You ubergeeks reading this will think the Nokia Lumia 710 running Windows Phone 7.5 Mango, announced this morning and scheduled to go on sale from T-Mobile January 11 for $49.99 with a two-year deal, is lame. And, from a superficial spec point of view, you’d probably be right, especially when it’s compared to the recent rash of Android LTE superphones.
But the Lumia 710 ain’t for you. It’s for your parents or grandparents.
With its pricing and design, T-Mobile and Nokia are targeting the one segment of the smart phone market not already besotted by either iPhone or Android phones – folks over 45. According to recent Nielsen research, while 62 percent of teens and more than half of those 18-44 already have smart phones, less than 40 percent of baby boomers have traded in their flip phones, less than 20 percent of seniors.
According to T-Mobile, the Lumia 710 is “(t)argeted at the nearly 150 million Americans who haven’t purchased their first smartphones,” and oldsters will love it.
Lumia’s hip introductory event at the Skylight Soho performance space, filled with pool and air hockey tables, checkers and chess, dancing girls in inflated snow globes, dancing Yetis and hanging pizza backed by a beat-heavy dinosaur rock soundtrack, was certainly not for seniors, but it’s where I got my hands on the Lumia and managed to run it through some of its paces.
I’ve always had an affinity for Microsoft’s simpler to grok function-based, rather than app-centric, approach, and Mango looks great on Lumia’s bright and colorful 3.7-inch WVGA screen. Powered by a 1.4 GHz Snapdragon engine, Lumia is lightning fast in everything it does, with smooth flick scrolling and quick touch reaction Lumia is also speedy for surfing, thanks to T-Mobile’s “4G” HSPA Plus network. Sites optimized for mobile (and Mango lets you designate if you wan the mobile or desktop versions of a site, where the former is available) practically POPPED nearly instantaneously onto Lumia’s screen; full HTML pages also loaded relatively quickly, but on such a small screen could only be read with an electron microscope, or a magnifying glass grandpa probably packs in his pocket.
You can activate Lumia’s 5 MP camera by holding down the side camera shutter button, similar to how iPhone’s camera is activated even from the lock screen. On the screen, photos I took in the dim party ambience, aided by the LED flash, looked crisp and detailed, and maintained their bright color.
While Lumia has 8 GB of memory built in, there’s no micro SD card. The theory is first-time users are unlikely to own a lot of digital media. Nokia told me talk time was an impressive seven hours and standby time of 16.5 days, both rated with the phone in 4G.
Physically, Lumia is light and palm-sized, although its buttons may be a bit too small for clumsier older arthritic fingers. Its front is plastic, but its rear offers a surer rubberized surface. Come to think of it, Mango’s on-screen controls may also be a bit too small for older eyes and fingers to discern and manipulate.
Initially, Lumia will be available in two color schemes – all black, or black with a white front frame. I was told additional colors would be available sometime later, possibly the cyan and magenta casing we originally saw when Nokia previewed the Lumia a couple of months ago.
Hopefully we’ll get a sample for a more wider-ranging review after CES.