/>
X

Why Nokia really made the 41-megapixel PureView

The Nokia 808 PureView has the largest sensor in a smartphone available on the market today, but without operator support Nokia is unlikely to sell many. So why the uber-cameraphone even exist?
ben-woods.jpg
By Ben Woods, Senior reporter on
nokia808pureviewfront-jpg.jpg
1 of 4 Ben Woods/ZDNet

Nokia last week released a new smartphone equipped with an eye-watering 41-megapixel camera. But with the company struggling to sell any of its Windows smartphones and no UK retailers stocking the massively megapixelled 808 PureView, why does the device even exist?

With its 1.3GHz single-core processor, the latest version of the Nokia Symbian (Belle) operating system and, of course, camera credentials, the 808 PureView can shame any other smartphone on the market.

However, I suspect that Nokia isn't banking on selling too many of these devices - the four biggest operators in the UK have decided not to carry the device, while Three is still making up its mind.

A spokesman for Three said "there is interest around this phone, but at the moment Three has nothing to announce" - hardly reassuring words for Nokia.

Think about that for a second. Consumers are interested, meaning the network should be interested. On top of that, none of Three's competitors are selling the PureView, potentially giving it a point of differentiation in a crowded market - but even that isn't enough to get a commitment from Three to sell the PureView.

Of course Nokia knows a slightly chunky handset, running an operating system it has all but abandoned, isn't likely to sell in droves (unless you pick one up as a future museum piece), especially when it's saddled with a £500 price tag and no network support for subsidising sales.

So why make the PureView at all?

nokia808pureview-jpg.jpg
2 of 4 Ben Woods/ZDNet

When the 808 PureView was announced at Mobile World Congress in February, the Finnish handset maker managed to take the world by surprise: who would have expected it to launch a proof-of-concept type device on a platform it had already said it was discontinuing?

But then, that was probably one of the reasons Nokia made it.
Despite pledging allegiance to the Windows Phone operating system, the company wanted to show that it still knew how to do R&D, to reassure customers for the Windows Phones devices that lay ahead.

nokia808pureviewphoto1-jpg.jpg
3 of 4 Ben Woods/ZDNet

808 PureView screen

It's also likely that Nokia will in future drop the unnecessarily large 41-megapixel sensor (which ultimately only produces an 8-megapixel photo anyway) and take the PureView software and branding to the Windows Phone platform.

In that case, the 808 has done a pretty good job of getting the PureView name into people's consciousness — after all, Nokia was previously known for delivering 'best in class' camera phones and it needs to be known for something other than good maps to survive.

That the PureView isn't running on Windows Phone OS is more accident than design: I suspect we would have seen the Nokia 808 PureView on the Microsoft platform back in February if the platform supported camera sensors that large, but right now that's not the case.

nokia808pureviewsymbian-jpg.jpg
4 of 4 Ben Woods/ZDNet

Nokia 808 PureView

While Symbian may be looking dated as a fully-fledged smartphone OS, it still delivers a lot of the functionality you'd find on the Android, iOS or Windows Phone platforms - albeit in a less user-friendly way.

Nevertheless, with millions of Symbian-based handsets already on the market, the platform undoubtedly has a few fans out there who'll be pleased to see the arrival of another Belle handset.

While the decision might be intended to somewhat placate Symbian fans, whether Nokia will be able to convert them into Windows Phone users remains to be seen.

Related Galleries

Incipio, Kate Spade, and Coach cases for Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: hands-on
s22-ultra-incipio-coach-cases-2.jpg

Related Galleries

Incipio, Kate Spade, and Coach cases for Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: hands-on

15 Photos
Casetify Impact Crush Galaxy S22 Ultra case hands-on: in pictures
casetify-s22-ultra-3.jpg

Related Galleries

Casetify Impact Crush Galaxy S22 Ultra case hands-on: in pictures

10 Photos
Mous cases for S22 Ultra and iPhone 13 Pro Max: in pictures
mous-s22-ultra-1.jpg

Related Galleries

Mous cases for S22 Ultra and iPhone 13 Pro Max: in pictures

11 Photos
INNOCN 27C1U 4K computer monitor review: in pictures
innocn-27-4k-monitor-2.jpg

Related Galleries

INNOCN 27C1U 4K computer monitor review: in pictures

16 Photos
Insta360 One RS first look review: in pictures
inst360-one-rs-1.jpg

Related Galleries

Insta360 One RS first look review: in pictures

20 Photos
Spigen EZ Fit tempered glass 2-pack
Spigen EZ Fit kit

Related Galleries

Spigen EZ Fit tempered glass 2-pack

5 Photos
Smartish S22 Ultra case and accessories review: in pictures
smartish-s22-ultra-2.jpg

Related Galleries

Smartish S22 Ultra case and accessories review: in pictures

15 Photos