The next high-end smartphone from Nokia may not have been shown off at MWC 2013 last month, but the rumors have persisted for quite some time regarding what we might expect out of such a device. Having used a Nokia Lumia 920 for a few months on and off, the phone is certainly quite a decent device, however with some careful development Nokia could make a huge leap forward with a successor.
Here's what I'd like to see in the next Nokia Lumia flagship. I don't think my claims are too ridiculous or too unreasonable; if Nokia has developed this device to the best of their abilities, the following features should all (hopefully) be seen when the device is finally unveiled.
1. An awesome aluminium body
All leaks and rumors point to the next Lumia donning an aluminium shell over the cumbersome polycarbonate used on current models, so this has to make my wishlist for the next Lumia. Even though some people find the Lumia 920 to be of adequate size and weight, throughout my usage I found the body to be too large and too heavy; issues which hopefully can be remedied by a lighter, aluminium body.
Aluminium would allow the design to be slimmer while remaining equally strong, and if the construction is good it can also be lighter than any Lumia flagship we've seen so far. Combining the aluminium with a decent slab of curved Gorilla Glass, possibly using a design completely different from what we've seen in current Lumia devices, and we'll be in for a real winner.
2. A proper (as-rumored) PureView camera
With all the rumors surrounding a potential 41-megapixel camera on the next high-end Lumia, it would be a great shame to discover that everything we had heard was just rubbish. The "PureView" camera on the Lumia 920 was impressive when it came to low-light photography, but there were definitely a few areas for improvement in normal lighting conditions, which form the majority of times people want to take a photo.
The main feature I'm hoping for in the next Lumia's camera is some form of oversampling, like we first saw in the 808 PureView. The camera doesn't necessarily have to include a 41-megapixel camera, especially if it made the design as unappealing and thick as the 808 PureView, but something in the range of 20-30 MP could be impressive while facilitating a decent design. Of course if Nokia could chuck in a 41 MP sensor without a ridiculous hump, I'd like to see that as well.
3. A similar 4.5-inch display
Generally speaking I had no complaints in regards to the Nokia Lumia 920's display, and I don't think that Nokia needs to do anything radical to the display in any sort of successor. At 4.5-inches it seemed like a perfect size for myself and others: not too big that the device balloons out of a sensible size, and not too small that it falls into a mid-range category. The IPS ClearBlack technology that Nokia used was also impressive, and possibly could be tweaked to add in improvements.
Even though the Lumia 920's display isn't 1080p like some upcoming Android flagships, including this sort of display is not only not supported in Windows Phone 8, it's also unnecessary. A 4.5-inch 1280 x 768 display is already extremely crisp to use, and the added pixel count comes with a performance and battery hit. I'd be happy to see Nokia use the same sort of display type and resolution come the next device.
4. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 600 chipset
Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 Plus chipset, that we've seen in the majority of higher-end Windows Phone 8 devices, has so far been adequate for speed across the operating system... but you know what's even better? More speed! That's why I'd love to see Qualcomm's latest chip, the Snapdragon 600, inside the next Nokia Lumia device.
Why the Snapdragon 600 and not the Snapdragon 800? Another one of my wishes is for an all-day battery (see below), and from the looks of it the Snapdragon 600 seems like a better compromise between power and battery life. It's 40% faster than the Snapdragon S4 and it's also apparently more power efficient, plus you get a few more cores and a better GPU while you're at it.
As far as I can tell there's no reason why Windows Phone 8, or an update to the OS, couldn't support this chipset as similar chips have been used in the past. It seems like a perfect natural progression of what's in current devices, and would be a great inclusion in the next Lumia flagship.
5. A principal device thickness of 9mm or less
Nokia hasn't seemed to have grasped the concept of thin flagship devices, instead delivering a constant flurry of chunky devices without any sort of thought towards making the device less brick-like. The Lumia 800, Lumia 900 and Lumia 920 were all thick devices in the 10.5-12.5mm range, and none of them implemented a design that tried to hide the size (unlike the HTC 8X's seriously curved body).
With the Nokia Lumia 720 the Finnish company has proved that they can, in fact, design a device that utilizes a 9mm thick body, and I'd love to see some of these traits carry over to the next flagship Lumia. A principal device thickness of less than 9mm would be great to see - maybe with a camera hump for PureView technology - but I definitely don't want to see something like we have now with the Lumia 920.
6. A sizable, all-day battery
I doubt Nokia will be including a removable battery in the next high-end Lumia - mostly because they'll want to use a unibody build - so they need to compensate by including a decent-sized battery with some software optimizations to keep the device going all day. The Lumia 920's battery was okay, but more juice could easily be squeezed in with some careful designing.
And yes, I do believe that Nokia should be able to design a phone that's under 9mm thick while still including a battery that will last all day. The Motorola RAZR HD, an 8.4mm thick phone comparable to the Lumia 920 in footprint, packed in a 2,500 mAh battery that easily lasted all day, and I'd love to see Nokia do the same in the next Lumia.
7. Some killer software features
Sure, Nokia's selection of exclusive Windows Phone applications are great, but I think Nokia could perhaps go one step further by bundling in and integrating some sort of killer feature. A number of Android devices I've used have included some great, integrated features - from Smart Actions on Motorola devices, to the intricate control settings on Samsung phones - and I'd love to see Nokia include something cool (other than apps) on the next high-end Lumia.
8. A microSD card slot
Having a large amount of storage sure is nice (I would be expecting nothing less than 32 GB for a high-end Lumia), it's also nice to be able to expand upon this storage at a later date. You might find that even though 32 GB was enough initially, that you actually need 64 GB. Without a microSD card slot you'd need to purchase an entirely new phone to get more storage, or carefully manage what content you have on your device.
If Nokia includes a microSD card slot you could simply slot in an expansion card when you run out of space, at little cost to you. It also makes it very handy for people who have already used a phone with a microSD card slot, as sliding this card into your new device means instant access to all your old content including photos, videos and music. Samsung and Sony both seem to understand the need for microSD slots in high-end phones, and I hope Nokia will follow suit.
9. Worldwide carrier availability
This one's simple: no carrier exclusives. Make the device available on a wide range of carriers worldwide and see devices run out of the stores. Don't force people to buy unlocked devices, or switch carriers, to have access to the next Lumia. If it's available easily to all who want one, everyone will be happy.
10. A bundled wireless charging plate
The last thing on my wishlist isn't so much directed at the development of the device, but of the included accessories you find in the box. No doubt the next flagship Lumia will be a premium device, and it'll come with a premium price tag. As such, I feel that it would be appropriate and quite awesome of Nokia if there was a bundled wireless charging plate. The Lumia 920 included wireless charging capabilities, but the majority of users will not get to experience the convenience because there is no bundled Qi charger.
Nokia should either include a wireless charger directly in the box of the upcoming new Lumia, or have a cheap bundle readily available to buyers that's only $20 or so more expensive. It's quite an interesting and cool feature that would be made so much more useful if the second necessary part, the charging plate, was included alongside the device.