Nokia's Lumia range: What's on the way?

Over the last few months, Nokia has been working tirelessly to overhaul its Lumia range, ensuring that its Windows Phone 8 handsets cover a broad spectrum of pricing, and a comprehensive line-up of features.

Since the flagship Lumia 920 and 820 launched with Windows Phone 8 late last year, we’ve seen numerous devices make their debuts, including the cheap and cheerful Lumia 620, the thin and light Lumia 720, and the entry-level Lumia 520. But while sales of Nokia’s Windows Phones have increased to record numbers, with 5.6 million sold last quarter, it would be hard to declare the Lumia range a great success, especially in the face of rivals whose sales have far exceeded those of Nokia’s smartphones.  

Nokia isn’t resting on its laurels of course. Keenly aware that there’s still much work to be done, the company is lining up plenty of new devices to add to its range. The most recent addition is the Lumia 928, destined for Verizon in the US, and its arrival kicks off what Nokia CEO Stephen Elop described as “a season of new product introductions” that will see the Lumia range grow further.

On Tuesday, Nokia will be holding an event in London to let the world “see what’s next” as “the Nokia Lumia story continues”. While we still don’t know exactly what Nokia will announce at that event, earlier this week, Vodafone appeared to refer to a single new Lumia device being launched, calling it “big, bold and beautiful”.

We know there are a few devices on the way from Nokia in the coming months. Not all of them will be announced this week, but whatever the company chooses to show us on Tuesday, there’s still plenty to look forward to.

 

A common criticism of Nokia’s higher-end Lumia devices such as the 920 and 820 is that they’re simply too heavy. Indeed, the flagship 920 weighs in at 185g, significantly heavier than HTC’s range-topper, the 130g Windows Phone 8X. While Nokia has sought to address these concerns with the marginally lighter 928, and the mid-upper-range 720 (which weighs just 128g), there’s still work to be done.

Enter the phone code-named “Catwalk.” While this handset isn’t expected to be a flagship, it should occupy the upper echelons of the Lumia range as a highly specified, thin-and-light device. Weight has been shed by ditching certain features such as integrated wireless charging, although it’s believed this will still be available through optional accessories.

The real weight-saver, though, is the bodywork, which eschews the tough polycarbonate plastic that many have to come to know and love in favour of an aluminium shell. While the image above shows off a rather understated silver device, we understand that Nokia won’t be abandoning its multi-coloured approach; a rendering seen by Neowin (via an unverified source, it must be said), featured a device near-identical to that shown in recently leaked images, with five colour options and a similar finish to the current-generation Apple iPod nano.

Catwalk's specs are believed to be broadly similar to those of the 928, with a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, 8.7MP camera with optical image stabilization, 4.5-inch octaOLED display and 2000mAh battery. The achievement here isn't the advancement of its spec sheet over the 928, but the dramatic slimming down and weight-loss – it's said to weigh just 132g, with a body that's just 8.4mm thick.

 

Ever since Nokia debuted its 808 PureView, featuring a 41MP camera, many have hoped for a Lumia handset to launch with a similarly high-end shooter. While the 920 packed plenty of PureView magic – which Nokia has developed further in the 928, with its xenon flash – these Windows Phones feature comparatively modest 8.7MP cameras.

The “EOS” looks set to be the first Lumia to feature what some might refer to as a “true” PureView camera, with a 41MP sensor and more of the wizardry and witchcraft from the 808.

Little more is known about EOS beyond its focus on photography. We don’t even have an inkling yet of the device’s form factor, and whether or not it will be as chunky as the 808 in order to accommodate the complex architecture of the PureView camera.

 

The Lumia 920/928 are currently the largest handsets that the company offers, featuring high-definition 4.5-inch displays, leaving plenty of room in its range for devices with even bigger screens. While a phablet has been widely rumoured (see below), Nokia looks set to introduce a handset in the very near future that features a larger display but a relatively modest price tag. 

The “MAX” is believed to be headed to market as the Lumia 625, featuring a giant 4.7-inch screen, but with a much less impressive WVGA (800x480px) resolution. Far from being a new flagship, the 625 is expected to cater for smartphone buyers who crave a large form factor, but who aren't too fussed about having high-end specs. 

The 625 will reportedly launch with an updated version of Windows Phone 8, known as General Distribution Release 2. GDR2 – which will also roll out to other Windows Phone 8 handsets - will bring various small improvements to the operating system, including FM radio support. Nokia will also be using GDR2 as an opportunity to deploy some exclusive customisations to its Lumia range, including the ability to wake a device by double-tapping the screen, along with new colour profile settings. 

 

Rumours have been circulating for some time that Nokia is planning to build a Lumia phablet, with the most recent rumblings from the grapevine pointing to a 6-inch device with Full HD (1920x1080px) resolution.

With Lumias aplenty occupying multiple price points and feature-sets all the way down to the ultra-affordable 520, a phablet to sit above the 920/928 remains a gap that has yet to be filled. Industry observers have noted this too, with some analysts insisting that Nokia must move quickly to plug that gap, as the popularity of devices like the Galaxy Note range continues to soar.

Such a device isn’t expected to launch until the last quarter of this year, around the same time that Microsoft rolls out a Windows Phone update to support higher-resolution displays. Unverified information from the UK's Mobile Magazine suggests that the device will go on sale for around £400-£500 GBP (roughly $620-$775 USD / €475-€590 EUR). 

 

With Nokia so heavily invested in Windows Phone as its smartphone platform, and with demand for mobile devices continuing to increase, a Windows tablet from Nokia is something of a no-brainer. Even so, despite all but confirming that a tablet is on the way, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop reportedly said in February that the company  “would consider any option” for the operating system of such a device, even mentioning Android in the same breath.

The company has all but confirmed that it’s working on a tablet, although it’s been careful to avoid revealing any specifics about its plans. It's been claimed that the first Nokia tablet will be ARM-based, running Windows RT, although a Windows 8 version is reportedly under consideration.

In December, it was also reported that the tablet will feature an innovative cover that includes a full keyboard, battery capacity to charge the device, and a kickstand feature, as well as additional ports. 

 

So, which of these new Nokia devices appeals to you, if any? Are you waiting for one of these, or are you hoping that Nokia will bring out something even better? Is there a killer feature that you’re waiting for which isn’t yet on the horizon?

Let us know your thoughts below – and be sure to follow us on Twitter @NeowinFeed to get all of the latest Nokia news, including our coverage from the Lumia launch event on Tuesday. 

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11 Comments

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The Nokia phablet" (hate that word) should really have a stylus if it wants to compete with the Galaxy Note.

I'm not sure if WP8 includes it, but it definitely should if it doesn't, considering how great Windows is at recognizing pen input. It gets a bit ridiculous to sign on the Square app at small businesses with just my finger. WP needs to be ahead of the game and be a powerful rival to Android.

Don't understand why separate features into different categories. Why not just have the best camera on all Lumia phones? Why not make them all great, instead of just some. Phablet, meh! Tablet, yes!

Just had an idea, and might be slightly out of context, it's a very good possibility that Microsoft could kill the folder - Explorer view in Windows blue update for windows RT. It makes sense because metro version of explorer is already under development as seen by the leaked builds. I would love to see a handsomely designed, Lumia inspired Windows RT tablet by Nokia. But I would also like to see the Windows Blue update first.

A common criticism of Nokia's higher-end Lumia devices such as the 920 and 820 is that they're simply too heavy. Indeed, the flagship 920 weighs in at 185g...

...seriously? People are criticising a high-end smartphone for weighing 185g? Yeah, that must be a real burden to carry compared to the bricks of the 80s that were full of helium and weighed bugger-all!

I have a Lumia 820; that weighs 160g, and not once have I ever considered it heavy. I don't notice any difference from my iPhone 3GS (which is 25g lighter). If you're seriously criticising Lumia phones as being heavy, then to quote Soccer AM: "Get on the weights!"

I'm not sure why you can't fathom there being a need for high quality devices in a smaller form factor from Nokia to compete with the iPhone and 8X specs.

If anything, Catwalk should have gone smaller than 4.5" to shave off more fat. iPhone is the target, not Samsung's phadlets.

Edited by Dashel, May 12 2013, 10:38pm :

MightyJordan said,

...seriously? People are criticising a high-end smartphone for weighing 185g? Yeah, that must be a real burden to carry compared to the bricks of the 80s that were full of helium and weighed bugger-all!

I have a Lumia 820; that weighs 160g, and not once have I ever considered it heavy. I don't notice any difference from my iPhone 3GS (which is 25g lighter). If you're seriously criticising Lumia phones as being heavy, then to quote Soccer AM: "Get on the weights!"

Comparing a,device,from,the,'80s with a today one is groundless; I compare my monitors, my TVs, my PC games with what the,market offers today not with Pac Man or Kong.
The 920 is indeed a bulk and heavy device. Would I trade it for the rumored aluminum Catwalk? No way: aluminum is for cans and I drop my phones at least every other day but.... other people may have different priorities and prefer a lighter device; nothing wrong with that.

I hope the EOS rumors are true. I also want a Nokia tablet. I'm trying to hold out to see if they have anything to announce in regards to that!