Nokia is in a bind. The company announced more than a year ago that it planned to abandon both Symbian and MeeGo in favor of Windows Phone, the emerging mobile Microsoft platform that is currently still emerging more than two years after it was introduced as “Windows Phone 7 Series” in February 2010. Nokia and Microsoft had a lot in common, of course. Beyond an executive who ran Microsoft’s business division before joining Nokia as its CEO, both companies were once giants in the smartphone space. Microsoft had long since toppled, and Nokia’s market share was plummeting as its products continued to struggle against Android and the iPhone. Just two smartphones have emerged so far from Nokia and Microsoft’s deal since it was announced more than a year ago, and only one launched with carrier support in the United States. Now, Nokia is preparing to release its first flagship Windows Phone for the U.S. market — the Lumia 900 — and I spent the past week testing the handset in order to determine whether or not this might finally be the device that puts both Nokia and Microsoft back on the map.
In a world where smartphones are judged on paper long before they find their way to consumers’ hands, the Lumia 900 is a tough pony to bet on.
Several smartphones with quad-core processors will launch in the coming months and the Lumia 900 has a single-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU. We already have phones with giant qHD and 720p HD displays on the market — Samsung is even prepping its first smartphone with a 1080p HD display according to BGR’s sources — and the Lumia 900 has a 4.3-inch ClearBlack AMOLED display with 480 x 800-pixel resolution. Apple’s iPhone 4S includes as much as 64GB of internal memory and numerous Android handsets come with 32GB of internal storage expandable to 64GB thanks to microSDHC support, but the Lumia 900 comes with 16GB and no memory card slot.
Nokia itself doesn’t quite know how to position its new flagship smartphone on paper. Case in point: “Bing,” Internet Explorer 9″ and “HTML5″ are three of the first six items Nokia lists at the top of the Lumia 900′s specs page.
Lucky for Nokia, this “world” of specs and paper champions is a relatively small one that is generally confined to gadget reviewers, tech bloggers and smartphone enthusiasts. While the spec-head mentality sometimes trickles out into the mass market, consumers by and large don’t care about the technology that powers their gadgets. Even if they toss out the term “dual-core,” they typically have no idea why a dual-core chipset may or may not be better than a single-core processor. Instead, they simply want their gadgets to perform well.