Nokia makes an awesome smartphone camera, Motorola makes their thin phone better [the competition] | webOS Nation

Nokia makes an awesome smartphone camera, Motorola makes their thin phone better [the competition] 32

by Derek Kessler Wed, 05 Sep 2012 5:16 pm EDT

Nokia makes an awesome smartphone camera, Motorola makes their thin phone better

We're diving headfirst into what we affectionately refer to around here as 'silly season'. This year's silly season is a weird one for us at webOS Nation, as we're sitting entirely on the outside. Sure, this time last year the future of webOS was up in the air, but that was at a time when there was at least a chance that HP might sell webOS to somebody else. Now that that opportunity has passed, we're watching Silly Season 2012 from the sidelines, and in some ways it's really quite silly.

If this year's silly season could be summed up in one sentence, it would be "Announce whatever you've got in development before Apple crushes you with the iPhone 5." To wit, today saw dueling press events by the Nokia/Microsoft partnership and the Motorola/Verizon partnership, both in New York City (Nokia got all cheeky and bussed some journalists over to Motorola's later event in a big cyan Nokia bus). So let's break down what came out from those camps, shall we?

First up is Nokia, simply by virtue of scheduling their event first today. There were two new devices at their event, the Windows Phone 8-powered Lumia 920 and Lumia 820. Honestly, the 820 looks like a decent phone and all, but it's the 920 we're really interested in. The new flagship Nokia device packs a 1280x768 4.5-inch screen with the latest and greatest of Nokia's ClearBlack super polarization to provide superior viewing in the sun. On top of that, the Lumia 920 will also automatically adjust screen temperature (how 'warm' or 'cool' it is, with regard to color) based on the external light hitting it to ensure that it's displaying an accurate image regardless of the situation you put it it. And it works with big thick gloves on (though you'll have to contend with sausage finger accuracy, we'd guess) That's snazzy, eh?

What's even more snazzy about the Lumia 920 is its awesome camera, slathered with PureView branding. It's has an 8MP sensor, which isn't all that impressive, except that it's a larger sensor than the average smartphone, packs an industry-leading f/2.0 aperture (lower numbers are better, they let in more light so you can have a faster shutter speed, better low-light performance, and shallower depth of field), and - most impressively - real optical image stabilization. That stabilization comes by means of a mechanical stabilizer, just like you'll find in dedicated cameras, which helps to cancel out the movement imparted by your wobbly hands, all without trying to fix up your image with software.

Nokia Lumia 920

One last thing about the Lumia 920: it's just the latest phone to offer wireless charging, opting to jump onto the Wireless Power Consortium's Qi standard. Unlike other phones, however, the 920 has the charging built-in (820 owners will apparently be able to purchase a sleeve/case/back to add Qi charging to their device, ala the original Palm Pre) and is expected to have the charging pad available at launch. Nokia's also partnering with a number of organizations to expand the availability of Qi-compatible charging pads, taking a step beyond what Palm's Touchstone docks ever managed: ubiquity. On the flip side, it doesn't seem the Qi pads (or pillow, as will be an option for Nokia) have the magnetic alignment that the phone-based Touchstones have, so putting one in your car might be a little less elegant.

After the awesomeness of Nokia's event, Motorola has some high standards to live up to. And, well, they disappointed. Most of Motorola's event was spent debuting the sequels to their reborn RAZR line, in the Droid RAZR HD and Droid RAZR Maxx HD. The two devices aren't that different, with the Maxx variant being barely chubbier (though still quite lean) to pack a bigger battery. What's better about this over last year's RAZR? For one, they ship with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, with the promise to eventually update to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, though likely still obscured with whatever it is that Motorola feels they need to do to Android to differentiate themselves.

The RAZR HD also packs a 4.7-inch 1280x720 screen and a quad-core Snapdragon S4, as well as a beefier battery than the last RAZR so the longevity won't be quite so pathetic this time around. Also announced by Motorola was the new Droid RAZR M, which shares much in common with its unalphanumerically-differentiated brethren, excepting its size. The RAZR M is considered to be the smaller of the three RAZR devices, with a 4.3-inch 960x540 screen and a bit thicker design. We're a little frightened that we're approaching 4.3 inches being considered as 'small'. All three of the new RAZR phones will be available as developer phones (possibly useful for Open webOS development), and if you happen to have an unspecified older Motorola device that's not getting an upgrade to Jelly Bean, Motorola's going to offer you $100 off a new Motorola smartphone that presumably does.

Motorola Droid RAZR M, Droid RAZR HD, and Droid RAZR Maxx HD

All three of these Motorola smartphones are at the very least destined for Verizon (they are Droid-branded, after all), but the RAZR M was the only device that had launch details beyond that, with a $99 on-contract price tag and preordering beginning today. But the other two RAZR devices, or Nokia's two new Lumia's? Mum's the word on street date, pricing, or additional carriers beyond Motorola's affinity for Verizon.

The lack of a release date or pricing tells us that such things are going to be a ways off, which is both disappointing and amusing. For all of the copying being done of Apple's products and processes, the whole announce-price-date-launch idea seems to have been overlooked by most of the mobile manufacturing space. So while Nokia and Motorola have managed to successfully announce their wares before Apple (whoopdeedoo), Sony goes tomorrow, and Amazon fires off their holiday season load on Thursday. Of those, Amazon's probably the only one we anticipate to march out pricing and a release date set for the very near future. They have the same sort of supply chain expertise as Apple and can pull off that stuff. Also, Amazon doesn't have to worry about dicking around with the carriers, which often throws a monkey-wrench into release date plans.

September 12, on week from today, will bring the iPhone 5 announcement. By the time the announcement is over we will know everything important there is to know about iOS 6 (unlike Windows Phone 8, which despite having multiple devices announced for it has still not been fully publicly described by Microsoft). And by the time the iPhone 5 announcement is over we will have a release date, pricing, and carriers for the new Apple smartphone. Hear that, Motorola and Nokia? That's the sound of thousands of people preordering and lining up to get a phone that despite getting announced a week after yours, will still somehow manage to sell millions upon millions upon millions of copies before the Lumia 820, Lumia 920, Droid RAZR HD, and Droid RAZR Maxx HD are even available.

We'd say that's also the sound of futility, but we're a webOS site. We're all too familiar with futile causes, and we know what that sounds like. Hear the sound of people clamoring for that newly announced webOS smartphone and tab- oh, yeah...


I could go on.

No really, I could.

Just make sure you adjust the "August 12" date there to "September 12" in the closing paragraphs regarding the big Apple event in a week...



You might as well. It is more interesting than anything HP is giving you to write about.

Well, yes. But the Moto will have developer mode and the Nokia has various Finns trying to get the likes of Meego going on it. Perhaps one of these will be the first new phone that will be able to run Open webOS. That is never going to happen with an iPhone, which is just as well.

Comment pulled (from the fact it's mentioned 3 times beneath this post.)

more giant phones. 4.5" nokia

No really, keep going. We're bench warmers, warm up my bench.

- anenoso

"worry about dicking around with the carriers"

That phrase made my day. Thanks, Derek! :)

+1 (wow, never thought I'd ever post that but that line truly made the article brilliant...)

Can it be called competition if there isn't anything to compete with? **** LEO!


Great post. You strike the perfect balance of reporting the news and commenting on our "Place in the Firmament.” I always enjoy reading your comments/editorials.


If only theverge/gizmodo had that talent, too.

Just a slight correction:

According to, the Nokia will have PureMotions HD+ screen technology and not ClearBlack.

Not sure I agree with this title. what do you mean, "the competition"?

webos/hp/palm/whatever, has no device to consider for competition.

More just a way to differentiate the post, keep comment bitching about not-webOS news on the front page to a minimum.

Moto looks like such a disappointment to me. No Jelly been? What ever happened to edge to edge screen? This seems to be just another rushing to the market, without true innovation?

I can only asume that when Derek calls this the competition he knows something the rest of us do not.

^^ I did hear in person Enda McGrath say that soon we will know what devices we can use Open webOS on.

So maybe those other manufacturers will have competition "soon"....!!!

Too bad Nokia isn't porting over the PureView camera from the 808 to the Lumia series. I don't know what the issue is with Nokia not being able to bring their superior cameras over from Symbian.

Power consumption?

Size is a bigger problem at this stage, it would make the device thicker than they want it to be.

Well, clearly they aren't concerned about that as they aren't going for the thinnest device here. Seems to me they want to call themselves the best in some place else (in this case photo/video) so why not use the best of what they have? It's not like the 808 is a thick device, though its bulge is a bit obscene. But then why won't they use say the camera unit from the N8? That in itself is still better than most phone cameras and would require a much smaller bulge. I wonder if perhaps there's something in Windows Phone limiting Nokia (camera app maybe can't handle the resolution?). Otherwise, I feel Nokia is digging themselves deeper in the hole when their Symbian line, though slated for death, can still outperform its Lumia line (unless Windows 8 is really a dramatic improvement).

Looking at their wireless charger thing, to me the touchstone is better because it has the angle and the magnet. Probly the best they could do to avoid being accused of copying palm

There is an angled stand with magnets - plus because it follows a common standard rather than someone thing HP dreamed up on their own (Hello Touch-to-share!) if Nokia doesn't make the stand you want, you could get a third party one.

The Nokia looks like a good phone, but I hate those sharp, squared-off corners. I'd hate to carry that dumb design in my pocket. To me, it would be so much more compelling if it rounded those things off. YMMV

Still waiting for the Battlestar Galacti-phone... Octagons, people! That's the future!

c'mon, Newman - everyone knows Apple owns the patent for rectangles with rounded corners, right? They risk losing millions of dollars in court if they go that route...

Doh! That's right. Triangles... that's where it's at! Triangles are safe, right??

A round phone wouldn't tear out my pocket.
It could be elongated a bit, like a pebble that fits right into the pal.. Oh forget it. :-(

the obvious question: when will open webOs be ported to the Nokia 920...

I think Nokia has done an awesome job here! Don't forget, they started out making boots. Derek sounded a little miffed over the announcement/availability delay compared to Apple. I get that, but Apple had a huge lead from the start, it takes time to catch a leader.