The rumored Nokia "Catwalk" which became infamous around the Web for its aluminum chassis and svelte profile just became a reality. Nokia launched the Lumia 925 at their big event in London earlier today putting to rest the tagline of "what's next" for the Lumia line. Among the aluminum frame and polycarbonate rear, the Lumia has much going for it, namely, Nokia's push that the Lumia 925 is a flagship Windows Phone which will join the Lumia 920 on AT&T and Lumia 928 on Verizon as flagship devices on three out of four major wireless carriers stateside.

But do Windows Phone flagships even matter? 

I believe they do. Make no mistake, a widespread launch for a Windows Phone device of this caliber is not something we've seen any of Microsoft's hardware partners do in the past. Likewise, I might be missing the point of it for as long as the Windows Phone UI lags behind Android and iOS in the eyes of the average consumer.

I see Nokia's Lumia series as the antithesis of Samsung's Galaxy devices. Samsung has the market cornered with hardware options and a jewel of an operating system. Samsung's presence in mobile is due in part to Google's Android, with all of the criticism of the Galaxy brand centered around hardware quality. Windows Phone devices made by Microsoft's partners have rarely been under fire for poor build quality, but daily operation of  the Windows Phone UI has.

So, should we give a damn about the most beautiful Windows Phone 8 smartphones to grace this planet made by one of the most prominent hardware manufacturers in the world?

Absolutely, but if 2013 turns out to be a repeat of 2012 with slow sales, Microsoft will need to question their presence in mobile indefinitely.

Windows Phone hardware has always been a bit "iffy" from my perspective. Each and every "flagship" powered by Microsoft's mobile OS has lacked follow through. The manufacturers were to blame, but it's understandable they wouldn't invest too much time and resources into a device which was likely to be held back by the operating system. The HTC Windows Phone 8X lost traction in the fact that it wasn't viewed as a flagship device by HTC despite launching on multiple carriers. Sure, it was a great handset with a solid build, but Windows Phone 8 needed more at the time. HTC has had a few shots with the Titan and Titan II as well, but neither made it out of AT&T stores which was limiting, as well as questionable hardware choices by HTC. The end result? (Cue chirping crickets.) Nada.

But Nokia's Lumia has improved on everything the Lumia 920 was criticized for, and if it fails to gather consumer attention it will not be because of the hardware. In fact, hardware has rarely come into the spotlight of smartphones running Microsoft's mobile OS. What makes the Nokia Lumia 925 a class act is its build quality and relevance to what consumers are asking for in 2013. Nokia isn't shying away from the device's design or specifications either, and they shouldn't. The Lumia 925 and Lumia 928 each weigh significantly less than AT&T's Lumia 920's 185 grams. Thickness of both devices also undercut the Lumia 920 by up to 2 millimeters. And the camera technology, displays, and battery capacity each highlight the devices as formidable upgrades to AT&T's version. That's not to say the Lumia 920 isn't a viable flagship because it clearly is the epitome of Windows Phone 8 on AT&T's network, it's just ready for a refresh.

Now it's about Nokia's fine-tuning of the Lumia series to go tit for tat with the iPhone 5 and HTC One from a hardware perspective.

I recently wrote about the Verizon-bound Nokia Lumia 928's tagline of "best low-light smartphone camera" and labelled hardware synergies the way to go for Windows Phone to gain traction in the mobile market. With that said, Nokia's confidence in mobile is not a new strategy; it's just more applicable to the year 2013 as build quality and unique attributes like waterproofing and premiumness come into play.

This year, Nokia has a lot riding on its Lumia line, and it's even more important to Microsoft how Nokia devices sell. Flagship devices like the Lumia 928 for Verizon, Lumia 925 for T-Mobile, and Lumia 920 for AT&T all put Windows Phone in a positive light despite two out of three being carrier exclusive devices.

Knowing this, Microsoft's enthusiasm of its mobile OS has never been in question, but their software support has. Windows Phone is due for an update which we'll probably see at the end of next month at their Developer Conference in San Francisco.

But is it enough to usher along the next generation of Lumia devices and push Windows Phone to the forefront of the mobile market?

If there's any time for Microsoft to solidify the third place spot in the mobile market, it is now. The new Lumias and aggressive pricing of budget devices like the Lumia 520 have made Windows Phone an easy recommendation for first-time buyers, and fans of a simple UI. Sure, the Lumia 928 may be getting the better bargain with its Xenon flash and built-in wireless charging, but Nokia isn't shying away from the challenge of chipping away at Android's dominance, or iOS' installed base.

Once upon a time, I criticized the Lumia 920 for its lack of availability and weight as compared to the HTC Windows Phone 8X, then my favorite WP8 device. However, the "Lumia attitude" has swayed me to the Nokia camp. I've been in the market for a Windows Phone 8 smartphone for a while, but a lack of hero devices has delayed my decision. Now that's no longer an issue.

Your move, Microsoft.

Images via Nokia and Engadget.

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37 Reactions to this post

"Windows Phone 8 now has flagship hardware on three out of four wireless carriers in the U.S. But do Nokia's flagship Lumias 920, 925, and 928 even matter when compared to Android devices, and the iPhone?"

Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
Thanks for your participation! :)

Kenny Lopez
Kenny Lopez Nokia is still behind.
Mandi Scott
Mandi Scott Actually Michael I had a lumia, camera was the worst I've experienced on any phone and the live tiles are ugga, just saying, each to their own I guess :-)
Bruce W. Thomas Jr.
Bruce W. Thomas Jr. You're right Henry Van
Brain Roopull
Brain Roopull If I could get one on Virgin, if have one. I'm not a fan of its, and have never managed to fall in love with Android. The closest I've come is by installing the WP8 clone launcher 8.
Robert Jones
Robert Jones Nokia is and has been the world leader in phone manufacturing. Don't knock what you haven't tried. Nokia has all of the relevant apps, not all the useless ones.
Henry Van
Henry Van access to google apps? google hates microsoft lol. it'll never happen. that's why there are so many third party apps that access google services. it's crazy how far up apple's rear they are.
Desmond Crouthers
Desmond Crouthers I think they are nice phones. WP live tiles are awesome. I think that why the htc one is so good you have and the android and WP feel.
Jason Lee
Jason Lee Nokia continues to make some of the highest quality phones. As long as the apps increase and Microsoft continues to update and improves their OS, I think the Lumia line will be a strong contender.
??????? ????
??????? ???? thy should have produce android devices rather thn windows phn
Bruce W. Thomas Jr.
Bruce W. Thomas Jr. I'm just waiting for windows phone 8 to get access to all of the google apps... And Dropbox and Evernote. Then I'll be interested... Until then, it's all about iOS and Android.
Vicente Reyes
Vicente Reyes Yes
Tre Goolsby
Tre Goolsby No because the Windows Phone OS is so simple that it doesn't require high end hardware. They could keep the specs of last generation and just upgrade cameras. I feel like Nokia is trying to make Windows phone relevant in a Android and iPhone world.
Jeff Peters
Jeff Peters In recent months I've used both the Lumia 920 and Galaxy Note 2 as my daily drivers. I wish I could take the camera from the 920 and put it on the note. I have to say, android offers the better long term os experience for me though.
Darren Tan
Darren Tan And not stopping there I'm sure.
Devin Vosburgh
Devin Vosburgh ok, you are right...aiming was unfair. They hit third.
Darren Tan
Darren Tan Whoever said they were aiming for third? And I'm glad they didn't go with Android, first because Windows Phone is awesome and secondly there's just not a lot of room there.
Kevin Joel
Kevin Joel They are best in design as well as speed. Camera goes to Lumia 920 series and handset design as well... So if you don't mind, please stop asking such a question as it shows your clear bias!
Gordon Christie
Gordon Christie I would have the new 928 has an aluminium body like the HTC one and I like windows 8 but am waiting to see what the Ubuntu phones will be like in October
Michael Benesa
Michael Benesa Functional not'fictional' :)
Michael Benesa
Michael Benesa Yes they matter! The phones and O.S. are gorgeous. The camera is the best out there. The hardware is gorgeous and kill any Samsung GS out there. There are almost 150,000 apps now and continue to release big titles everyday. The only missing app is instagram but its coming. (Hipstamatic was just announced which can upload to Instagram!) people really need to try it and experience their personal life through the live tiles. So much more personal and alive than any Apple or Android o.s. or skin. The only other phone that compares would be the HTC One with Blink. All other android sets are fugly and boring compared to the Lumia phones. Android = all function, no style. Iphone = style with stale and old u.i. LUMIA and Windows Phone = modern style with fictional and modern o.s. I'll choose The Lumia everytime. Yes they matter.
Edward Ocava
Edward Ocava What is Nokia?
Jozef Sakac
Jozef Sakac Nokia start making Android devices and I will buy it
Mayur what a silly question ! they won't matter to the brainless crowd out there :D
Raul Weisser
Raul Weisser No
Alvaro Padilla
Alvaro Padilla No the iPhone I still better and Android will always best both
Devin Vosburgh
Devin Vosburgh Their hardware is unbelievable...just wish they went with android instead of aiming for third.
Jose Morales
Jose Morales Nope. The commercial that shows a huge battle between the Android and iPhone camps also shows the only 2 Nokia Lumia owners in the world
John Agzarian
John Agzarian Nokia is awesome
Axel Alejandro Leiva
Axel Alejandro Leiva great phone, but for me it's just an update of Lumia 920...haven't yet tried WP, so I can't give really a good opinion. The only bad point that is sure for Windows Phone 8 : it's the number of Apps in Store...
Milovan Pavicevic
Milovan Pavicevic no
Marwan Ahmed
Marwan Ahmed Yea sure they matter and they r awesome devices and OS too and plz stop asking silly questions u r only focusing about apps nothing more so stop comparing u can't go along with different experience of android and IOS so deal with ur fears and try to hold a windows phone 8 specially a Nokia one and explore it the way u rage about any android fart in a device and yea windows 8 devices will not bit u so don't be afraid :)
Kevin Antoine
Kevin Antoine lol nobody wants WP or nokia.. except in those third world countries that think its indestructible..
Shin Wolf
Shin Wolf who cares? Windows sucks bigtime!
Anthony Evans
Anthony Evans no
Josh Doncevic
Josh Doncevic Nokia uses the best glass for the camera (Carl Zeiss), but I am not going to get a phone just for its camera. Although, I'd make an exception if the 900 series phones were android powered.
Faseeh Pervaiz
Faseeh Pervaiz better than iphone but not android !
Khalid Dris
Khalid Dris Android market still no 1 :)

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