Nokia's first Windows Phones: What's there, what's not

Here's what's here ... and not.. with the first two Windows Phones from Nokia that were unveiled at the opening day of the Nokia World trade show.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Nokia took the wraps off its first two Windows Phones at the opening day of its Nokia World conference.

There are two of them: The Nokia Lumia 800 (the phone known as "SeaRay") and the Lumia 710 (the phone codenamed "Sabre"). The phones both are built on the same 1.4 GHz Snapdragon processor and  "Mango" operating system release. The Lumia 800 features a 3.7-inch display and an 8 MP camera and a ; the 710 has a 3.7-inch display and a 5 MP camera. The estimated retail price of the Lumia 800 is 420 Euros (about $585 U.S.) and the 710 is 270 Euros (or $376 U.S.).

The rumored third Windows Phone device -- a more business-focused phone codenamed "Ace" was a no-show today (if it exists at all, which I believe it does).

Many on Twitter noted the first Nokia Windows Phones were solid, but lacking some of the features one might expect -- like front-facing cameras, built-in NFC support and on-device storage of more than 16 GB.

There's no official word as to when -- and actually if -- the Lumia 800 and 710 models will come to the U.S. Nokia officials promised a "portfolio" of Windows Phones will begin rolling out in the U.S. starting early next year, but didn't actually say whether those two devices will be part of that portfolio.

We do know that Nokia is going to support CDMA and LTE in certain markets where it makes sense, but, again, no specific official promises. (ThisIsMyNext reporters noted that Verizon Wireless reps were at the show, which is a somewhat encouraging sign for us Windows Phone users on Verizon who still only have one model from which to choose, a year after Windows Phone debuted.)

What wasn't lacking was Nokia's thoughts and plans for marketing the new phones with a slogan "Amazing Every day." Company officials played up during today's kick-off keynote the way Mango features that are common to all Windows Phones will resonate with consumers and help differentiate Microsoft's offerings from the Android and iPhone competition.

It doesn't seem as though Nokia is envisioning its Windows Phones as helping the company attract the next billion phone users; instead, Nokia is playing up its four new S40-based "Asha" phones as its offerings aimed at cost-sensitive younger users in emerging markets. That said, the Lumia 720 is going to be available first (later this year) in Russia, Taiwan, India, Hong Kong and Singapore. The Lumia 800 is going to be available first in six European markets this fall, and Russia, Taiwan, India, Hong Kong and Singapore before the end of the year.

Nokia execs also noted that Nokia is providing its Windows Phone users with some custom applications designed by Nokia and for Nokia products only, including its Nokia Music and Mix Radio services (which seem to have nothing to do with Microsoft's Zune service) and Drive voice-activated turn-by-turn directions.

Microsoft is really betting heavily on Nokia to push Windows Phone sales. Though the two Lumias introduced today look nice, they seem pretty pricey (to a U.S. consumer like me who is used to cheaper phones), especially given they don't offer a whole lot more -- feature-wise -- than other Mango phones. My ZDNet colleague Larry Dignan wonders aloud whether consumers will see them as "must have" gadgets. Maybe other phones in the coming U.S. portfolio will be must-haves, but these, to me, are not. You thoughts?

Update: Some of my European press colleagues don't see the new Lumias as pricey at all, once you factor in the subsidies. Here's a good chart from the Guardian which notes that when subsidies are factored in, the Lumias are considerably less pricey in England than the iPhone 4S.

Editorial standards