Windows Phone has not had an easy time of it. After the arrival of iPhone and Android it’s predecessor, Windows Mobile, had its market share evaporate so quickly that Microsoft’s relevance in the market followed suit.
Two years ago, Windows Phone 7 was unveiled to much fanfare. It was a radical rethinking of the smartphone UI that has both fans and critics and lead to a UI revolution in Microsoft. It also helped turn around Microsoft’s fortunes in the market, albeit at a snail’s pace.
Late last year Nokia launched its new smartphone range running the new Windows Phone 8 OS to much acclaim. Running the same kernel as the Windows 8 OS it has the potential to boost the platform further. Does it have what it takes?
On holding the Lumia 920 for the first time, you notice is that the thing feels solid. Maybe it packs a few more grams than an iPhone or Galaxy but you get the impression it’s all there for a reason and after some time you get used to it.
The phone itself looks great. The curved shell for the phone is very clean and feels great in hand and that screen…vivid in use and versatile in its ability to work in direct sunlight much better than similar phones.
But its not just looks that matter with a smartphone, its software too. Not only is Windows Phone 8 a step forward for the platform, it is backed up with Nokia’s commitment to the platforms which is above and beyond all other manufacturers.
As well as exclusive games and apps, the killer for me though is Nokia’s maps suite, especially Drive which is a full blown car navigation system bundled for free. With the size if the phone’s screen, it makes for an excellent substitute for a dedicated GPS navigator. Offline maps are supported too, which don’t even dent the 32Gb storage.
As a user of Windows Phones since their launch, I’ve been able to see the steady evolution of platform that seems to dance to the beat of its own drum despite also needing to play catch up to its more entrenched competitors. Sometimes this works well as the personal and social media integration shows but other times it can be frustrating such as lack of support for quirks of various email platforms (eg. Gmail’s labels). Though the issues are getting smaller over time it is still a shame that some areas still need either extra polish or better support from other platform holders.
Those quirks aside, Windows Phone 8 has helped usher in a new generation of high spec phones which can face an iPhone or Android without feeling second best. And the Lumia 920 is spearheading the charge.
Its been ten years now since I last owned a Nokia phone and though time hasn’t always been kind to them I am excited with what the future will bring in this new platform and can see myself being a Nokia owner again for years to come.