Nokia tries to preempt iPhone 5 with amazing Lumia 920 camera, absolutely no launch details

Nokia tries to preempt iPhone 5 with amazing Lumia 920 camera, absolutely no launch details

Once news got out that Apple would be holding an iPhone event on September 12, every competitor and their platform partner scrambled to announce events ahead of time. Mostly. The first was Nokia's Windows Phone event this morning, which showed off the new flagship Nokia Lumia 920 with a brief nod to the mode budget-friendly Nokia Lumia 820. Daniel Rubino from our Mobile Nations sibling site, WPCentral was there live to catch all the actions.

Along with some digs at Samsung (for their "first" Windows Phone 8 device being unfinished) and Apple (for putting needless metal elements in their antennas), Nokia threw the spotlight on location services, including their traditional maps products, transit directions (which will be offloaded to 3rd party apps in iOS 6), indoor directions, and some interesting if awkward Augmented Reality features. Inductive charging was also front-and-center, along with partnerships to bring compatible chargers to places like Virgin Atlantic lounges, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf outlets, and retails products like Fatboys.

Once again the materials look out of this world. Literally. Nokia stressed how you could pound nails with the Lumia 920. Literally. The screen is curved and gorgeous and intelligently tries to prevent glare when used outside. The assemblies are ceramic to prevent scratches, and the whole, solid unit looks built to last. Apple and Nokia are both making phenomenal, iconic hardware these days. No one else is coming close.

The most impressive part of the demo, however, was the Lumia 920 camera. Building off Nokia's PureView brand, it sports a massive, over-sampling lens with an f2.0 aperture that's essentially "floated" so it can capture more light, longer, and produce truly amazing images. A series of "lens" apps, including Microsoft's Photosynth allow for extended features and functionality as well.

It will be interesting to see if Phil Schiller, who's been handling the iPhone camera demos for the last few Apple events, can show off something competitive on September 12.

Microsoft's Joe Belfiore also previewed home screen tile customizations and a new feature of Windows Phone 8: Press the Home and Power button at the same time, and you get a screenshot. You're welcome, bloggers.

Steve Ballmer came out at the end to proclaim 2012 the "year of Windows", which was a bit odd since, from Microsoft's perspective, which year wouldn't be the year of Windows?

The biggest disappointment of the event, however, was that absolutely no pricing or launch date information was provided. Similar to the Microsoft Surface event, it smacked of something thrown together quickly to grab some b-roll from the iPhone 5, with neither the Windows Phone 8 feature set nor go-to-market strategy actually finished yet.

And that's too bad. Because those details matter. And you better believe that on September 12, Apple will announce a price and ship date for iPhone 5.

For tons more on the event, check out WPCentral's complete Nokia Lumia coverage.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Nokia tries to preempt iPhone 5 with amazing Lumia 920 camera, absolutely no launch details


It looks like a good phone, and sexy to boot. My favorite part? It looks nothing like an iPhone, and it is still gorgeous. Samsung should learn some lessons from Nokia, here: you can make a good-looking, functional smartphone WITHOUT copying Apple. I won't be getting the Lumia 920, because I am a die hard Apple fanboy, but I love that this phone looks NOTHING like the iPhone, but still looks GREAT! Good job, Nokia!

With the bright colors and focus on camera and inductive charging, it's easy to see who Nokia and MS are aiming at here. And it's exactly who they need to focus on.

While I couldn't imagine actually buying one of these loud color phones, the only thing I'm really interested in is WP8, new features, and how it ties into windows ecosystem. There was little of that here.

The other disappointing thing is that this is probably the best we can expect with both Nokia and MS working closely together. I don't get the sense that MS works as closely with other partners. I'd have to see more about Samsung's offering.

The demo seemed too rushed for some reason like it was just set up in a hurry.. one of the most annoying parts of it was where one of the speakers constantly kept reading off the script and making errors regardless.. poor preparation that kinda doesn't hold any candlelight to Apple's events.. Was hoping for a launch date, but we got nothing of the sort - sigh! I don't think this will honestly have people flocking to the Lumia 920 / 820 from other ecosystems just yet.. especially with Apple's own big event coming up next week.

I've never understood why competitors rush to announce something *just before* Apple. Even Apple's harshest critics concede they are masterful presenters, and that the media will saturate all channels (over)analyzing Apple's event. Since Apple typically does one big show per product per year, the media also spends about a week beforehand with nearly as much pre-event speculation and hype.

So a week before Apple is the absolute *WORST* time to announce something. Unless you are shipping or taking pre-orders that very day, at most you get two days of sharing page 2 with pre-Apple-event speculation before your message is blown completely off the page/screen, virtually forgotten by the time your product ships. And yet competitors, from Nokia to Google, still try to beat Apple to the announcement punch by a few days. Insanity.

Far better would be to ride out the Apple event storm -- Nokia, you ain't conceding any media space to Apple that their event wouldn't already seize -- and then show up with a more polished, final-to-shipping presentation perhaps even rebutting weak points in Apple's announced product with specific things yours does better.

These phones look awesome! I'm not going to hold my breath but I sure wish this phone would also be available on Verizon. The iPhone 5 will definitely be my main squeeze but because of the techie in me, I would love to be a multi-platformer. Since Verizon uses sim cards for LTE it is possible now...

People need to work on presenatation more. Not only did it seem rushed now it a hurry up and wait situation. Say what you want about Apple but after all the leeks and speculation, they tell you the release date of the OS, when it goes to pre-order etc. They didn't even say when software will be avalible for existing hardware. Not good enough.

Just to sum things up. Clearly Nokia is in a rut. It looks like the last Lumia except heavier. Where's the innovation? I was expecting a much bigger screen. A total redesign. That yellow one looks like a glossy banana instead. I'm not walking around with a banana phone. I aint falling for that banana as a smartphone trick.

So just to be clear, when Apple announces a phone next week that looks like the last iPhone but larger, you will be asking "Where's the innovation?" right?

Just because it looks similar, doesn't mean it isn't packed with innovation or new features.

Re: '...over-sampling lens with an f2.0 aperture that's essentially "floated" so it can capture more light, longer, and produce truly amazing images.'

Wow. That really is amazing. We'll see if the iPhone 5 has anything even close to this. There have been zero rumors about the new iPhone camera component. (But seriously, even the same camera as in the 4S won't be a deal-breaker.)

Re: '...from Microsoft's perspective, which year wouldn't be the year of Windows?'

Exactly. The "Windows" brand has been spread too thin. It's been put on all manner of OSes, from the failed Windows Mobile to the niche player Windows Phone 7. None of which actually has a traditional windowed GUI.

Have to say, IMO Nokia and MS are blowing it big time. They can read all the rumors just like we can. They know the iPhone is coming this month. These Lumia's should be on sale next week at the latest. The same goes for Surface. How can they possibly hope to capture anyone after they all lined up to buy the new iPhone over a month before they launch their hero devices?

I just sold my iPhone 4 last week for more than I paid for it over 2 years ago. I'm ready to buy a new phone and I still have my Galaxy Nexus to sell as well. And Apple could very well win me back even though I think the 920 is everything the 900 ended up failing on for me.

Such disappointment at the seemingly complete lack of strategy and urgency here.

Maybe cause they know that not everyone is gonna buy a new iPhone ?!
I for one will wait for Nokia unless Apple comes out with something HUGE. And that ugly skinny tall iPhone 4S better not be the new iPhone. It just looks awkward and outdated.

Come on Rene !

Once news got out that Apple would be holding an iPhone event on September 12, every competitor and their platform partner scrambled to announce events ahead of time."

Really ?! Apple announced their event yesterday ! Nokia had the September 5th event announced weeks ago !!!
And Nokia didn't try to preempt nothing. They simply announced their new products and they showed that theyre still part of the competition. Apple needs to really step it up next week !!

Yes the did ! May 23rd ! ;)

Did Apple had theirs ANNOUNCED before July 30th

so you think Nokia went by the date your site announced a date that at the time was nothing but rumors ?! lol you must really think that every phone manufacturer comes to iMore , reads the rumors and then plans their keynotes & events around it !
Kudos for nailing the date Sep 12, but don't let that expand the size of your head my friend. Nokia would've been damned by you if you would've set their event anytime after Sep 12 ;)

You're suggesting nokia did not hear anything about the highly likely possibility of a Sept 12 announcement and coincidently gave a phone launch a week before the worst kept secret in the industry with no price or precise availability?

Im suggesting that Nokia didnt plan their event around rumors of iPhone event and our friend poiman just laid out the proof below!

I'm considering this phone. iPhone has become boring. I've had the 3, 3S, 4, 4S and they've stayed relatively unchanged. Time for something new

Yea. And if the rumors are true, the "iPhone 4 rehash"/iPhone 5 will not be "iconic" by any stretch of the imagination. Pun intended. This phone looks good. We'll get a launch date for it soon enough. Meanwhile, let's all wait for the yawn fest on September 12th.

Looks like a very cool phone. However, for some reason I felt less inclined to buy it once I saw Steve Ballmer on stage.

Definitely a sexy phone... but it does remind me of the 4th gen iPod Nano w/ the shape and color scheme. Apple is boxing itself in with once a year innovation for its phones... all the other possible designs will already be thought off and produced by non-apple companies in next 12 months. It seems Apple has already run into the end of form factor innovation when it comes to the iPhone.... it'll be 3 years with essentially the same design (iphone4, iphone4s, iphone5). Limiting its phone selection to 1 phone and 2 colors creates efficiencies business/manufacturing wise but I believe they should offer a wider selection of phones.

Amazing hardware... HTC One series anyone?? Come on ... have you ever handle the HTC one X or One S .. .

Besides the Iphone hardware are overrated.. NEEDLESS METAL .. is correct.. but not for the reasons Nokia would think... The needless metals are the reason why Iphone screens are prone to cracks.. The plasticky Samsung is more functional because it keeps your device's screen safe..

I love the 920 soo much. The last iPhone I had was in 2010 and I never want to get one again. I usually keep two phones . A galaxy s 3 and a galaxy note. Windows phone 8 is the excitment I needed. Goodbye galaxy note. Don't get me wrong I still have an iPad 3 . I just wouldnt ever buy another iPhone . I'm surprise people aren't tired of the same platform yet with the same incremental upgrades once a year ugh. To each his own I guess.