Nokia Announces New Windows Phone With Ridiculous Camera, Not Much Else

Tom Warren reports for The Verge:

The Lumia 1020 is a big upgrade over Nokia's previous Windows Phone efforts for one reason alone: a 41-megapixel camera.

Okay, that’s cool. What else has changed, though?

Camera aside, the Lumia 1020 is largely unchanged from the specifications of Nokia's Lumia 920 and 925.

Huh.

I can’t help but feel Windows Phone is in for a tough time ahead. If the flagship hardware device for WP is seeing no CPU change this generation and there’s not going to be an update to the software until next year, it won’t be easy for Microsoft to claw back any market share.

Why can’t Microsoft get their products right on the first try?

Owen Williams calls it how he sees it:

It’s easy enough to argue that the iPhone 1, for example, shipped without many features we have today as they were added over time, but Apple at the time were creating their own market. The popular phones were the kind that flipped and slid open, or had a stylus. Microsoft is executing the same strategy – release now, fix later – that their competitors use but they’re five steps behind the rest.

A Tale of Two Adverts

I’ve touched on the differences between Apple and Microsoft before, but here’s a more visual example of the two companies; namely, their adverts for smartphones.

Update: I felt I’d been lazy and not fully explained my thoughts about these two ads. I’ve updated this article with some thoughts below the videos.

Microsoft’s “Switch to the Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone” Ad

Apple’s “Photos Every Day” iPhone Ad

I think these two adverts speak volumes about the companies behind them.

Microsoft’s ad lets us know they’re not even remotely afraid to acknowledge competition: Windows Phone’s two biggest rivals are mentioned by name: “Galaxy” and “iPhone”.

It feels to me as if this advert is far too focused on bringing up competition. There’s no mention of any Windows Phone features which might be a reason to switch: the only reason given is the dogmatic and weak motto “Don’t fight. Switch” — which doesn’t even make sense.

50 seconds into Microsoft’s advert shows a man with a large Apple logo tattooed on his chest. This logo is (amusingly) pictured larger than any other logo in the ad, including the Windows Phone logo.

Don’t get me wrong — I don’t think bringing up competition is always a mistake: Apple has done similar things in the past, with the “Get a Mac” campaign back in 2006. However, these adverts were always carefully written to show the advantage of a Mac in different situations. Further, actors were used to represent the two camps, as opposed to Microsoft’s approach: using real iPhone and Android handsets in their own marketing materials. (And big Apple logos.)

If your biggest competitor’s logo appears larger than your own in an advert commissioned by you, that’s a pretty good sign that something is wrong.

Apple, with its advert, is focusing on how the iPhone fits into people’s lives. Their ad is exactly 60 seconds long — not a word from a commentator (about the iPhone) is spoken until 54 seconds in. Even then, it’s one simple and true statement: “Every day, more photos are taken with the iPhone than any other camera.”

The iPhone is being shown fitting into lives, being used by real people. Real people who don’t fight about the device they’re using; real people who care more about what they’re doing than the device they’re using to do it.

Nokia Only Sells Twice as Many Lumias as Symbian Phones

This shocked me: I didn’t realise Symbian devices were still being sold. I used to own a Nokia N95 before my first iPhone (the 3GS) and I thought it was one of the last Symbian devices. Obviously not.

Even though these fourth quarter numbers might pale in comparison to Apple’s predicted 65 million iPhone sales, they were enough to make Nokia’s stock jump 16%.

I think Nokia’s biggest problem is the 70 million extremely low-end Series 40 phones they sold. They should produce smartphones so enticing that their low-end phones become undesirable.

Windows Phone 8 and apps

Tom Warren writes a good summary of the recent Microsoft Build event in Seattle. The following sentence, where he compares the improvements of Windows Phone 8 to Windows Phone 7 is worth noting:

Microsoft launched Windows Phone [7] with a marketing effort designed to minimize the importance of apps — with ads about smartphone addicts — but it now finds itself reversing on that message and focusing on apps with Windows Phone 8.

It seems Microsoft originally bet against apps with Windows Phone1. Now they've reversed on their position. Whilst it's good that their position has switched, I can't help but ask why the software giant didn't realise the importance of apps earlier.


1: Either that, or they majorly downplayed the importance of apps due to the lack available for their new platform.