The Nokia 920 and 820

[sc:mobile-category ]So the big pres conference is over but what did we learn?

Not much really.  In fact, while the hardware looks great and has some truly impressive features, we’re still left wondering far too much.

But first things first, what did they get right?

The hardware

The 920 is looking to be a great phone.  The camera tech is truly impressive and if it takes photos half as well as the demo’s it will still be the best camera on a phone yet.  Likewise the wireless charging is a big step forward.  Yes Palm did it first, but it wasn’t standards compliant (because there were no standards at the time) and they didn’t license it out so it was always going to be a niche to them.  The display looks great and the touch screen that works with gloves makes it even better.

The 820 seems to have been the red-headed stepchild of the presentation (quite literally since it was show in red) but has some very desirable features.  The changeable covers, the SD card slot and a slightly smaller display are all good points.

On the hardware front the 920 is missing the SD card slot and I can’t for the life of me understand why.  It’s the high-end phone, its supposed to have all the features of the 820 and more, not less!

One change between the 800/900 and the 820/920 that I don’t like is the move towards a glossy case.  I really liked the matte finish on the 800/900, perhaps Nokia will make a sleeve for the 820 that’s matte.

I’m kind of torn here, the wireless charging is a killer feature for me so it seems likely I’ll be buying a Nokia phone.  However what I really want is a 920 with the styling of the 820 and the SD card slot.  I can only imagine that in a few months we’ll be seeing the 1020 or something that will be the 920 hardware in an 820 shell.

The Software

Nokia showed off quite a few software pieces as well, the maps functionality and the lens are both impressive additions to the phone.  However what I really wanted to see was Windows Phone 8 and there was very little to learn that we didn’t already know.

In fact there wasn’t ANYTHING new about the OS that we hadn’t learned either in June or through the SDK leak a few weeks ago.

This was the most frustrating part of the press conference.  This should have been MS’s big moment to shine and show all the new features of Windows Phone 8.  Instead we just got the oft recited “We’ll have more in the coming weeks” line.

And where’s the SDK for Windows Phone 8?  If the launch is going to be this year, shouldn’t the developers already have the SDK so they can be creating apps for the phones at launch time?

What Was Missing

There was so much missing from this press conference that I’m not sure where to start.

  • A release date
  • Carriers
  • Pricing
  • Regional availability
  • SDK Availability

It wasn’t what I was expecting at all.  I expect MS to get on stage and say “Windows Phone 8 will be available on …”.  Then I expected Nokia to get on stage with AT&T and say “The 920 will be available on launch on the AT&T network for $”.

Instead we got NOTHING.

No release date.

No Carriers.

No Pricing.


If you don’t have those things lined up, don’t have the press conference.  It’s clear the market was looking for all these things as Nokia’s share price took a dive after the press conference.

How many times do they have to get it wrong before they wake up and realize we’re looking for hard facts, not future promises.  No other phone manufacturer get’s on stage for an hour and a half talking about their new phone and then doesn’t say when, where and how much it’s going to cost.

Sure Samsung didn’t have these details either, but they spent a sum total of about 10 seconds with their phone, not an hour and a half.

Motorola had a press conference later in the day and released 3 phones, pricing and launch dates included.

Apple will be releasing the iPhone 5 next week and you can bet they have a price, date and network all lined up.

The entire press conference seemed like a stall tactic to get in front of Apple instead of the launch of something great.

So Now What?

That’s the real question, after the press conference, Microsoft went ahead and announced limited availability of the Windows Phone 8 SDK would be coming next week.  So why wasn’t that part of the press conference?

And why limited availability?  Is it ready or isn’t it.  If it is, get it out there.  If it isn’t, don’t.

Microsoft’s next big event is the Build conference at the end of October, which seems kind of late to be showing off Windows Phone 8 if it’s going to launch this year.  So are we going to have yet another press conference at the end of Sept. to launch Windows Phone 8?  Will Microsoft use HTC’s event instead to do something on the 19th?

All this guess work is making my head spin.  Microsoft, just get on with it and give us the details.

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Greg is the head cat at JumbleCat, with over 20 years of experience in the computer field, he has done everything from programming to hardware solutions. You can contact Greg via the contact form on the main menu above.

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Greg is the head cat at JumbleCat, with over 20 years of experience in the computer field, he has done everything from programming to hardware solutions. You can contact Greg via the contact form on the main menu above.

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