Windows Phone 8 May Actually Be the Devices Biggest Feature

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2012-09-05 Print this article Print


Perhaps the biggest feature of the phone is actually Windows Phone 8. Because Microsoft and Nokia worked together to the extent they did, the integration is more complete than what you usually find in smartphones. The connection between apps and hardware appears to be essentially seamless. The Windows home screen now fills the Nokia 920 screen completely and without space wasted to black borders. Perhaps more important, Windows Phone 8 comes to market with more than 100,000 apps already in the marketplace. And because you can use Windows Phone 7 apps on a Windows Phone 8, you don't have to worry about apps mysteriously disappearing when you upgrade (like what happens with BlackBerry 7.1).

The obvious question, of course, is how well will the Nokia Lumia 920 and Windows Phone 8 do when it runs up against the iPhone, especially the upcoming iPhone 5?

In this case, perhaps the best thing you can say is that it's not an iPhone. But there's a difference. Because Windows Phone 8 does not try to clone anything about Apple's iOS, and because the Lumia comes with a different feature set, including little things like the ability to work while wearing gloves, to the customizable start screen, the Lumia 920 provides a clear alternative.

While the iPhone fans, who are probably already camping out at Apple stores, won't love it because it's not an iPhone, there are a lot of people who will love the Lumia 920 precisely because it's not an iPhone. In one sense, Apple can't depart too far from the iPhone paradigm, or it risks losing iPhone fans. But Nokia and Microsoft need to depart because they want to attract people for whom the iPhone isn't the answer.

Currently, the biggest choice for people who don't want an iPhone is Android, but Google's phone OS has its own risks.

Still, there are plenty of things we don't know about the Lumia 920, including which carriers will sell it, how much it will cost, and when Nokia will begin selling it. We do know that AT&T and Verizon Wireless will sell the Lumia 920, which means that there will be both GSM and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) versions of the device. T-Mobile had very good luck with the Lumia 710, so it seems like a good bet. But Sprint? Who knows?

But one thing we do know is that there's a clear choice if you don't want an iPhone or an Android clone of an iPhone. That might be everything Nokia and Microsoft need.

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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