Windows Phone doesn't need a phablet

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: July 25, 2013

Nokia is sticking it out with Microsoft's mobile operating system, Windows Phone, despite the fact a lot of people seem to think the Finnish company should be using Android as their OS of choice. It's no surprise that Nokia is continuing to work with Windows Phone for a bunch of reasons, but considering the company is doing pretty well for itself in the mobile space now, that should be as good an indicator as you need at this point.

No, Nokia isn't doing as good as they'd probably like, but at least it's looking promising for the company that seems to be carrying Windows Phone on its shoulders. With devices like the Lumia 1020, and the lineup of 9xx series handsets, it's no surprise, either. They're good phones in their own regard, and they should be selling Microsoft's mobile OS.

Not too long ago, Nokia unveiled a device that genuinely confused me. It's the Lumia 625. Based on the model number, you can guess that it doesn't have the best specifications, even compared to other Lumia handsets. The 625 features a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, only 512MB of RAM, and a VGA front-facing camera. On the back, there's a 5-megapixel camera. It offers 8GB of built-in storage, but there's a microSD card slot for those who will need more. The show is powered by a 2,000 mAh battery.

The kicker, though, and the part that confused me the most, is the fact that the Lumia 625 is the largest Lumia available. It's got a 4.7-inch display, which means it's a bigger display than the Lumia 920 and the Lumia 1020. But, on that 4.7-inch display, you get a resolution of 480x800, and a pixel per inch count of around 199. Essentially, the IPS LCD display is "just okay."

Which is fine, as long as the price tag reflects that -- which I'm sure it will. The reason the phone confused me, is because I would have thought Nokia would have wanted a large phone like that, the largest of the Lumia series, to be a flagship model. Indeed, I would have expected the Lumia 1020 to come with a display of that size. Not some mid-range handset, that probably won't ever see U.S.-based carrier support.

But, wait, it may not be the biggest Windows Phone device on the market for much longer, if the rumors are true. We've heard about a Nokia-branded "phablet" since early this year, and now we're getting to see the first image of what's purported to be that particular device. As you can see from the picture at the top of the article, this particular unit has a pretty thin bezel. Oh, and it's huge.

It's supposedly six inches, which would indeed make it the largest Windows Phone-based device on the market if it ever launches. But, here's the deal, and I'm just going to say it: I have absolutely no idea why this device would exist. Not because bigger screens are a bad thing or anything, but because Microsoft is in a particularly interesting situation, and one that's not like Google or Apple.

They've got a tablet operating system. Two, technically, I guess. But we'll stick with Windows RT, because that's the more "tablet-specific" operating system. And it's destined to launch on smaller tablets thanks to support from Microsoft. Tablets that will probably range in size, even down to six inches, if given the urge from certain manufacturers.

And this is where someone might say, "But, this is a phablet!" Yeah, it is, and that's fine, for the most part, but if you don't include any features that actually bridge the gap between a smartphone and a tablet, then you're just making a big phone. If you're going to have a big display size, then you need to have some features that make use of it. That's why the Galaxy Note series makes sense, and other phones with huge displays are just that: big phones.

I get that Nokia wants to have variation and options, but we can draw the line at a screen that big. Because Windows Phone, by itself, doesn't add any reasons why you'd need a display that big. That's just a lot of Live Tiles, and hey, maybe you're into that -- maybe that's exactly what you're looking for. And that's great. To me, though, it just doesn't make any sense, and won't serve a purpose.

I hope this six inch Nokia-branded panel is for a Windows RT tablet. I really do. Because I'm not making phone calls from a 6-inch phone. You can't make me, Nokia.

So what do you think of the idea of a six-inch Lumia device? Is that something you'd be interested in at all, or is Nokia wasting time making devices just to make devices? Let me know what you think!