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The Nokia Lumia Icon and 930 do not have Glance, here’s why

The Nokia Lumia 930 announced during Build is in many the perfect Lumia. There are just two features that are missing that may keep it from being the best Windows Phone on the market: no micro SD card and no Glance screen.

The lack of a micro SD card is perhaps not that bad, considering that the Lumia 930 ships with 32 GB of internal storage. Despite the grumbles in comments here about this missing feature, most regular people actually do quite fine with 32 GB. Glance though is a bit different. Much like the Lumia Icon on Verizon, the Lumia 930 will also not have Glance. It’s an odd omission, for sure.

Yesterday we sat down with Nokia though and were able to ask why that is. Here’s what we learned.

The problem with the Nokia Icon/930 and running Glance comes down to the display type. No, it’s not the AMOLED technology (the Lumia 928 proves otherwise) and it’s obviously not the 1080P resolution (the Lumia 1520 attests to that) but rather it’s the type of AMOLED screen used. More to the point, the screen used on the Lumia Icon/930 lacks ‘display memory’. Long story short, in order for Glance to work, it needs display memory to maintain the information presented by the program. Unfortunately, we’re not engineers, so how Glance actually works in detail and what it needs is beyond our pay grade.

So why not use an AMOLED display with display memory? That answer comes down to money, as we were told they are only too cost prohibitive for that particular combo. LG and Samsung are big AMOLED display manufacturers, and we’re guessing that the combo of 1080P, AMOLED and display memory components are not as mass produced as others, or there is something else keeping their prices too high for Nokia. Remember, Nokia doesn’t make their displays, even if they are involved with their engineering.  

It’s not that Nokia couldn’t afford it, but it sounds like the cost of the component would have either increased the price of the Lumia 930/Icon or severely eaten into the thin profit margin on per device sale.

It seems reasonable that Nokia could have opted for a 5-inch LCD display similar to the Lumia 1520, but we’re guessing they had a good reason for not doing that. Perhaps AMOLED was better for this device’s design, power consumption or another reason we’re not privy to. No one said it was easy designing a phone.

Regardless, Nokia is very aware that people are really missing that feature. We were told there have been a lot of internal conversations about this “feature gap” and how to avoid this in the future. It’s also not clear if Nokia can code around this one, but it sounds like they are trying to figure it out. Nokia has done some crazy things in the past, like the Lumia 1020, which lacks a second dedicated imaging chip (most techies assumed they would need one). So never say never, but at least for now, the Lumia Icon and Lumia 930 won’t have this feature.

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

721 Comments
  • it sure has unglance to it
  • Am I the only person who still loves this phone? The 2 missing features are definitely useless and meaningless to me. I've never used glance before on my 920....don't really care about the feature a lot of WP users are dying for and secondly don't see the essence of SD cards. Before my 920 I had 820 with an SD card and I was never at peace with that phone simply due to duplicates and triplicates of all files/pictures/videos/audios on my phone. Later took the phone back to get my current 920 without sd card and never had that problem since. With lots of cloud services around, don't really see the essence of sd cards on a 32gb phone. So the 930 not having glance and sd card are even good news to me and another reason to get the 930. Don't know why glance and sd cards are soo special to you guys.....especially in 2014.
  • I could explain to you why these two features mean so much to many different people, but why do that when you could just simply read the threads below? What works for you doesn't necessarily mean it works for everyone.
  • You'd be wasting your time. Some people seem to think they can have 4GB plus games and full music albums in that magic cloud and access it on demand.
    Like a very wise man said 32GB is good enough for normal/regular people.
  • 4 GB? 100 Bing points gets you 100 GB of Onedrive. But yea, I'd be irked about the no SD. I'd probably get the coming Samsung instead. But, I have a grandfathered unlimited on Verizon so cloud is perfectly fine with me.
  • @Novron sure. 100 Bing points hive 100GB. Cool. I would love to get more space. Can you tell me how to get the Bing rewards in my region(India)? :-/ sorry for pulling you but MS is yet to be international in my opinion. And until they give equal services in all regions, SD card can help a lot of people.
  • We are burnt by the other storage issue. Anyhow the 930 seems compromised. Cortana vs glance we don't know the implications yet... Why be held back by hardware?
  • I really like this phone too... but the lack of SD support kills it and disappoints me. Glance I love but could live without.
    To your concerns about the duplicate files, that issue has supposedly been fixed and was never really a problem (for me anyway) when using drag/drop via file manager on the PC.
    Also, cloud services are great... if you have unlimited carrier data (hardly anyone does), always have 4G connectivity and don't have massive amounts of media (that would require an additional cost with cloud subscription, on top if data costs).
  • Exactly my sentiments. Can't live without my 60 gb music collection, and would hate to lose glance functionality. No SD card (or 128 internal memory), no deal. No glance I'd learn to live with. Duplicate songs has been a problem for me (Lumia 620), but reimporting the music to my SD card (drag and drop as you mention) fixed it both times. Honestly, I don't understand why Nokia/MS forces us to chose between power + camera quality vs. storage. I have plenty of money; why can't I have both?!?!?
  • Some people may really have a need for more than 32gb, but I just don't. As for Glance, well it sounds nice, but I don't see it as a deal breaker for me. I am loving my white Icon and neither of those features feels like something I'm missing out on. But to each his own...
  • What's this? A comment that is nice and doesn't contain elitist backhanded comments belittling others? Can I make you King of the Internets?
  • I'm the same. My 32GB 1020 is only about half full at the moment. I see no need for SD card slots and wish they would just offer 64GB or higher models for those that need more storage. Built in storage is faster. As for Glance, I would miss it, but it wouldnt be a deal breaker. Its a small thing, but its one of those nice features Nokia has that really sets it apart from everything else.
  • I have the Icon and I was thinking I would need more than 32Gb but I'm currently at about half full and I can't seem to find anything else that I need on it yet. I do miss the Glance screen sometimes but I missed the double tap even more. It's nice to know I'll be getting that back.
  • I love SD cards. I have a 32GB SD card in my phone, the ATIV S, and have it loaded with all the photos I have taken on all my old phones which is about 5000 pictures. Basically all those photos take up loads of space which is why I like to have SD cards in my phones.
  • Couldn't you just store your pictures on Onedrive and therefore not need the SD card storage, plus with Onedrive you could access those pictures anywhere. The only benefit I can see to an SD card would be if you have more than 32GB of apps, that's of course assuming you can run Apps from an SD card, which I'm not sure of.
  • How would you access those piks on onedrive if your someplace that does not have an internet connection? Also you will be using data accessing piks on onedrive, yes I know most ppl have unlimited data but that's not everyone, besides SD cards rock, no school like the old school.. Just saying..
  • It never came... 
  • totally agree.  32gig isnt a issue for me but id like more becasue i only have half my music on and a very few video files, Personally 64 would be fine or a sd slot.But its the same problem with iphone, exept the price is so high if your geting over 16g phone so often id only have 16, i do feel somewhat spoiled now lol.
  • Yeah, because people love waiting for their images to download from the cloud instead of instant access from microSD. What if you travel? What if you go camping? Go into a tunnel on a train? Then you don't have access to anything, unless you can find a WiFi hotspot. I could have a stack of microSD ready to roll - music, photos, videos. The "transfer speed" is up to 64GB per second (if I can swap cards that fast haha).
  • Where do I put my 65GB of music? Oh wait, I know, I should pay a service $10 a month to listen to the music I already paid for. Nope. And I realize that's not everyone, but many people have different wants and needs. Though I will say this: I'm not complaining about a piece of hardware that doesn't fit my needs. Its a good looking phone and more power to those that pick one up.
  • 7gig is weak, not enough and even if you got in on the promo's for a year, what happens then? Surprised by the lack of an SD card slot.
  • 100gig cloud storage and free data cost accdess during phones life span would be the way to go.
  • You people in usa etc have high speed internet. We Indians dont. Our internet is a crying shame, and the costs are top high for even 3g.
  • With 8.1 you can run apps off the SD card
  • Yeah ! And that's what i want to do on my phone, and that's why i was considering buying the 930.. Sadly, the sd card slot isn't there :(
  • Looks like the lack of SD card slot and glance is going to hit lumia 930 hard. They could gave increased the price and included these two much wanted features instead of doing what they did. They compromised a potentially great product and rendered it practically useless for a vast majority of people with different requirements.
    I personally would not have required sd card, but glance is what I was looking forward to.
    Lumia 930s loss .... Lumia 1020s gain!
  • Windows 8.1 is changing how SD cards work on the phone. Its called storage center. Joe belfiore showed it off.
  • I love the 930 too
  • No microSD is a deal-breaker. It's insane not to have one in a mobile, especially in 2014.
  • It creates usability problems for regular users. They rip SD cards out while the phone is on, likely corrupting the data on the card. They also don't understand why their storage is full when the purchased a massive card, because they can't install apps on it. Read speeds are often much slower than built in storage too. I'd rather have 32gb built in. Less headaches, less money and less to manage.
  • huh? And where's your studies showing that people take out SD cards while the phone is on? I expect the likelihood is that people install their SD cards and then don't touch them for the life of the phone. It's a waste of time to do a point by point analysis of your issues, many are simply a given or are about to change. The final thesis is that there is some sort of false dilemma. It's not that any of us are really calling for less than 32gb of internal memory as a trade off for the SD Card slot, we are fully aware that is the trade off in the entry level phones. We are looking for flagship phones with at least 32gb of internal memory AND a SD Card Slot.
  • I sell phones. I have to educate customers every sale, every day. When I ask them to remove the SD card from their old phone they ALL don't realize they need to take their battery out first. Look, you don't have to believe me, my evidence is anecdotal sure but I'm 100% certain that my experiences are more diverse than yours simply because I'm in more contact with various types of people day in and day out regarding the very subject of their cell phones.
  • It's funny you mention internal storage being better... if you crack open a HTC HD7 they have an internal (non-accessible) microSD slot holding all of the storage ;) Internal storage FTW haha
  • I remember that! A few old school phones had that. Those were the good old days.
  • That is not the norm with internal storage.
  • Yes, I believe that was the same for the HTC Arrive on Sprint. I had even read of people replacing the 16Gb card with a 32Gb card. I wasn't that brave but it worked for them.
  • Usually, my friends used SD card like never. I thought I'm the only freek in society, but... I noticed that ppl never use external memory, and I'm considering buying 16 GB for my Lumia, coz I'm always low on memory. That's only because I have installed a lot of maps atm. Today, costumers don't ask for memory, they asks: can I watch YouTube on it? Take selfi? Login in Facebook, twitter and instagram? And that's it, unfortunately.
  • Not quite... as the mobile cameras are becoming better, people are leaving their normal cameras at home. Try selling a camera without microSD / removable storage. So phones nowadays are filled with personal photos and videos. Oh and lots of music too! It's great being able to whip out the card to chuck it in a printer and print out some photos (yes, some people still do that), or put them on another PC, or just copy files to it, without all the synching madness.
  • not so insamne, just look at apple iphones.
  • Thinking that 32gb or less of storage is appropriate for a phone that'll cost over $400 out of contract is absurd at best. I have the 1520 and the 32gb is full with apps alone. I live in the HUMONGOUS metro area of LA and getting a signal to stream music is spotty at best. I also TRAVEL for a living. Try streaming a flight. I don't carry a dedicated music player (iPod) in addition to my phone. My phone IS ALSO my music player. Anything less than 64gb external is a deal breaker. A phone with no SD storage at all is a damn rip-off!
  • thank you!
  • "It works for me, so everyone must use it the same way!" C'mon son, I sell phones for a living and part of the sales process they teach is the qualifying stage. Its where we discover information about the customer to better suggest products and services. 95% of people just text, call and check email. Actually, a lot of these people don't even need a smartphone, they get one because their friends and family tease them for having an old phone. TL;DR: just because you use your phone a certain way doesn't mean everyone else does.
  • it is an ugly phone uninspired design with huge bezels and is very thick. the fact that there is no glance screen is ridiculous. Claiming they are too expensive to make is a sob story nobody wants to hear about. If they offer a product and people are happy with it why get rid of the features people loved so much and 1080p screens were popular when nokia introduced glance screen they knew what they were getting themselves into a hole. there are android phones that have similar features.
  • I don't think Glance sells phones. They'll be alright here.
  • For a person new new to Lumia / WP, you're absolutely right. For those of us that has learned to enjoy Glance, you're equally wrong. Personally I don't care to look at HD material on small screens, as little as I care to check the time on my Surface Pro (I stopped wearing wrist watches numerous years ago). Being able to take the phone half way out of my pocked and get time ++ is not something I'm willing to loose.
  • Yeah man and apparently the action center can be brought up with the phone still locked. Still its a nice feature, I have something similar with my Moto X and I think I kind of got used to having Glance like capabilities without turning the whole screen on... It will be missed by me. Still gonna get the 930 though I'm sick of android... only reason I went with the moto X was the pricing and because the WPhones available didn't have the latest hardware, I want something which will be future proof so I can stick with it for at least 2 years.
  • I love glance screen app because there is no notification lights in any Lumia device like my old nokia N8 so we must required this feature for quick notification show when take out from my pocket.That's the reason I don't want to go lumia 920 to 930.so i am waiting for next 5" 1080p Lumia.
  • i come from the iphone to the 930 and i think its a awsome phone, but i love the look of glasnce and it is something id use all the time, so im sure itll be on thier flagship next year, and because this phones half the price of my iphone i might just buy that one too.  Plse add a sd or 128gig i dont mind paying another 50 ponds, itll still be cheaper than the iphone lol.
  • Me,too.
  • To be honest, I would prefer Glance on a lower res screen than no Glance on a 1080p screen. The extra resolution just doesn't matter much at this size, but I use Glance constantly. I would prefer even more to just pay the extra $10 or even $30 if that was what it took. Also, I vastly prefer OLED to LCD. I'm going to stick with my 1020... I'm hoping they will eventually give us a true upgrade to it, with OLED, Glance, and SDCard. If I was on Verizon none of this would stop me from getting an Icon though... no comparison to other products on that network.
  • My thoughts exactly on every point.
  • This causes that Nokia won't get 700,- of my $ and I'll stick to my 920. Would love to buy a 930 though, but missing glance is a no go.
  • Same here wanted eagerly to update from my 820 to 930 but these two drawbacks have me uncertain, the memory i can manage but the Glance Screen is a must. Guess I have to get the 1520 or 1320
  • i thought the nokia icon had 2gig memory, whys that a issue?
  • Do you have screen burn in on your L1020? Because I have it on my 1020, and my 925 now. You can test it by making a phone call (call your voicemail), hit the home button and go to the home screen. Let the phone sit there for a minute. Tap on the call action bar at the top of the screen and look closely at the blank gray space. You should see an inverted 'reflection' of the boxes from your homescreen. Its done this for me everytime on 3 different 1020's and now my 925. That is why I'll always prefer LCD.
  • Nope, no sign of this on my 1020, using the test you described.  Just an absolutely gorgeous display with rich color.  Although my 1020 is only about 8 months old... I didn't get it when they first came out. I'll have to check on my brother's 820 (which is also OLED).  He's had that for nearly a year and a half.  But from observation (I just looked at it last weekend), the scvreen looks every bit as incredible as when it was new. I will also say that my wife dropped my 820 and it took a pretty sharp knock on the corner.  No damage visible to the phone, but over the next 10 hours after it happend the corner turned blue, which spread to the rest of the screen and then turned the whole screen black.  I've never seen an LCD do that, though I've also never dropped a phone that hard on a corner either.  So who knows. All I can say for sure is that OLEDs look amazing to me... I far prefer the punchy colors and deep inky blacks on phones than LCD (comparing to my 920 which looks quite good mind you, and my 520 which is decidedly lackluster as expected for the price point).  For my computer I think I would prefer LCD for the color accuracy, because that is where I do my photo editing and whatnot. As you can tell, I'm addicted to Lumias... I am compelled to try them all out... luckily the 1020's photo quality has completely spoiled me for pretty much any other phone until something comes along to match it... though I suspect I could make do ok with the 20 megapixel camers.  But the comination of the 1020's camera, camera grip accessory, lanyard, and AT&T's complete dropping of support for Qi means I am pretty much happy to stay where I am.
  • Great comment! I love my new Lumia. I was switching back and forth between an HTC One and my 1020 and it feels good to be back on WP. I have a couple group chats going with friends and the HTC drives me nuts because it takes 5-7 seconds to send an MMS! WP just works so well.
  • If all the features are given on a all the phones there wud be no differences left.... So thats the cut off features.... From 1520.... Bht I guess 1520 mini shud fulfill ur requests
  • This was the phone i was planning to buy. But no sd is a deal breaker. Hopefully, mini 1520 comes out in time.
  • I'd say, just put the 1520 screen on it and call it a day. Actually, just like a 5inch 1520 with Glance Screen, microSD card slot and addition to the Qi charging and that'll be THE flagship in my opinon for right now, hopefully Nokia considers this. 
  • I may not need glance screen but I really need double-tap to wake up!
  • I just don't know why Nokia didn't release a flagship device in the US
  • Because the Icon (930) was already released
  • Not everyone in the US has Verizon tho. And not everyone wants a Nike logo on their phone either
  • Did you complain when ATT was the only one with the 920?
  • yeh that logo does suck.
  • Now I know how it must have felt like when the Lumia 920 was announced for AT&T only.
  • Very good observation!
  • indeed, but after some time it's being sold unlocked all over online
  • The 930 which is international is also unlocked, pretty sure you'll be able to find it on line as well
  • But will the LTE be usable on US GSM networks?
  • We get neither in Canada, at least the carriers around me aren't sporting them yet. I know I can order an international model of the 930 but that's beside the point. I'd like to try one out before replacing my 920.
  • I'm sure Rogers or Telus will bring it out soon. I'd certainly mention it to them, though, if I were you.
  • Doubt it seeing as Verizon's icon has same lte bands as what's supported in Canada & from what i remember reading it has both pcs & aws hspa bands.
    the sgh-t899m is a prime example of a dual mode phone that was surprising to see in Canada but not on Verizon(yet their apn app is in Samsung zone)
  • I want wireless charging built in but at&t has a problem with it. Hopefully this phone sells well and at&t will reconsider.
  • Did AT&T recently change their minds about this? My 920 has Qi charging.
  • AT&T started this when the 1520 came out.
  • Nah 1020.
  • The 1020 has a Qi cover. The 1520 was going to have support for PMA that ATT has decided to push instead of Qi. As far as I know, they have never released a wireless charging sheel for the 1520. IMO ATT has no business picking sides in a wireless charging standards battle. ATT doesnt make hardware, they need to stay out of it.
  • I think when the 920 came out more than a year ago, AT&T hadn't firmly made up their mind to actively promote PMA.
  • I think problem started back when the pre + came out
  • The 1020 requires a wireless charging cover due to at&t favoring PMA or Qi
  • Are you saying this phone has wireless charging? If it does I could forgive it the lack of SD card if wireless charging is onboard. I am not a geek but 32Gb is NOT enough. Games and apps are getting much bigger, and when on holiday or at family events video adds to the loads. Cloud is not a price effective solution as cellular charges for 30GB video uploads are ridiculous. I love Glance and look forward to Nokia bringing it back.
  • Yep it has Qi wireless charging onboard
  • Until they release a resonant charger its not worth the effort
  • Here's to still hoping that Nokia will release something later this month. Here is why I think it's within the real of possibility (no, not because EVleaks talked about a 19 April event): Joe Belfiori said on stage that the first 8.1 devices woudl ship very late April or early May. If I am not mistaken, Nokia has said that both the 930 and 630/635 would only ship in June. So, some other phone would have to come out to the stores with 8.1. AND I am hoping its not just a Sammy. :)
  • Maybe a WP 8.1 variant of the HTC M8? One can only hope!
  • Sorry but the Lumia 630/635 comes in May. So..
  • To the US? Sure?
  • Tmobile "Monarch"
  • Ok, but "summer" doesn't sound like May to me. :) But who knows, we'll see. http://newsroom.t-mobile.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=251624&p=irol-newsarticle&I...
  • Why doesn't Microsoft release certain things the US only gets... because sadly, you can't have everything in life.
  • Well if it helps I put my AT&T SIM into a icon and it worked for voice call, I think the data is just hspa+ though.
  • Corret. No ATT LTE bands.
  • Well that sucks. thanks for clearing that up, I was about to make the jump. LTE>HSPA+
  • Unlimited HSPA+ > Limited cap LTE.
  • Tell me more, tell me more.
  • What are you talking about here?
  • Only if you roam in Canada you will see lte support
  • I think that Nokia still doesn't enough clout to get one device released by every carrier in the US without branding in the front. HTC, LG only made the cut after Samsung did. Sony is in the same boat.
  • I hate the carrier branding so much. I wish they could put it on the back or something
  • international phone ftw!
  • Does anyone know if the Nokia monarch was the 635 or is it something else?
  • That's Steve Elop's stupid carrier exclusivity strategy. It limits the WP phone selection for either AT&T or Verizon. Only Verizon customers can buy Lumia Icon while the rest of country can't. Only AT&T customers can buy L1020 and L1520 while the rest of country can't. No wonder the Lumia phones except L520/L521 are not doing so well in US. L520 is selling well due to its extreme low price. Nokia probably sells it at a loss. What a loser strategy. But don't expect MS/Nokia to change any time soon. Steve Elop is coming over to MS. Lumia 930 is a great phone, but they just don't want you to have it. Go figure.
  • Its such BS. ATT doesn't work at my home or office so I'm stuck on Verizon. Nokia would sell alot more phones if we could get the phone we want. I went from 8X to 928 and would have the 1520 if Verizon offered it. But I guess Nokia doesn't want to sell me another phone.
  • No, sprint and T-Mobile simply rejects WP devices. Only the carriers who are truly interested in devices other than the iphone/android invest
  • I still cant believe phones in the US are carrier based.
    Here in The Netherlands, ALL phones are being sold by ALL carriers.
    Much easier :)
    More competition, lower prices on contract.
  • Basically the same in South Africa. We just seem to get everything too late.
  • The comment section will be worth reading *popcorn*
  • Right? Haha
  • It def has been
  • Weird, and kinda lame. I love glance on my 920.
  • Dealbreaker to me since I got used to glance :P
    hopefully the goldfinger will finally be the perfect Lumia!
  • Lol I can do without it. Its nice but it still feels like a double lock screen.
  • Maybe visually, but you don't have to "double" unlock it.
  • True. I guess I wish it was more integrated with the lock screen. Maybe the background could fade in when the phone wakes up from glance. All I'm saying there's a better way...
    I love glance but not a deal breaker.
  • Useful but gimmicky.
  • Hardly gimmicky. I find it useful all the time. I take my phone from my pocket quite often to see clock. That's information I need. I wouldn't want to do without it anymore. Also, I've had older (clam-shell) Nokia phones that had a clock on the outside. It's more like bringing an older feature back.
  • Whats so gimmicky about knowing the time without doing anything?
  • not gimmick,
    it is VERY useful.
  • its not gimicky, the single mostly done task i do to any phone is look at the clock, id love glance.  But with denim it wont mater itll just be hey cortana what time is it  
  • I was in the Verizon store ready to upgrade my 928 to the Icon and my glance screen came on and I don't think I can live without it. I want the 1520 but ATT doesn't work for me :/
  • I think