Boasting an 8.7 megapixel PureView camera with optical image stabilization, Qi wireless charging, and the impending Windows Phone 8 operating system, the Nokia Lumia 920 is certainly an impressive piece of hardware.
Unique in its design, the Lumia 920 stands at odds with the vast majority of smartphones available today. Compelled by a design-led tradition, Nokia has evidently sought to establish Windows Phone 8 as an impassioned antithesis to the "grid" concepts of iOS and Android.
And yet, for all of the potential good of the hardware, I continue to harbor sincere concern for the Windows Phone platform. The problem is that Windows Phone is an operating system built upon superficiality. From a distance, the experience appears fluid, joyful, and exciting. In reality, however, the operating system is jittery, stunting, and bereft of compelling third party support.
I do not doubt that Microsoft has several remaining surprises and enhancements it has yet to share for Windows Phone 8, but that is not to say that I feel confident for the operating system's chances in the face of its competition. Innovation is all well and good, but its rather meaningless if its committed inside of an empty space.
Despite the cries of disappointment for the lack of pricing and availability, I'm personally rather unperturbed. It's well-known that Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are both set for a late-October release. Accordingly, I can only imagine that Microsoft is preparing a glitzy affair to finally release all remaining details closer to the time of launch.
With the Surface and Lumia 920 now in the air, Microsoft is poised to make a compelling entry into the hardware and software space all at once. By holding separate events — both responsive to Apple's timing — Microsoft has kept the world abreast of its intentions, without undermining the significance of the final reveal in October. If it had chosen not to do so, Microsoft would've become contextually irrelevant to Google and Apple's business. Similarly, if Microsoft had released pricing and availability for each, they would've then been open to bold-faced derision from competitors and observers.
In many respects, Microsoft's adherence to its own schedule, whilst also endeavoring to sustain relevance in ongoing discussions regarding industry progression, has been very well done. The Surface and refreshed Lumia line have not once been forgotten as elements of the contemporary mobile ecosystem, despite their ethereal distance from reality. In an age of rapid innovation, awareness is half the battle for mindshare in consumers. Regardless of any journalist-driven upset regarding a lack of finite details, from this perspective, I certainly comprehend Microsoft's intentions.
Whether the devices and operating systems will be successful is yet to be seen, but I'm very impressed by the Lumia 920 as a hardware product. If it ran iOS or Jelly Bean, as odd as it is to say, I'd certainly consider it as a full-time device. Thus, the question now turns to whether or not the software belying the experience can truly do justice to the hardware on which it lives.
The Verge has fantastic coverage of today's Nokia announcements.
Myke and I will also be discussing the Lumia 920, Windows Phone 8, and the forthcoming Amazon announcements on tomorrow's episode of Bionic.