I am testing a Nokia Lumia 800 that I got thanks to Hans Peter Brondmo a friend at Nokia. It is a beautiful phone. My favorite hardware right now, even better than an HTC, Samsung or iPhone in terms of look and feel. One hardware drawback though is the lack of a front facing camera which is not Nokia’s fault but Microsoft’s. The Nokia Lumia 800 feels pretty solid, whatever material is made of looks better than the Samsung plastic or the iPhone metal/plastic combination. WP is also beautiful but it does have many missing features that I need. If you are used to Google you’ll be annoyed as WP forces you to use Bing, it makes it very hard to use Google Maps and forces you to use Nokia Maps which have awful graphics although work pretty much like Google maps. There is no app for Tumblr, and the Youtube “app” is a joke (it’s simply a shortcut that takes you to the Youtube homepage). In general, the availability of apps and games is very limited compared to iPhone and Android.
What is great about WP is the Xbox Live integration which enables connectivity with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console with Kinect. You can see an example of how this works in this video. For all users with a strong interest in gaming, this unique feature should be a strong argument to get a device with WP.
Sharing websites from the Internet Explorer is complicated when you want to share only on one social network (by default it will share simultaneously on Twitter, Facebook and an unknown network called Windows Live, unless you manually select only the network you want). If you live in a multilingual world as me, Swiftkey is the best keyboard for Android to do predictive multilingual typing. WP also has predictive multilingual typing but you have to switch from language to language with a key that is just in the wrong place. At least the iPhone has a globe but Android is best for that. Hitting the right keys on the Lumia when typing is difficult, and it’s disappointing that there is no way of activating haptic feedback (small vibrations) when you type.
Android is very well integrated with Google photos and Google+ and whatever pictures you take go to the “Google cloud”. iPhone has the same feature. WP does not have a photo cloud nor automatically sends pictures to a photo cloud that is good. There is some kind of Microsoft cloud but its workings are obscure to me. Also in iPhone and Android you just log in for Apple and Google but for the Lumia you have to log in to Microsoft and Nokia with two sets of passwords and more accounts to open. People used to have Microsoft passwords, now few do. I have yet to find an app or setting that allows me to easily turn on and off different wireless connections like bluetooth, WiFi or 3G to increase battery life. Now what is great about the Lumia is the short time the phone takes to boot and the overall speed at which apps work.
If Nokia and Microsoft manage to get the 500 or so most popular iOS and Android apps onto the WP platform and correct some of the shortcomings I mention above, their strategy might be successful after all. I argued earlier that Nokia only had a 20% chance of surviving, but after seeing what they accomplished in the past months I now think they have a higher probability of succeeding. It would be great to see Nokia regain some of its old strength. More competition always improves the ecosystem. My last comment is that when I hold the Lumia 800 I wish it ran Android!
Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars