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Nokia's big day has the tech-world aflutter. (Yes, we said aflutter!)

Yes folks, we’re just over half-a-day away from finally putting all of the puzzle pieces together and getting to see what Nokia has planned for the initial release of Windows Phone 8.

In turn, we figured we do a little wrap up those rumors, leaks and images to better prepare yourself for tomorrow.

Speaking of, tomorrow we will have a Live Blog during the event starting at 9:45am ET. Nokia will also be streaming the announcement, which we will have running in conjunction with our coverage (seeing as video has delays, we’ll be slightly ahead with our photos).

Afterwards, we expect some hands on time with whatever is revealed and we have an interview lined up for later in the day with Nokia. Then it’s on to the party in the evening. So grab some coffee and a seat, because it’s going to be a wild ride...


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New Phones

Of course this should be obvious that Nokia is preparing to release numerous new phones in the coming weeks as Windows Phone 8 launches at the end of October. The question is, how many devices are coming? The conservative estimate is two: the Lumia 820 and the Lumia 920.

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The Lumia 820 ‘Arrow’ – Specifications (unconfirmed)

  • 4.3” HD AMOLED Display with ClearBlack
  • NFC, Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi, expandable memory
  • Removable backplate (different colors)
  • Wireless inductive charging (optional)
  • 8MP Carl-Zeiss rear camera, 2MP front-facing camera
  • Dual-core 1.5GHz CPU


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The Lumia 920 ‘Phi’ – Specifications (unconfirmed)

  • 4.5 or 4.65” HD AMOLED Display with ClearBlack
  • NFC, Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi, expandable memory
  • Wireless Inductive charging
  • 8MP Carl-Zeiss rear camera with PureView technology, 2MP front-facing camera
  • Dual-core 1.5GHz CPU
  • 1GB of RAM, 32GB of storage

The devil is in the details though and there is actually very little in that regard. These devices will most certainly launch on AT&T so both will also feature 4G LTE and T-Mobile is expected to get the Lumia 820 ‘Arrow’ as is Verizon, but at a later date.

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The big question is what are the hidden "killer features" of the 920 over the 820? There is certainly the bigger screen, perhaps more RAM and the camera with PureView technology. Speaking of…


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What’s the deal with PureView?

We told you folks last week that PureView was more than just 41MP, which to be honest is a tad gimmicky (not to mention it makes that phone rather huge and expensive). That’s not to say 41MP isn’t nice, but if AT&T wants to sell this phone at $199 or cheaper in addition to having a svelte device that consumers will actually buy (we don’t see many people going for the super-chunky PureView 808), than Nokia will have to keep the megapixels in check.

Nokia got a little defensive today on this matter and we know why. The issue is the sensor size, type and the software behind it all…

For a lot of the photos you see on Windows Phone Central, they’re taken on a 12MP camera but with reduced quality (often ‘medium’ or ‘small’) yet they tend to look quite good, if we must say so ourselves. The reason? They’re taken on a Nikon D700 with a full-frame sensor—one of the biggest sensors you can get in a non-medium format DSLR. Make no mistake: it will crush anything out there, regardless of the megapixels. It’s not even debatable.

Camera sensor sizes

And that’s our big question for the Lumia 920: are we dealing with a standard front-side illuminated (FSI) 1/3.2" sensor or a larger 1/2.5”, or 1/1.8” that is perhaps backside illuminated (BSI)? BSI sensors are found in the iPhone and Titan II and helps dramatically with low-light performance--will Nokia finally adopt this technology?

The sensor won’t be as big as the PureView 808. That has a massive 1/1.2” gizmo in it, which is why you get that big hump. But if the Lumia 920 has something bigger than 1/3.2” in addition to or instead of a BSI sensor, then that does change things.

Throw in Nokia’s oversampling software technology that they have been developing for years in conjunction to their work with Scalado and indeed, you can do some amazing things with photos and videos, even at just 8MP. (It’s well known amongst camera enthusiasts that you don’t actually need more than 6MP unless you are cropping a lot. In fact, adding more megapixels to a tiny sensor degrades the quality as it makes it less sensitive to light, resulting in noiser photos.)


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In addition to the phones, we expect Nokia to also announce and show off in person at least three accessories to complete the Lumia ecosystem:

  • PlayUP mobile speaker with NFC and Bluetooth, made in conjunction with JBL
  • Nokia Purity Pro wireless headset with NFC and Bluetooth, made in conjunction with Monster
  • Inductive Wireless charging dock, presumably for the Lumia 820 and 920 as an optional accessory
  • Nokia Purity earbuds?


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The 'X' Factor

Besides all of the above items, which are either known or we’re quite certain will be announced tomorrow (some like PlayUP and Purity Pro already have), there could be some surprises along too. Let's head into the speculation zone.

  • Nokia Windows 8 tablet – While no significant leaks have shown this to be the case, we may remind you that Microsoft will be in attendance. Could Nokia be show off a 7” tablet to compete with the Kindle Fire 2 later this week? There was one render that suggested maybe.
  • Windows Phone 8 full-consumer features – With Microsoft in attendance, how could they not finally show all the features of Windows Phone 8, including things we may not have yet seen from the SDK? 
  • Windows Phone 8 SDK announcement – We’ve speculated previously that the Windows Phone 8 SDK needs to come out ASAP and this event seems like a good time to announce its availability—though we don’t necessarily mean that instant, we could imagine a rollout happening this week or next.

So that’s a refresh of what we’re expecting tomorrow here in New York City and even perhaps more so, as Nokia and Microsoft are sure to surprise everyone with these announcements.

Will they live up to the hype? Did we miss anything? We'll be asking you tomorrow, so make sure you show up and join the conversation with us.