Tomorrow, Nokia will take the stage and unveil the next devices to own the Lumia brand. Along with them, we're expecting to see at least two devices that will showcase the newest version of Microsoft's mobile operating system, Windows Phone 8. They'll probably get to show off plenty of new things in the software department, but I wouldn't be surprised if they put a lot of focus on the pieces of software they managed to tweak in some fashion or another.
That aside, I don't think Nokia's event is going to be a show with only one spotlight. It will be ranging from hardware to software, as Nokia has to show off why you should wait to buy their devices, since we aren't expecting them to launch until sometime at the end of October, if not early November.
So, tomorrow, Nokia has to basically steal the day away from every other manufacturer making an announcement on the same day, and show products that stand out so well that people will wait to buy them for another month, at least.
Unfortunately, I just don't think the Lumia 920 or 820 are good enough to get that job done.
Last week, I told you that I'm not going to let hardware leaks get my hopes up about Windows Phone 8, at least not yet. And that's true. Samsung has already shown off their Galaxy S III-inspired Windows Phone 8 device, and while that's all well and good, I still had plenty of reserves about what's coming down the pipe. And, I'm going to still have those reserves after tomorrow, after Nokia's event.
But, it has more to do with the fact that I'm already bored with Nokia's efforts. Let me be clear, though: Nokia's Lumia series is one of the best hardware lines out there. Honestly, if you haven't gone and held a Lumia 900 yet, you should. Just to understand where I'm coming from. There is no doubt that they are fantastic devices, with a top-tier focus in their design and execution.
But the Lumia 920 looks like the Lumia 900. And, the Lumia 820 looks like the Lumia 800.
I know that this is pretty normal for the mobile industry. I get that, obviously. However, I truly did think that Nokia would break that norm. Their focus on hardware, and being different from the rest of the pack (both supporting Windows Phone and not), could have lead to some pretty incredible things in a short period of time.
That doesn't look to be happening. Granted, these are just rumors right now, and the real devices could look shockingly different when they are finally unveiled. I wish that would happen. It would be fantastic.
Not likely, though. Instead, we get to see the same industrial design, with some nice color schemes, with a limited amount of color options in Windows Phone itself.
Here's what it boils down to, for me at least: differentiation. The reason the iPhone can get away with having iOS look the same year after year, is because there aren't a ton of devices running the same software released at the same time. Just one. If Nokia were the only manufacturer making Windows Phone devices, then this would be a non-issue. But, Windows Phone looks the same from one phone to another, no matter the manufacturer. That's why we need companies like Nokia to think outside the box with each new addition to a product line.
The Lumia 920 and 820 should see a bigger focus on new hardware designs, even if their numbers aren't all that much of a jump from their predecessors. A yearly refresh? Let's see some more hardware innovation, Nokia, and stop playing it so safe. You've got the chance to continue to be the best option for Windows Phone out there, but if you just keep rehashing the same design elements, that will quickly fade.
What do you think? Will Nokia and Microsoft get stale too quickly if these minimal hardware changes keep happening? Or, is the hardware design for the Lumia series good enough that it can hold strong with a lack of changes over time? Let me know, Dear Reader.