Editorial: Microsoft is holding Nokia back
It has been over 2 years since Nokia announced their partnership with Microsoft and we have seen some great products come in since that announcement; Nokia N9, Nokia 808 PureView and Nokia Lumia 920. The ironic thing is, 2 of the 3 devices mentioned are devices that run OSes killed off by the partnership. The Nokia N9 redefined how interactions with a smartphone should take place. We now have devices like the Blackberry Z10, clearly taking cues. There are jailbreak apps on iOS that mimick lots of elements form Swipe UX. The Nokia 808 PureView packed a 41MP sensor that blew away all competitors, and redefined the idea that it isn’t just megapixel count, but the way they are used in imaging.
Then there is the Lumia 920. This is the first device that showed Nokia has the potential to make a solid comeback, and with a device worthy of competing with the likes of the iPhone and Samsung latest Galaxy devices. Windows Phone 8 was a huge step forward in making lots of the advances that were brought to market on the Lumia 920. Sadly, there is still a lot more that can be done.
We know Nokia have some fantastic innovations, and these innovations seem to be ready for market. The only setback seems to be the limitations of Windows Phone 8. Nokia constantly goes on about the whole “head up” approach, and making everything so much more glancable. The biggest enhancement in this area can be seen in both the N9 and the 808 PureView; Sleeping Screen. The sleeping screen is an always on screen that provides the user a quick glance view of notifications and the time. Windows Phone 8 unfortunately doesn’t support this at all.
Next is imaging. The Lumia 920 has a relatively decent camera, trumping the vast majority of smartphones at night. When it comes to all round imaging though, the 808 PureView wins hands down. The current maximum sensor size that is supported on Windows Phone 8 is 21MP (at least that is what we have been told). Regardless of the company saying repeatedly that PureView is not just about the specific imaging technology within the 808, the point still stands in our minds that the 808 PureView is the cameraphone to beat, not the Lumia 920.
Lots of people have mentioned that they would switch to a Nokia Lumia, as Nokia have the best-designed phones, and lots of cool innovations. The only thing stopping them is Windows Phone 8. The app ecosystem and the lack of centralised notifications seems to be the biggest downfall of Microsoft’s OS. If Windows Phone were more flexible and open to new technologies, Nokia’s Lumia devices could be even more innovative than they are today.
It was the general consensus that Nokia and Microsoft needed each other equally to succeed. Now, it seems that Nokia is doing well, but they can do so much better. The current situation seems to be that Microsoft needs Nokia more, so my question is, why isn’t Microsoft letting Nokia bring all these fantastic features to the Windows Phone platform?
Think about it: where would Windows Phone be right now, if it weren’t for Nokia? Nokia’s Lumia brand has been more well-known than the Windows Phone brand among the masses ever since Nokia launched their first Windows Phone devices back in 2011. During the Windows Phone 7 era, Microsoft completely dropped the ball in the marketing department; now that Windows Phone 8 has finally hit the market, the company behind the platform continues to retain so much control over the platform while allowing the platform to stagnate. Software is just as important, if not more important than hardware, and we all agree that Windows Phone 8 still has some way to go towards being able to replace our Android and iOS devices as our everyday smartphones.
We have generally been supportive of Nokia’s Windows Phone strategy, we want Nokia to succeed, and we still hold out hope that Lumia devices will one day be a success. However, it’s hard not to dream about the Nokia devices we would have today if the company had not sacrificed its independence for the promise of success.