In what is expected to be the final hardware presentation from the company before joining the Microsoft family, Nokia showed exactly who they are and, more importantly, who they will be after the transition. At their Nokia World event in Abu Dhabi, Nokia showed off 6 new devices while still focusing on the software that will be their future.
Asha 500, 502, 503
The Asha series of handsets are designed specifically for emerging markets. Priced to move, the new additions to the Asha family feature a truly unique design. There is really no better way to describe the look than that of an iPod Touch in its retail packaging, only slimmer. A clear acrylic box surrounds the incredibly colorful body, adding dimensions to the appearance, but not necessarily comfort.
As Nokia has become synonymous with over the past 2 years, these handsets are available in a wide range of Nokia colors: yellow, red, green, white, blue and black. The new 500 features a 2.8" screen with 2MP camera, while the 502 and 503 both feature a 3" screen and 5MP cameras. All 3 models also offer both a single and a dual SIM option, specifically for people who change services by region or use one service for voice and another for data.
One of Nokia's worst kept secrets, the Lumia 1520 is the first full-HD Windows Phone, thanks to the GDR3 Windows Phone update adding 1080p capability. Sporting the first 6" screen on a Windows Phone, this device is pretty huge and the new WinPho takes full advantage of the extra real estate.
Adding a third column of live tiles, the Lumia 1520 allows for 6 units of width and 11 units of height worth of live tile. If all of your live tiles were small, you could access 66 individual tiles, as well as their individual notifications, from a single screen. Of course, customizing a screen like that would make it feel a little like Times Square, but the idea that you could is pretty exciting.
Following on the heels of the Lumia 1020, the 1520 has a renewed focus on photography, sporting a 20MP camera with ZEISS lens, making for great photos without the bulk of the larger lens on the 1020. Of course, it isn't the quality of the 1020, but you have to give something up in order to get a thinner handset. It also includes 32GB of internal storage, plus an additional 7GB of SkyDrive storage and MicroSD storage up to 64GB additional.
This one came as a bit of a surprise to me, mostly because I had little to no leaked information indicating it was coming. The Lumia 1320 is the cousin of the 1520, also featuring a 6" screen. That is, however, about where the similarities stop.
The screen, while being 6", is only 720p, meaning less clarity at the same physical size. It also features a 5MP camera vs the 20MP on the 1520 and also gives up the ZEISS lens. With a smaller camera comes smaller storage capacity, coming in at only 8GB, but still supporting 64GB MicroSD and adding 7GB of SkyDrive.
The 1320 also sacrifices performance at its lesser price-point. While the 1520 sports a quad-core 2.2GHz processor, the 1320 comes with only a dual-core 1.7GHz processor. The important thing to note here is that the 1520 has a quad-core processor, something that is also a new addition to the Windows Phone family.
If the 1520 wasn't the worst kept secret inside of Nokia, then that award goes to the Lumia 2520. This 10.1" Windows RT 8.1 tablet is a first in family for Nokia. While they have been known for wireless phones for many years, this is the company's first, and probably last under that name, attempt at a tablet.
The device will look very familiar to Nokia fans - it looks much like a very large Lumia device. I suppose if this event was about the Lumia family growing, you can't grow it much larger than a 10.1" screen. Sporting the same quad-core 2.2GHZ processor as its smaller cousin, the Lumia 1520, the 2520 still differentiates itself from the rest of the Lumia family, as well as its soon-to-be-family, the Surface 2.
Being the first tablet in the family, it is the first to offer a keyboard option. Nokia seems to have learned from the demands on Microsoft, as the Nokia Power Keyboard adds up to 5 extra hours of power, plus an additional 2 USB ports for extended connectivity. Like the Surface, however, it adds a full keyboard and a trackpad, making it a full computer as well as tablet.
Despite being a Windows RT device with a 10.1" multi-touch screen, the Lumia 2520 stands out from the Microsoft Surface 2 by including the capability for 4G LTE connectivity. Being part of the Lumia family would have been odd without a cellular data option, so it is good that there is an RT device out there offering it.