Mobile // Mobile Devices
Commentary
1/5/2012
02:43 PM
Paul McDougall
Paul McDougall
Commentary
50%
50%

Lumia 710 Review: Nice, But No Windows Phone Savior

Nokia's first Windows Phone for the U.S. market is a solid entry, but not enough to lift Microsoft's mobile fortunes.

Microsoft is counting on its alliance with Nokia, still the world's biggest handset maker, to rejuvenate its flatlining Windows Phone franchise. The Lumia 710, the partnership's first entry in the U.S. market, is a slick little 8-GB smartphone that hits stores Jan. 11. But on its own, it won't be enough to jack up Windows Phone's market share--just 1.5% according to Gartner--all that much.

The problem: Despite some unique features, like having the Nokia Drive auto GPS system preinstalled, the Lumia 710 is still just another Windows Phone. That's not Nokia's fault--Microsoft pretty much laid down the law to hardware OEMs when it came to Windows Phone design, specs, and the software interface.

The latter is key. I personally find Windows Phone's Metro interface and Live Tiles attractive and easy to use, but the fact is it hasn't caught on with consumers. Many have been conditioned by the Apple iPhone's success to believe that a smartphone has to have icons, or it just isn't a smartphone.

Nokia Lumia 710
Nokia Lumia 710

That's why Microsoft's decision to opt for an entirely new interface design, while daring, was a big bet--one that it so far isn't winning.

But if you do like the Windows Phone paradigm, you won't be disappointed with the Lumia 710, which sells for $50 with a contract from T-Mobile. It's got everything you would expect to find on the latest batch of mid-market Windows Phone 7 entries, which also includes the Samsung Focus Flash and the HTC Radar.

Windows Phone 7.5 Mango preinstalled? Check. A 5-MP camera with HD video recording? Check. 1.4-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor? Check. Access to Microsoft mobile exclusives like Office, Xbox Live, and Local Scout search? Check, check, and check.

One differentiator I liked is the fact that, unlike on other Windows Phones I've tried, the main navigation bar beneath the display uses physical keys. Call me a sucker for tactile feedback. What I didn't like is that the side buttons, for power, volume, and camera, are virtually flush to the casing. This was particular irksome when trying to depress the camera button for a quick pic.

[ Can Windows Phone compete with the new competition? Read Android Ice Cream Sandwich Trickles Onto Phones. ]

But overall, the Lumia 710, available in black or white, is a solid entry in the Windows Phone market and should appeal to those with a brand preference for Nokia and/or T-Mobile.

The real litmus test for Microsoft's decision to ally with Nokia, and possibly buy the company outright, will come when the phone maker introduces the N9-inspired Lumia 800 to the U.S.

Nokia's current flagship Windows Phone, which is already available in Europe and can be purchased unlocked on Amazon for $550, sports Carl Zeiss optics in its 8-MP camera, a curved AMOLED touchscreen, and sleek unibody construction. Nokia has yet to set a date for the Lumia 800's U.S. arrival.

The Enterprise Connect conference program covers the full range of platforms, services, and applications that comprise modern communications and collaboration systems. It happens March 25-29 in Orlando, Fla. Find out more.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Guest
50%
50%
Guest,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/7/2012 | 7:42:16 AM
re: Lumia 710 Review: Nice, But No Windows Phone Savior
I agree with your comments. In addition, I think Microsoft is going to need to let the phone manufacturers add their own utilities, change the interface, and differentiate their phones as they can with Android. The phone manufacturers don't want to produce Microsoft phones because they have seen what has happened to the Windows PCs manufacturers. Microsoft would not allow them to add any customizations to the interface or custom utilities, as a result all of the Windows PC manufacturers' products became commoditized. The only way they could compete was on price and it was a race to the bottom. The phone manufacturers don't want any part of that business model. Nokia is only producing Microsoft phones because they were given a huge subsidy from Microsoft. Without support from the phone manufacturers, the developer community will not be writing apps for Windows mobile in the same volumes as Android and iOS.
EVVJSK
50%
50%
EVVJSK,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/6/2012 | 8:48:23 PM
re: Lumia 710 Review: Nice, But No Windows Phone Savior
Tmobile could have a lot to do with the success of Lumia. If they are aggressive in marketing and in unlimited data (if they have excess capacity and new roaming agreements as part of failed AT&T deal why not use it), then they could bring some converts over (especially if Microsoft and to some degree Nokia can give T-mobile incentives to do so). Microsoft, Nokia, and Tmobile futures are intertwine and they need to work hard to differentiate themselves (and I don't mean simply by having phones and social media on their phones).
Zod
50%
50%
Zod,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/5/2012 | 10:10:42 PM
re: Lumia 710 Review: Nice, But No Windows Phone Savior
The Windows Phone has two serious problems:
1) when you go to a phone store, whether it's a Best Buy, Target or an actual branded phone store, *NONE* of they have a working WP phone for you to demo. None of the employees has one either! Yet, even if you go to a Target, there is an Android and an iPhone there for you to play with...WP7 is such a different interface, you *NEED* to see what the screens look like if you're going to spend the next 2 years with it...With the iPhone and the Android, you are basically getting the same interface, so there is no worries...Phone stores need to have a working WP7 phone for people to play with. Do this, and I estimate that Wp7 phone sales will double!
2) Microsoft, in the introduction of the WP7, completely abandoned their bread and butter users...Corporate and technical users. WP7 does not have any form of VPN. This is a security violation for most business users. And with most carriers offloading data use onto WiFi networks in order to open up more room for voice, VPN is a necessity! WP7 has no local syncing. You can only sync to the Microsoft cloud. Again, this is a security violation for most companies! And to make matters worse, WP7, while it can connect to DLNA devices, cannot connect to NAS devices on your local network. Any one of these three things is a deal killer...but all three? It's not even worth looking in that direction!
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.