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October 26, 2011 at 4:19 AM

Nokia unveils first Windows phones: Lumia 800 and 710

Press Nokia Lumia 800 group.jpgShowing off the first fruits of the Microsoft-Nokia phone partnership, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop unveiled his company’s first Windows Phones today, called the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710.

He also introduced Nokia-specific features for the phones including a navigation app, a music service, and an ESPN sports app.

Neither of the phones will be available in the U.S. this year, though they are being shipped to other countries now, Elop said during his keynote speech that opened the Nokia World conference in London this week. (His keynote was livestreamed on the event website.)

Stephen Elop.png

Elop did not make clear whether the Lumia 800 and 710 would be coming to the U.S. at all, but said that “a portfolio of products” would be introduced to the U.S. in early 2012.

The Lumia 800, with a 1.4 Ghz processor, 3.7-inch AMOLED screen and a camera with 8 megapixels and Carl Zeiss optics, is the high-end phone, expected to sell at retail for about 420 Euros (or $585). The 710 is the more budget-oriented offering, expected to retail at about 270 Euros (or $376). Neither of those prices include taxes or subsidies.

The Lumia 800 is based on the design of Nokia’s earlier N9 phone, with the same distinctive curved black glass and chassis in bold colors including magenta and cyan (in addition to black).

Elop, in introducing the Lumia 800, said he believes it’s the first phone that amplifies the Windows Phone design. “We believe…Lumia is the first real Windows Phone,” he said.

Press Lumia 710 group.jpgThe Lumia 710 comes with a 3.7-inch display and a 5 megapixel camera, and in either black or white (with removable back covers that match the colors of the Windows Phone tiles).

Several features and apps unique to Nokia phones were introduced by Kevin Shields, senior vice president of programming and product management for smart devices at Nokia.

Among those are:

  • Nokia Drive, which features full voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation
  • Nokia Music with Mix Radio, which features locally relevant mixes of music (some pre-programmed, some user created) that require no signup, subscription, login or password. Users can also download the mixes to play them offline; the mixes can also be pinned to the phones’ start screens. (It’s unclear how this service would work with, or compete with Zune, and Shields did not get into that.)
  • ESPN Sports Hub, which Nokia is still working on with ESPN. Users will be able to quickly find the specific sports information they want, whether it’s news, scores, information on specific leagues, teams or players. A team or league can also be pinned directly to the start screen, with updates showing up on their live tile.

“All of those things come for free, and only on Nokia,” Shields said.

Kevin Shields.png

To market the phones, Nokia plans to put the devices in the hands of more salespeople and professionals “than we ever have in our history,” Elop said. In addition, 31 operators and retailers have committed to significant levels of marketing exposure for the phone, planning to display it as their “hero smartphone,” he said.

Nokia is also launching a campaign around the theme of “the amazing everyday,” with the idea that people can do everyday things in amazing ways with the Lumia, said Steven Overman, vice president of marketing creation.

The Lumia 800 will initially launch in six European countries (U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands) in November. It will then hit Hong Kong, India, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan before the end of the year, with additional markets added in early 2012.

The Lumia 710 will launch in Hong Kong, India, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan toward the end of the year.

Nokia also announced a series of four phones in the Asha series, not running on Windows Phone, that will target emerging markets.

Much is at stake for both Nokia and Microsoft with the unveiling of the Windows Phones.

For Nokia, which has seen its place in the smartphone market overtaken by Android phones, it marks the beginning of a chance to prove that Elop was right in deciding to partner with Microsoft and it’s a chance to prevent Nokia’s market share from eroding further.

For Microsoft, which has had a hard time gaining traction in the smartphone market, Nokia’s worldwide reach is a chance to clamber out from behind the shadows of Android, Apple and Research In Motion.

(Photos from top to bottom: Lumia 800 handsets, photo from Nokia. Stephen Elop, screengrab from Nokia World livestream. Lumia 710 handsets, photo from Nokia. Kevin Shields onstage, screengrab from Nokia World livestream.)

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