At Nokia World 2011 in London, Nokia has officially announced the Nokia Lumia 800 and Nokia Lumia 710 Windows Phone 7.5 handsets. They had leaked earlier, but we did learn about new things like Nokia Drive, a fully featured navigation app that comes with voice directions, out of the box, for free. Nokia has also talked about Nokia Music, a “super-easy” Internet radio application that doesn’t require an account, a login, a password or an install. It comes with the Lumia, it’s free and it works offline too. Finally, the Nokia Public Transport app seems very interesting. It works in a great number of cities.The Lumia 800 is already gathering a number of fans and Nokia’s CEO calls it the “first real windows phone”, which in many ways, is true. What’s more interesting is to see how Nokia is going in with everything that it has: Lumia 800 are being boxed right now and before the end of the year, it will be available in Europe, then Asia, with the support of 31 carriers. The Lumia 710 will follow shortly.
Unfortunately, the US availability will happen only in early 2012. I’m very surprised by this for two reasons: for one, the US market is a single monolithic and huge market. Secondly, by 2012, a number of more powerful (at least on the hardware front) Android phones will be out. That said, this is Nokia, and the company has traditionally launched phones in Europe and Asia first.
The final bit: pricing. The Nokia Lumia 800 will cost 420 Euros, and the Nokia Lumia 710 will retail for 270 Euros. That’s without taxes, and without a contract.
With this move, Nokia bets its future on Windows Phone. Without a high-end, there cannot be a low-end, and without a new dawn, Nokia’s “halo effect” in emerging markets won’t last. Nokia needs a break, and it needs it now. The good news is that the whole eco-system which it has been trying to build needed a better foundation than Symbian, and Windows Phone may just be that.