A huge display won't save the day, Microsoft

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| September 16, 2013

As we inch ever closer to the holiday shopping season, we're still seeing leaks and hearing rumors about certain unofficial devices. One of those handsets is the huge Lumia 1520, manufactured by Nokia before Microsoft bought up their device and services division. It's a handset that we've started to see more and more of in the last few days, which probably lends credence to the fact that the device does exist.

But, as it stands, it's still a "fake thing." No matter how many times we see it, and see it several times already this week we have, it won't be real until Microsoft takes the stage somewhere and shows it off. Or they could just issue a press release and call it a day, letting the carriers announce the device as they see fit.

Carriers. Ah, now that's good news.

When the Lumia 1520 first started swirling around the Internet, word had it that the handset would be launching on AT&T's Big Blue network, just as we've seen from the majority of Lumia devices before it. And then, just a few days ago, what's believed to be the Verizon-branded variation of the Lumia 1520 made its way online, and the conversation about the huge device started to pick up.

Launching the Lumia 1520 on multiple carriers at the same time would be a huge move for Microsoft, and I can imagine that that is exactly what they're aiming to do. There's no doubt in my mind that people want bigger displays, and this is something that Microsoft (and every other phone manufacturer out there) understands, too. So while the Lumia series has consisted of devices with 4.5-inch displays in the past, Nokia was looking to go bigger to fill in some niche gaps. That's why the Lumia 1520 exists.

But, I can't help but think it won't really matter.

People want bigger displays. Even I wouldn't mind some bigger panels on certain devices. But if there is a camp out there that was demanding Windows Phone-based devices needed bigger displays, compared to the large-screened Lumia devices already available, I would never place myself amongst those ranks. The Lumia 920's or 1020's display, at 4.5-inches, is big enough. It's barely distinguishable from 4.7-inches, which seems to be the really popular sweet spot for most phone manufacturers.

But the Lumia 1520 reportedly has a 6-inch screen, and that's huge for absolutely no reason other than to be huge. At six inches, we've now passed into the tablet category. And while other specifications, like a quad-core processor and a 1080p display might be amazing on their own, add that to a 6-inch display and suddenly my interest wanes tenfold.

With the Lumia 1020, Nokia was going after the photography crowd of smartphone owners. They wanted to make a device, based on a previous model, that filled a specific niche of the smartphone market, and they did that well enough. I don't think Nokia (or Microsoft) expected the Lumia 1020 to sell a ridiculous amount of devices. They wanted to get a device into a certain market, and they did that.

I think we're seeing the same mentality with the Lumia 1520. There is a market for large screen devices, and the Lumia 1520 is designed specifically to fill it. It's sort of like Samsung and their Galaxy Mega 6.3. It's just a huge version of a previously released device, and that's basically it. It isn't like a Galaxy Note 3 (at least, not based on the rumors we've been hearing for a long while now), where the big screen is justified by certain features and built-in apps, or the S Pen for that matter.

A big screen Lumia device won't save the day for Microsoft when it comes to market saturation or presence. I don't have any doubt that more than a few people out there will buy a Lumia 1520, but there's just no way it sees incredibly high sales.

And they won't, not until Microsoft can start releasing apps that people want. And that's just what it all boils down to. Now that Microsoft owns the part of Nokia that makes hardware, they should take a break with releasing new hardware and just focus on bringing new, talented developers into the Windows Phone fold. Get the games that people want. Get the apps that people want. Then you'll get people to switch.

In any event, what do you think of all these Lumia 1520 leaks? Are you excited to get your hands around the huge handset, or do you refuse to even consider the new device because of its large display? Or, maybe you want the large screen, but don't want to switch to Windows Phone. Let me know where you stand!