower megapixels to choose from.  Don't become htc 
  • Considering the flagships are rumored at 20mp... I don't think there's any worry for an Ultrapixel fiasco that HTC went through.  I'd say 20MP is more than enough for smartphone grade point and shoot. 
  • No. I disagree a phone Like 1520 with a 1020 sensor should be wonderful!
  • I would rather see Microsoft pick a common high resolution sensor across all the devices to guarantee good support. Each sensor requires lot's of code tweaking to improve image quality, by them sticking to a single resolution like 20MP it allows them to focus all their resources on that one Sensor. Apple has been using the same 8MP sensor for several models, and that has worked well for them, so I don't see why they need to go over 20MP to be competitive. At this phase it's important that Microsoft compete efficiently with fast dev cycles rather than a plethora of different camera options which would certainly slow them down.
  • I don't see the big deal in tweaking codes to support high resolution megapixels up to 41MP other than laziness. Lumia 1020 is an edge device worthy of a successor with improved core/processing power. I got the N808, 1020 and I just think my Lumia 930 is inferior in image quality
  • Me too. Microsoft keeps pushing me towards Android. First they killed off all that was great with WM to give us the lackluster WP7 in its place. When WP 7.5 was released I left my Tilt 2 for a Quantum. Then they killed off keyboards. I left my Quantum for a 1020. Now they're killing off zoom cameras. I loathe Google, but if Microsoft continues down the path of removing key features what else is a guy to do?
  • Microsoft needs to put more effort in marketing and publishing... They don't do much of that, and the few things I've seen are quite simple (good, though)... I don't believe they think how I (WP user) feel when others talk about iOS, they feel they're great with their iPhones and make me feel kind of less (even though I love WP and I know it's better to me)... I want at least one moment when I can feel truly proud of my OS and make those guys feel less...
  • Show them a raw 40.1 megapixel photo (this is a very large file) taken using a Lumia 1020 in a park which has a lot of people in the background, they will be surprised about how deep you can zoom in. No iPhone 6 or Galaxy S6 Edge is capable of this detail in the zoom. But as Dan says, both Apple and Samsung are not interested in making their phones reach this level of zoom in their pictures, they are now focusing on other technologies for their camera's like 120FPS on 1080p 60FPS on 2160p, etc.
  • Look at it this way, Nokia got 4K recording (2160p 30 FPS) by pushing out a firmware update. MS has it in them to push it even more and let's hope they can, especially with newer hardware considering the 1520 and 930 are both 2 yrs old.
  • I'm actually more impressed by high-FPS recording than high-rez recording; for still pictures, it's the converse.  I'm *still* waiting for a price dive on a 1020 just so I can buy one for the camera.
  • I feel the same way buddy. Im still counting down on the day nearing windows 10 mobile. Hopefully it'll attract more developers. It should hopefully be then considered by many.
  • As long as we keep 20 megapixel cameras and expandable storage. I hate how the new iPhones and the S6 (took away expandable storage) but upped the internal storage. I like to have both.
  • That's one of the reasons why the LG G4 is superior to both those devices. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I agree.
  • The news I welcomed the most is ... being able to put my sim ( AT&T ) in any phone and it will work ... and ... The 1020 will not be upgraded soon, but It's not out of the question. This is really great news In my opinion.
  • Agreed
  • People will buy phones if you spend more on marketing.
  • Really crushed that there aren't any plans for an updated 1020, a rumored 1030/1040 with XL versions available. I LOVE my 1020's camera, and literally the only strike I have against it is that it's old hardware, and doesn't benefit from all the imaging improvements of newer chipsets.
  • Nothing takes photos like the 1020. Nothing
  • My eyes take better photos
  • They don't actually, you just post process like hell.
  • I know right, first you got to flip the image, then adjust contrast, exposer ect and you eyes have masssive burry around the edges, its only in middle you get all that high res
  • Dan doesn't work for Microsoft, he has sources but ms isn't under any obligation to tell dan what's coming. The specs of the 1050 and 950 are so close you probally could tell them Apart if you saw them form the front in person. Besides if dan had ine right now he wouldn't tell us as he's a professional ans will protect his relationships eith his sources, calm down I rather believe evleaks when he said its coming.
  • I put the sensor on my L1020 to good use.  It would be a significant loss of differentiation for Lumias not to aim for the highest performance camera they can on their top end "Camera Phone".  With the wide angle that people seem to love on their phones the ability to deep zoom is a really important feature.
  • I honestly mean no offence, but certain words in Dan's accent do make me chuckle... I've heard other Americans pronounce 'niche' as 'nitch' before, but I've never noticed anyone else pronounce 'Mark-rosoft' in that way before... :) These videos were a great idea BTW!
  • Not Dan specific, but the moble instead of mo-bile and no-kia instead of knock-ear, they always puzzled me. Not hating on anyone's language. The moble one I just cannot fathom.
  • No one in the USA says "mo-byul". We all say "moble". It's not just Dan. Many people call them "cell phones" even.
  • Yeah, I know. It wasn't a dig at any of you. Just baffles me. The Knockier thing too is a puzzle, but much easier to understand.
  • It's pronounced Knock-ya ;) Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Well then bloody learn how to pronounce properly! There's an 'i' in there. This is herbs all over again... (My comment is a joke, obviously. Although I'd like Americans to start pronouncing words as Britain intended them to be pronounced, I understand it's normal for former colonies to tweak and change the languages they inherited one they become independent and start following their own cultural path) Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Surely you realize that language is an ever evolving part of human societies, and that even the British don't always pronounce things "properly."
  • Haha yeah... niche rhymes with quiche! :) They also ignore the 'e' in mobile and say 'mo-bull' instead of 'mo-bile' :P
  • Did you cut your hair by putting a broken blow on your your head then cut along then lines?
  • ... Not very nice.
  • Real question, have you heard anything from the inside of Microsoft about the cost of the upcoming highend flagship Lumia's?
  • Garry i guess you wouldn't be so rude In front of Dan...it's easier to be like that in your confortable little room and behind your keyboard. Plus, I see Dan is doing
    Nice workouts, (surely thanks to the Band) and sure he is a quiet and calm person, but I wouldn't push him too much with such useless comments
  • Lol!!!
  • you guess wrong  
  • roflmao
  • Maybe he got a hair virus
  • Bwahaha can't help but laugh...the notion of doing something like that itself is funny...! xD
  • I know that was rude but.. LOL!!! Dan, dont respond to such posts man. But yeah i will use this one someday hahhaha!!
  • Looks like that's what you did with yours.
  • Gary, that's not humorous, that rude and mean. Stop please.
  • This topic isn't about discussions of hairstyles. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • So, those are still holding out for a follow up to the 1020, that's the answer: for now, it's not in the pipeline.    
  • I've heard reports of a 1040 coming early next year. Was bummed to hear Dan say it's not so. Bummed also about so many people here saying 20 MP is enough. Why so eager to play it safe? Playing it safe is boring and almost never works out well.
  • 100% agree
  • Hah, you've seen the phones. You sneak!
  • I'm sure he has. Or if not, then he has been given a clear idea of the design and possibly a render.
  • I remember a recent internal Microsoft email quoted on I think Bloomberg as saying "hero phones like the 1020" will be pushed in the near future
  • I personally think the road map is workable.
  • Death to windows phone /mobile. Or death to the still born ?
  • When new wp tp build is coming?
  • 29
  • Hope you would answer my question which is been answered yesterday
  • I can rock my 1020 a year longer. It'll get Windows Mobile 10 so no rush. I'm in no hurry to fork out $600 again. Plus the absurdly high per month rates for a decent data plan here in Canada.