Why no front-facing camera on first Windows Phones from Nokia?

Why no front-facing camera on first Windows Phones from Nokia?

Summary: There are no front-facing cameras on Nokia's first two Windows Phone handsets. Some users are asking why.

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As I noted in a Nokia World blog post from earlier today, there are no front-facing cameras on the Lumia 800 or 710 Windows Phones.

The big question among a number of attendees here is: Why not?

The answer, according to at least some Nokia representatives with whom I spoke at the show, is there just wasn't enough time to add it to the handsets.

Nokia has been hustling for months, trying to get its first Windows Phone out the door before the end of 2011. Even though Nokia knew Microsoft was in the midst of acquiring Skype -- making the need for a front-facing camera all the more urgent, one might think -- there were only so many things Nokia could pull off if it wanted to get its first phones out this year, representatives from the company said. (There were only so many things the company could manage in a relatively short amount of time is how one Nokia rep explained it.)

I've asked via the official channels whether there is a corporate statement from Nokia as to why there isn't a front-facing camera, but no word back yet.

Does the omission from the Nokia Lumia 800 and 710  mean there won't be a front-facing camera on Windows Phones that are part of Nokia's "portfolio" of products due in the U.S. in early 2012? No. But it also doesn't guarantee that any of the next Nokia Windows Phones will include those cameras, either.

See also: Nokia’s first Windows Phones: What’s there, what’s notPhotos: The Nokia World sales pitchNokia World: Live blogging the Day 1 keynoteNokia’s new Lumia 800, 710 Windows phonesFor outside the U. S. for now | CNET: Nokia’s Windows Phone push

Given that the N9, which is very similar to the Lumia (except that it runs MeeGo) does have a front-facing camera located at the bottom of the phone), I wondered if there might be something in the Windows Phone operating system that hindered Nokia's inclusion of a front-facing camera. That doesn't seem to be the case, however -- especially given the new HTC Titan and Radar Windows Phones do include front-facing cameras.

Neither Nokia nor Microsoft officials are sharing dates as to when the first Nokia Windows Phones will launch in the U.S., beyond saying it will be in early 2012. Nokia has said there will be CDMA and LTE Windows Phones next year but also won't provide more specific dates or names of which carriers will be offering these phones here in the U.S.

A Nokia spokesperson did say that there are reason Nokia decided to roll out its first Windows Phones in Europe and Asia before the U.S. Those reasons include brand preference (i.e., Nokia has more loyalty/brand recognition in those areas than the U.S.); language support; and giving priority to "markets where we expect to be popular").

I've also been wondering whether Nokia is planning its U.S. launch around Tango, the next version of the Windows Phone operating system that comes after "Mango." No one from Microsoft -- not even Windows Phone Corporate Vice President Joe Belfiore (pictured above) -- is publicly acknowledging the Tango codename (beyond drinking Tango soda here at Nokia World). But given that Tango 2 supposedly will help Microsoft and Nokia get the Windows Phone OS on lower-priced handsets, perhaps there's a connection there and Nokia is waiting for Tango before launching its full U.S. line-up....

Topics: Nokia, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Telcos, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • RE: Why no front-facing camera on first Windows Phones from Nokia?

    I could care less about the front facing camera. They did have plenty of time to add a 32GB model. That is something that is lacking and I am disappointed about it.
    mike2k
    • RE: Why no front-facing camera on first Windows Phones from Nokia?

      @mike2k Yes Front face is important and who cares of 32GB troll has dont you know it comes with Skydrive which gives you 25GB store anything on it. having front face camera important and we know your a outdated in mobile technology if you do not care of FF camera.
      obamasucks2011
      • RE: Why no front-facing camera on first Windows Phones from Nokia?

        @obamasucks2011 <br>I made a simple opinionated response and doesn't require your pathetic bashing. "I" don't need the FFC, so I don't care about it. I dont want to fill up my skydive with my 25GB of music, so i want that space locally. I have my reasons, post yours and leave your bashing at the door<br><br>And by the way, it's you're not your. Who is "we" anyway?
        mike2k
      • RE: Why no front-facing camera on first Windows Phones from Nokia?

        @obamasucks2011 File size limits make Skydrive a poor substitute for 32g of built-in storage.
        LP212
      • RE: Why no front-facing camera on first Windows Phones from Nokia?

        @obamasucks2011 It matters when carriers are over the place are getting rid of unlimited data plans and putting on overages when you go over 2 gigs. It also matters when you go through areas of poor signal, high usage or want your battery to last longer (play content locally instead of trying to stream it).
        ac3_z
      • RE: Why no front-facing camera on first Windows Phones from Nokia?

        @obamasucks2011 :

        Wow! If Apple said you buy an 8Gb phone with 25 Gb in the cloud, people would say... but that needs Internet connectivity and a data plan.

        But if MS does it, it's wonderful... keep trolling....
        cosuna
      • RE: Why no front-facing camera on first Windows Phones from Nokia?

        @obamasucks2011 Perhaps this smart phone is attached that do not understand us. Definitely want to get out of the box and therefore opted for this alternative.
        http://www.zuarticles.com
        karismasand07
      • &lt;a href=&quot;http://www.tran33m.net/vb/&quot;&gt;&Ugrave;?&Ugrave;?&Oslash;&ordf;&Oslash;&macr;&Ugrave;?&Oslash;&sect;&Oslash;&ordf;&lt;/a&gt;

        @obamasucks2011 That Fujitsu IS12T really set my expectations high for 2nd gen Windows Phones with 32GB storage and a 13MP camera. How come none of the other phones announced since then have those kind of specs? And why isn't the Fujitsu phone being released in more places?
        omaia7
    • RE: Why no front-facing camera on first Windows Phones from Nokia?

      @mike2k ..you have a good point about the 32 GB model. The 800 is a high end device, I don't see any reason why Nokia couldn't offer the extra capacity. (heck the iphone offers up to 64 gigs)
      logic103
    • RE: Why no front-facing camera on first Windows Phones from Nokia?

      @mike2k Although I don't use Facetime much on my iPhone 4, the front camera is quite useful for apps like WeReward where you get paid for submitting a picture of yourself at certain businesses. The omission of front camera on these Microkia phones is odd, in this day and age.
      ac3_z
    • RE: Why no front-facing camera on first Windows Phones from Nokia?

      @mike2k
      Agree. At least they could have provided a slot for a micro SD card - then the cost of adding storage would be entirely the user's choice.
      jaykayess
    • RE: Why no front-facing camera on first Windows Phones from Nokia?

      @mike2k
      Agree. At least they could have provided a slot for a micro SD card - then the cost of adding storage would be entirely the user's choice.
      jaykayess
  • RE: Why no front-facing camera on first Windows Phones from Nokia?

    That Fujitsu IS12T really set my expectations high for 2nd gen Windows Phones with 32GB storage and a 13MP camera. How come none of the other phones announced since then have those kind of specs? And why isn't the Fujitsu phone being released in more places?
    cool8man
  • RE: Why no front-facing camera on first Windows Phones from Nokia?

    Same here. I personally couldn't care less about a front facing camera (who the heck wants to Skype on such a small screen?) but I definitely know people who were anxiously awaiting Nokia's announcement and are having an absolute meltdown about this right now.
    blueyonder64
    • RE: Why no front-facing camera on first Windows Phones from Nokia?

      @blueyonder64
      I've not tried Skype on a phone, but I've tried FaceTime. It actually works rather well on a small screen. I expect that Skype would be similar.
      Wakemewhentrollsgone
  • RE: Why no front-facing camera on first Windows Phones from Nokia?

    Oh, and very good point about the N9 having a FFC. Curious that they could include it on what is essentially an identical chassis but be forced to leave it out of this particular model. Doesn't really make sense.
    blueyonder64
    • RE: Why no front-facing camera on first Windows Phones from Nokia?

      @blueyonder64 No, it isn't. 800 has the Search button in the place of the N9's FF camera. Moving it to a different place would require more work and the schedule clearly didn't allow it.
      Oslik
    • @everyone who is disappointed with Lumia 710 and 800 not having FFC

      Not long now until the Lumia 900 is released which does have a front facing camera. Unfortunately still doesn't have more storage!

      Despite me being quite loyal to both Nokia and Microsoft for years I now decided to buy the new Sony Xperia S which does have a 1.3mp front facing camera, HDMI, 12.1mp Camera, 32gb storage, 1024 ram and loads of other stuff. Super fast!!!
      subzero9975
  • No front facing cam -- good question.

    The front facing camera feature is extremely popular for social networking purposes -- especially in Asia, and among women.

    A main principle in designing consumer products should be to try to see and understand the product from perspectives different from one's own.
    voltrarian
    • RE: Why no front-facing camera on first Windows Phones from Nokia?

      @voltrarian: "A main principle in designing consumer products..."

      Except that the discussion is from someone consuming consumer products. Big difference, and totally academic.
      ALISON SMOCK