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Nokia unveils Windows Phone 8 smartphones

Nokia has unveiled what it claims are its “most innovative” smartphones yet and the first to use the Windows Phone 8 operating system as it looks to win back market share from Apple and Samsung.

NokiaLumia820

The phone manufacturer introduced the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 at the Nokia World event in New York today (5 September).

The Lumia 920 comes with a camera Nokia claims captures between five to tens the amount of light of any of its competitors devices thanks to its Pureview technology. It also boasts the most powerful Nokia battery ever, it adds.

The Lumia 820, slightly smaller than the 920, comes with three different colour cases.

Speaking at the event, Nokia’s executive vice president Jo Harlow, said the quality of the Lumia’s 920 camera would be one of its key selling points.

Talking about the opportunities that the Windows Phone 8 provides, platform offers, he says: “We are bringing together Nokia’s location based apps to create an integrated suite of location based services. Offline maps will be a key feature. Not just caching online data, the real deal, true offline maps that work whether you are connected or not.”

Both phones will incorporate wireless charging technology, with the Lumia 920 having the feature built in and Nokia releasing a wireless charger for the Lumia 820. The company has signed deals with Virgin Atlantic, Coffee Bean and Tea Life to use the feature. Further partnerships will be announced in the months to come, it says.

Additionally, the smartphone maker is working with developers to create exclusive content for the platform. It has signed a six month deal with Groupon to host an exclusive an app and is also working with Rovio to launch an Angry Birds hub on the Windows Phone 8 platform. The hub allows users to download wallpapers and ringtones as well as purchase all of the Angry Birds games from one location.

The smartphones will run on the latest Windows Phone operating software, which Microsoft hopes will rival Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android to become a third mobile platform.

Also speaking at the event, Nokia’s chief executive Stephen Elop said the strategy for the Windows Phone was built around the realisation that “the industry had shifted to a war of ecosystems.”

He adds: “We shared a vision with Microsoft that we could create a new smartphone experience. This meant giving people beautiful phones whilst ensuring we deliver services.”

“Across all of our strategy we said Nokia would differentiate, we said Nokia would create a unique Nokia experience. Together with Microsoft we captured the attentions of developers — the Windows Phone ecosystem has grown to 100,000 apps. Three times faster after Nokia joined.”

David McQueen, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, says the move is a “welcome boon” for Nokia and the wider Windows Phone ecosystem in general.

He adds: “The ability now to pack better hardware into the devices gives Nokia and other WP OEMs the opportunity to level the playing field against the likes of Apple iPhone and the best that Android can offer. With a few new stand-out features in the Lumia 920, such as the impressive screen, PureView, OIS and wireless charging, added to a host of peripherals and Nokia’s new class of navigation and mapping services, the device is undoubtedly a desirable, impressive piece of kit.

“However, it is the ability to translate this message at the point of sale and prove its value proposition to the consumer that will determine the success of Nokia’s WP devices and help grow the platform.”

The struggling handset maker will be hoping that the launch of the phones will arrest falling sales and profit as it struggles to keep pace with smartphone market leaders Apple and Samsung. Nokia announced it was slashing 10,000 jobs, the equivalent of 19% of its workforce, in June in the wake of another profit warning.

Nokia’s hopes that the Lumia devices would usher in a change in its fortunes suffered a swift rebuke as the company’s share price plummented by 13 per cent during the event.

The announcement comes amid reports that Apple will unveil the latest iPhone device next week.

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