Nokia Lumia and the Windows Phone 8 event in New York - Everything you need to know

Introducing the Nokia Lumia 920 with PureView Technology

It was a sizeable day for Nokia, Microsoft, ourselves and consumers yesterday as we saw Nokia take to the stage and unveil the Lumia 820 and Lumia 920 Windows Phones. Windows Phone Central was there at the front of the event, and as Bill O'Reilly likes to scream - "We're doing it live!" (NSFW), so we blogged it live.

Be sure to check out our live blog for the complete walkthrough of the event, with photos and humour to boot. We had many predicitions going into the event, but what was presented still stunned the team to a degree.

Should you find yourself in the position where you missed out on the action, fear not as Windows Phone Central has you covered. Here's everything you need to know from the event as well as what we'll be summarising in this article:




The main headlines of the day were of course the announcements for both the Lumia 820 and Lumia 920. Nokia published two videos on its YouTube channel (as well as Nokia Conversations) that show off a number of features of both Windows Phones. If you’re in the dark when it comes to the latest hardware from Nokia, these videos will be the best place to start before reading on into either.

The new Nokia flagship Lumia 920

The Lumia 920

Jo Harlow, Executive Vice President at Nokia, announced the Lumia 920 first after some news about the Nokia Asha line of products was relayed. While specifications were a little vague, we at least got to see what the Lumia 900 successor looked like. Sporting a polycarbonate body, PureView camera and PureMotion HD+ screen technologies, it’s enough to excite anyone who’s interested in a richer smartphone experience.

Featuring a curved 4.5” LCD display, which is a reported 25% brighter than current competitive screen available on the market today, and a resolution of 1280x768, owners will be drawn to simply gaze at the display to view the beauty of Metro Windows Phone at work. But what about the PureView technology? We’ll go into more detail shortly, but it basically means image stabilisation and improved optics / processing. All good stuff if you enjoy snapping some shots while on the go.

Nokia paints PureView as more of a technology and almost a movement in smartphone photography. It’s more about improving how the smartphone camera works, as opposed to attaching a huge sensor and pumping up the megapixels as was the case with the 41MP PureView 808. Implementing said technology into the Lumia 920, Nokia has been able to achieve some jaw dropping results.

The Lumia 920 takes a pic

The Lumia 920's camera in action

The 920's PureView Technology

The company announced the Lumia 920 with an 8.7MP PureView camera, accompanied by image stabilisation – Nokia refers to this as ‘floating lens technology’. The sudden fall in megapixel count from the PureView 808 may have stunned a few, but all doubts were dealt with when the Lumia 920 camera was demoed. From what we’ve seen from Nokia so far, the image quality is seriously impressive.

If the above wasn’t enough, the Lumia 920 will also sport an f2.0 aperture lens, as well as a BSI sensor similar to what we’ve seen in the HTC Radar, which enables for better light capture. Nokia's Kevin Shields took to the stage to further explain how the company managed to achieve the results through image stabilisation and what it actually means.

Here’s a quick competitor comparison. Photo taken with competitor smartphone:

Same photo, but taken with the Lumia 920:

It’s a clear difference, and we’re extremely excited to get our dirty hands on the Windows Phone to take the camera for a spin.

Nokia gave us a quick walkthrough of the Lumia 920 camera at the event, showing off image stabilisation by taking a photo while moving the device at some speed. But the PureView technology implemented in the Lumia 920 wouldn’t be impressive without challenging other smartphones in real tests, right? That’s exactly what Nokia did at the event yesterday.

A cubby hole in a brick wall was the centre of attention for many where Nokia challenged participants to use their smartphone to simply view through the hole and snap a shot. The team would then do the same with a Lumia 920 and the results would then be compared.

The object was a vase in a dark corner, which was neigh impossible to see with the naked eye, let alone a smartphone camera. The Lumia 920 seemed to destroy each and every device, even other Windows Phones. We attempted to challenge Nokia with a Lumia 900, but were turned down unfortunately.

Our thoughts and impressions of the Lumia 920’s PureView camera are that if the technology will work in the real world with consumers as it has thus far through marketing we could well be onto a winner here. Only time will tell, but we have a good feeling.

PureMotion HD+

All this talk about the camera technology, what about the PureMotion HD+ Display? Billed as the fastest, brightest and most sensitive to touch, the Lumia 920 display is also a selling point of the Windows Phone. Taking its ClearBlack technology, which enabled the Lumia 800 and 900 to be used in the sun without being unable to view the screen, to the next level Nokia has stepped up the bar for screen quality.

With a pixel count of 1280x768 and 15:9 aspect ratio, the PureMotion HD+ display on the Lumia 920 ensures there’s no blur while viewing multimedia and performing actions where blurred displays can occur (games, videos, scrolling, etc.) The ‘HD+’ part of the name refers to the fact the display will sport 7% more pixels than a 720p display and 60% more than DVGA.

Nokia Sensitive Touch

The PureMotion HD+ display also offers the most sensitive touch, enabling gloves to remain on cold hands while using the Windows Phone, and women will be able to use the tips of long nails instead of awkwardly using fingers.

The ‘super sensitive touch’ technology is not limited to the Lumia 920, as the Lumia 820 will also be sporting the feature. Nokia’s Kevin Shields threw on a pair of skiing gloves to show the audience how the Lumia 900 was still usable.

Last, but by no means least, is the Wireless Charging functionality in both the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820. Both Windows Phones will be able to charge via USB cable (as we’re all accustomed to) or by simply resting on top of a supported charging ‘mat’ among other accessories that offer wireless charging.

Lumia 820

The Lumia 820 in all its glory

The Lumia 820

Speaking of Lumia 820. Nokia also unveiled the Lumia 920’s younger sibling yesterday. The Lumia 820 sports a 4.3” AMOLED display (with ClearBlack), an 8MP rear shooter (with Carl Zeiss Optics), MicroSD slot, 1GB RAM and a 1650mAh battery. The interesting entry on the specification sheet is the inclusion of a MicroSD slot, which the Lumia 920 does not have.

The Lumia 820 is no slouch. It boasts changeable wireless charging and protective shells in a number of colours, perfect to match an individual’s mood of the day. NFC is also on-board (as is the case with the Lumia 920). The choice will be a tough one between the two Nokia Windows Phones, but the company has provided enough in both handsets to provide a rich user experience.

Nokia Maps AR

Nokia Services and Geolocation

Hardware wasn’t the only surprise Nokia brought with them to yesterday’s event. Nokia Maps was in the spotlight, the company is adding augmented reality features, which are currently present in the Nokia City Lens app. As well as sporting true offline capability, Nokia Maps will be able to effectively display POI (points of interest) to the user while on the move.

Jo Harlow explains the integration Nokia is creating between apps:

“Because we have increased the integration between applications, when you have found a route in maps you can launch Nokia Drive straight away for free voice guided turn-by-turn navigation, right out of the box.”

Indoor maps are also on the way. We’ve seen this being utilised in Bing with shopping malls and centres, but Nokia looks to be taking it further with maps for bus terminals and train stations to help passengers make changes and reach correct platforms in time.

Nokia Exclusive Apps

If improving their own services and apps weren’t enough, Nokia will also be bringing more exclusive apps to Lumia Windows Phones. Angry Birds Roost will be Nokia-only for the first three months after release on the platform. YouSendIt will be another three month exclusive, which will enable users to execute NFC file transfers.

Michelin will allow the retrieval of specific information at NFC-enabled restaurants, while yet another three month exclusive Bloomberg will be arriving on the platform. Groupon, which is said to include Windows Phone 8 Wallet integration, will be a six month Nokia-only app and will take full advantage of augmented reality.

That sums up the Nokia section of the conference. A lot to take in and we’re sure there’s still more to come before Windows Phone 8 launches.

Microsoft were present in force

Steve Ballmer shows up

Steve Ballmer and Joe Belfiore were both at the Nokia event yesterday, and Belfiore took us through a sneak peek of Windows Phone 8 lenses. The lenses app will pull up already installed apps that have deep camera integration, which will enable users to quickly switch between different services and functions.

It will make the camera easier to use and more feature rich, acting as a hub for multiple kinds of photography and effects to be easily accessible. As well as the lenses app itself, the camera UI has been redesigned. Belfiore moved on to show off screenshot functionality in Windows Phone 8. Pressing the start and power button simultaneously will result in a screenshot being saved to a Camera Roll folder.

Comparison website Recombu managed to capture the following demonstration:

The Windows Phone 8 SDK

In other Microsoft news, the Windows Phone 8 SDK preview will be heading to limited personnel – specifically those with apps already published on the Marketplace. ETA – September 12th. Unfortunately, if you were eagerly awaiting the announcement of Windows Phone 8, you’ll be disappointed as Microsoft failed to deliver any dates or progress updates.

We believe the company is looking at the upcoming Build 2012 event to unveil its next version of Windows Phone. We’ll be heading along, so be sure to tune in for all the juicy details. But that was all from Microsoft at yesterday’s manic presentation.

Alas, we love and leave you now with a gallery of photos from the event itself.

We'd like to thank you all for tuning in and being superb sports. We're now set on course for HTC's event, then Build 2012, and beyond. It's an exciting closure to 2012 for Windows Phone, that's for sure.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.