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Hands-on (kind of) with Nokia Lumia 920 and 820

After today's press conference in New York City, where Nokia and Microsoft showed off the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 smartphones, we got a chance to see both Windows Phone 8 devices in action in a demo room above where the press conference was held.

While we did get to hold the 4.3 inch Lumia 820 and the 4.5 inch Lumia 920, we were told that we could not actually touch the screen to use the Windows Phone 8 interface. We can report that both device look very cool close up and feel well constructed but that's about it...sorry.

Microsoft and Nokia team members did give us some hands-off demo time with the Lumia smartphones. One Nokia rep showed how the City Lens feature works in a simulated street scene. He basically aimed the Lumia 920's camera at a wall made to look like the side of a city street. The smartphone's display showed information about the "street's" shops. It remains to be seen if this will be a useful app or just a cute gimmick that few will use.

We also got a chance to check out the wireless charging capabilities as a Lumia 920 was placed on top of the large speaker shown in the press conference. The device started charging right up. We also saw the smartphone's NFC capabilities. The Lumia 920 was placed next to a smaller speaker and the speaker started playing the song that was running on the smartphone.

We even saw an NFC-enabled business card touch the Lumia 920 and the smartphone brought up all of the information on that business card, and more, on the screen.

We asked Neowin readers if they had any questions they wanted to ask Nokia. Unfortunately, most of the questions you guys had were greeted by "We haven't announced that yet" or "We can't talk about that" from Nokia reps at the press event.

One question, from Neowin reader Salem874, asked, "Why are Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive & Nokia Transport three separate apps on Windows Phone?" The Nokia rep we talked today to said that the reason was that they wanted each of the apps to be a full featured experienced and that Windows Phone 8 makes it easy to pin each app to the Start screen so that they didn't need to really combine those apps into one.

Another question from Neowin reader Enron, asked, "Will Nokia Drive have spoken street names?" The Nokia rep we talked to said that feature will indeed be made available for Nokia Drive when the new Lumia devices are released.

Overall, the presentation today was certainly interesting, but we were disappointed that we were not allowed to actually use the new Lumia smartphones. Hopefully there will be another opportunity to get some real hands-on time before the devices become generally available.

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