Lumia 1020 new 'end of life date' and what it all means for Microsoft

Yesterday, @evleaks noted that the Nokia Lumia 1020 with its 41 MP camera is reaching 'end of life' status on September 14, effectively ending the renown camera-phone's run. However, we inquired with some of our sources and learned October 15 as the date Microsoft and their Stores are using for sending back and ending sales of the Lumia 1020. One-month difference though does not change the fact that the Lumia 1020 is indeed reaching its finish.

What EOL means

End of life (EOL) is a common term used in the cellular phone business, and it simply means that the carrier or manufacturer is no longer going to sell that phone after the determined date. It does not, however, necessarily mean that the carrier or manufacturer is stopping support for OS and firmware updates, although it could.

When it comes to the Lumia 1020, at least on AT&T and other carriers, Lumia Cyan and the Windows Phone 8.1 OS are very likely still to be part of the general release schedule, especially considering this EOL is coming after the big 8.1-update. Does it mean the Lumia 1020 is getting Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1? It is too early to tell, though we would put it as likely due to that phone being somewhat high profile.

Why is it EOL?

Devices often come to end of life for two reasons, including (1) they are no longer selling enough to justify continued stock or (2) there is a newer model coming out to replace it.

Those two scenarios above though are independent of each other, so this EOL for the Lumia 1020 does not necessarily mean a 'Lumia 1025' or 'Lumia 1030' is coming out anytime soon. Indeed, so far we have not heard any firm rumors suggesting that is the case. For example, T-Mobile recently EOL'd the Lumia 925 presumably due to lagging sales, and there is no apparent replacement for that phone e.g. the Lumia 930.

Coming back to the Lumia 1020, there is just too little information at this time to infer that this means a newer device is on the horizon though certainly anything is plausible. We do know that Microsoft is supposed to release a new high-end flagship later this year during the holiday time frame (i.e. November and onward) and trimming down stock a month prior does fit nicely into the scenario.

Nokia Lumia 1020

Nokia Lumia 1020 (Image credit: Windows Central)

SIM unlocked Lumia 1020 going to Microsoft Stores

In a related bit of news, and interestingly timed, we are learning that Microsoft Stores are taking stock later this month of black Lumia 1020s that are carrier unlocked. It is unclear what bands the phone can work on, though we assume they may overlap with US LTE bands, similar to the unlocked Lumia 1520.3 variant that has T-Mobile and AT&T LTE support. So while the AT&T version may ride off into the sunset, the Lumia 1020 does have some life left.

Daniel Rubino

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.

  • Sad for my 1020... :(
    BTW, does that mean I won't be able to get the camera grip case for my 1020 after the EOL date?
    Edit: This wasn't a noob question... The replies are hilarious. I just wanted to confirm whether or not accessories will be available officially after the EOL date.
  • It's only sad for people who don't buy it before EOL.
  • My money would be on there being an upgraded device available after the 1020 hits its EOL, because it is still technologically the best camera phone available. Therefore, if there was no better phone to supercede it then it costs Microsoft little (or nothing) to keep selling the device as a flagship phone.  The 41Mp sensor definitely gets the Lumia range a lot of free media coverage and the other unique camera features are also strong pulls. As to what is the replacement I have no idea though, if they could make it slimmer it would appeal to a few more, other upgrades such as a faster processor, a better battery life or 1080P(*)/larger screen may appeal to some, but none of them would be good enough reasons for most to swap from their current 1020's.  So assuming my guess is right then I am very interested to see what Microsoft/Nokia have planned.   (*) Definitely not a feature I would pay money for, but it seems to have appeal...
  • Uhm no... you still be able to buy one.
  • It doesn't matter. After EOL your 1020 won't work at all. All of the accessories for it will magically disappear on Oct 15th as well.
  • The 1020's will self-destruct, taking the lives of their respective owners and destroying any accessories along with them. Otherwise it would surely be called End of Sale, not End of Life? LOGIC!
  • ^^^Lol. This was what I was going to say but you beat me to it.
  • And your camera roll will get exposed to light and all your photos will be ruined, so you better develop them super-quick..!
  • Just in case, get one. They will either get cheap or extremelly pricy I want a wireless case charger but MS store is out of them and I've heard amazon sellers only sell cheap versions of them :/ A local seller has, but I think he sells them for like 75$ >: (
  • Hope this means cheaper off-contract 1020s for everyone =)
  • I am afraid it might get more expensive as its harder to get then. I don't understand the fuss about the eol, didn't the Lumia 620, 720, 920 and 820 go eol a while ago?! As far as I know the 520 went EOL recently too! Those still get cyan and more is underway anyway. We are not talking Android here where EOL means the death of everything related to a device.
  • Well, if it's not carrier tied, it should still receive OS updates, WP8.5 wp9.0 or whatever.  or with the developer preview it should, as it is just an OS update, regardless of the phone or model. However firmware updates are phone specific, obviously the Cyan update already out for the 925 is not compatible with my 920.  This is where EOL might come in place, where Microsoft might see as a waste of resources to work on an update specific for a phone that is already out of the market.
  • Seems badly ...
  • Seems trolling
  • Seems slower
  • 1030
  • 1030!!!
  • I hope it means the 60MP quad core 1080p replacement is on its way...
  • Or optical zoom?
  • plz no.
  • Why not?
  • there will be even huge bold back of the phone if this happens lol so NO :) i have NL1020 ^^
  • I'd agree with you. Optical zoom (albeit without a thick zooming lens like on the Samsung camera "phones") would be preferential to more and smaller pixels, which would only introduce noise.
  • The galaxy k is a bit 'phone'... The s4 zoom was disgusting. Saw a woman on a call with that s4 zoom... She was talking with a digital camera... That phone is so bad. Maybe Nokia could implement it in a better way.
  • Is that why Galaxy Zoom demolished the1020 in all benchmarks around the world? /s
  • At the same time the Nikon D800 obliterated the Lumia 1020, and the Nikon has zoom! I... I thought we were doing completely ridiculous and meaningless comparisons here? Were we not? The Galaxy Zoom was never a serious competition to the Lumia 1020 in terms of mobile photography, but optical zoom could still be a massive improvement to mobile photography if executed correctly.
  • With cannon technology too
  • yea CANON! microsoft made deal with :D +1020
  • no, I want 90mp, 16-core 5GHz, 16GB-RAM, CD/DVD-ROM, 4K-resolution 6,8" screen, 1120mAh Battery or less Li-Pol , and Android 6.0 CocaCola Light, and laggy touchwiz
  • Only 1120mAh?
  • It will run like 5 minutes 
  • long enough to make you cry in pain
  • Are we still talking about the battery ?
  • Yes :D
  • no, Android 6.0 and TouchJizz
  • wait.......16 GB or you missed a 0 there?
  • You'll need a perpetual charging solution for a battery that massive.
  • I want opera browser for my Lumia :'(
  • Yeah, that would be rad!
  • Hell, I'd be happy with the exact same imaging module, but tied to a 5" screen with 1080, latest Snapdragon and expandable storage. I love the pictures from my 1020 but the two things that really bug me about it are how long it can take to get going sometimes, and how limiting 32 gb can be when you're shooting dng.
  • Yes! This!!!!
  • Agree completely and to be honest the phone you are describing will most probably be almost exactly what we will be getting in the 1020 successor. Expect the exact same camera sensor but with more advanced algorithms and software enhancements.... Oh yea and expect it late... As in 2015 late....
  • Quad core 2.5 GHz at least to keep up with the flagships from other platforms
  • like iphone does ?
  • My iphone loving friend told me that Apple uses dual core processors instead of quad core processors because they make the OS so much more efficient... Yes. He really said that. Incidentally, the iphone 5s costs £840 in the UK, simply because they use dual core.
  • It's a 64-bit man its faster than the quad core 2.5ghz from gs5
  • Sorry dude, implementing 64 bit doesn't make it any faster than its competition; they only used the 64 bit thing to make their sheep (who think themselves more tech savvy than they are) buy their latest gear.  The iPhones don't have any software (other than maybe the OS) that can actually take advantage of it.  64 bit, like 32 bit before it, is used to allow larger applications to use more memory without it lagging.  For example, if a 64 bit application is used on a machine running a 32 bit OS (we're pretending this is possible), it would make the computer slower.  The bigger number doesn't mean it's better.  On the flip side, if we were to run a 32 bit program on a 64 bit machine, it would take less memory up than a 64 bit program would.  Technically speaking there is only one real reason to optimise existing software like Adobe Creative Suite for 64 bit, and that is literally just to optimise it by allowing it to use more memory.  The point I'm trying to make is that I'm not even sure if the iPhones currently have more than 1GB (last time I checked it was only 1GB).  4GB is the limit of the 32 bit architecture, so even if they did have software on the phones that could take advantage of the 64 bit architecture, it would slow the phone down more because the software is trying to use more memory on the device than it should be allowed to.  Hope I helped someone in some way.
  • But why its faster than the gs5?? , check PhoneBuff iPhone5s vs galaxy s5 and you'll see
  • Because the GS5 runs android.  Android is completely free for vendors to use and that's why they use it.  Google doesn't have to put much effort into it because they don't make any real money off it really, whereas iOS is pretty much the only thing that makes iPhones stand out in the market. Apple have more resources than Google do, and are completely closed, whereas Google allow the various companies (Samsung and HTC, etc.) to take their OS and add their own stuff on top of it.  So the OS you get is a shell on top of a base.  The only reason the Samsung phones have a quad core processor is because the OS is so damn useless.  Apple just have a more streamlined OS, so they don't put that much effort into their hardware.
  • Wooohaaa haha keep on dreaming buddy!
  • Does this mean that L920 and L925 won't get Cyan?
  • Until an announcement is made one way or the other this doesn't mean anything at all for the 920 and 925.
  • Huh? What in the world leads you to believe that they won't, based on this article?
  • Cyan comes with 8.1 and ALL WP8 devices will get 8.1
  • This makes sense. Thanks.
  • Even to the HTC 8S?
  • Does the Lumia 810 still count as a WP8 device? The whole world acts like that phone never even existed.
  • if not then why 925 in finland got 8.1 update already... :P
  • "especially considering this EOL is coming after the big 8.1-update" Maybe WP8.1 is coming after the EOL. WP8.1 don't have an true date =/
  • It will be in the hands of the carriers before the EOL date.
  • I shattered my White 1020's screen not even a month ago. I love that phone though, so I'm probably going to have the screen replaced regardless.
  • Just another indicator of WP weakness in the high range market.
  • I don't think the EOL of a dated niche phone is indicative of anything apart from its age and prominence in the market.
  • Nicely said.
  • This has more to do with Nokia being a poor manufacture by only promoting their flagship to one carrier, not windows phone.
  • More like US exclusivity BS. Why can't carriers in USA be like everyone else in the world?
  • There has to be new phone to,replace it.
    Common microsoft, what the hack has happen to you guys, we have good OS and seams like the partners, developers and OEM are so lethargic and stubborn for not taking product as an,Integral phenomena to outcast android and iOS and we are like turtles and 100x slower to respond then,Android and iOS. This is natural that we all,are doomed right now by anticipating the future!
  • 1020 was a good phone, but I'm afraid its niche appeal is what caused its EOL. Oh and maybe the price tag at first when it came out. Hopefully we see a 1030 with the same camera. I would rather them do a 1030 in a 5.3inch phone and then a 1530 in the 6 inch phone profile, both 41MP cameras. I think 41MP is high enough for MP as you've noticed, no other company has tried to get closer to that than Sony at its 20.7 MP Z1. The 1030 or whatever just needs a faster processor and faster speed to take pictures and focus.
  • Not to mention a bigger battery or that new battery tech that Microsoft has been planning about. Also maybe a slimmer hump would help as well, alot of people I talked to would love to get the 1020 for the camera alone but the darn thing is to thick for the average person.
  • Well the hump is a limit of physics. For a given sensor size you have to have the front lens a certain distance away from the sensor in order for it to focus correctly. The larger the sensor the more distance you have to have. You ever wonder why you will never see an SLR that doesn't have a long lens hanging off the front? That's why. They could make the sensor smaller but that would reduce quality and introduce more noise to the image. There has been some research into things like meta-materials that don't behave like normal materials with light. They have promise of being able to drop a larger sensor, maybe even something the size of micro 4/3, into a device that the size of your phone. Imagine a phone with pictures that really start to approach entry-level SLR quality. They'll never reach it probably since a quality SLR lens can easily run two or three times the price of a smartphone off contract.
  • Its screen resolution wasn't as good as it shouldve been. Would've been nicer if they would've waited for 1080i support
  • Agreed. Increase picture speed, add SD card, done.
  • I heard Oppo were looking to go to a 50mp shooter. Personally, I would stick with a Nokia.
  • Bottom line. I think as an all rounder, the 1020 cannot be beat. Whatever Microsoft's reason for eol are neither hear nor there. The phone has beautiful build quality, it may be thicker than most smartphones, but it's not unwieldy. And it's carrying the business end of camera phones too. It's processor may be older, but it's not bad, or slow. Just lag when taking photos, I can live with that. It's small enough to fit in my pocket, I use office seamlessly, and it has all my bases covered. I could afford a 1520 or even 930, but I chose the 1020 instead. I also have a galaxy note 3 running a second line for me. The two phones are basically my 'office'. The 1020 is brilliant, and in many ways it's an acquired taste.
  • Totally with you on that buddy! Love my 1020 and will probably be using it long after even the 930 reaches EOL.
  • I love it too, but I got the 920. In terms of design, I far prefer the 1020.
  • The 1020 is really only a generation away from being the perfect phone for me. All it needs is an upgraded processor; Snapdragon 801 or 805 should be a no brainer with those chips' imaging p