Talking tech since 2003

So far, this has been one bad week to make announcements on the Internet. Tuesday was April Fool’s Day, making it hard to separate the facts from the fiction. And yesterday, Amazon stole the show by announcing Fire TV, a major reveal in both the media streaming and gaming industries. So that left poor, boring Microsoft to announce that they’re bringing back the Start Menu to Windows while no one was paying attention. And even fewer people were paying attention to soon-to-be Microsoft subsidiary Nokia announcing some new phones.

The Lumia 630...
The Lumia 630…

But now it’s April 3, and we can really focus in on Nokia’s new handsets, some of which, I have to admit, look pretty snazzy. The company announced the Lumia 630 and 635, a couple of budget conscious handsets that will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of between $159 and $189. They are, in fact, just about the exact same phone: each has a 4.5-inch, ClearBlack LCD display with 854 x 480 resolution, a 5 megapixel rear camera, a Snapdragon 400 quad-core CPU, a measly 512 MB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage (with up to 128 GB expandable storage via microSD).

...and the nearly identical Lumia 635 for Americans.
…and the nearly identical Lumia 635 for Americans.

And both phones will run the latest version of Microsoft’s mobile OS, Windows 8.1, right out of the box. It features Cortana, which is Microsoft’s version of Siri or Google Now, but based on a character from a popular video game, so I guess that’s something that’s cool.

The only main difference seems to be that the Lumia 630 lacks 4G LTE capabilities, but can be packed with dual SIM cards; the 635 is the opposite with LTE capability and no dual SIM option. The Lumia 630 is the worldwide model, available in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, while the 635 is going to be sold in the United States, with T-Mobile and MetroPCS stocking the handsets.

The big announcement, though, was the Lumia 930. Here, enjoy a really fancy video about how they’re made via magic:

The Lumia 930 seems to be Nokia’s actual flagship handset, priced at $599, packed with Windows Phone 8.1, and armed with impressive specs: a 5-inch, ClearBlack OLED display with 1080p HD resolution (1920 x 1080), a 20 megapixel rear camera, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor that clocks in at 2.2 GHz, 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage (though, sadly, no microSD slot). The display, too, is of the curved variety, but not in the obnoxious LG G Flex kind of way; instead, it’s the edges of the display that curve down to meet the handset, giving the screen a very classy, dare I say elegant kind of look. All told, this is actually a Windows Phone that might be worth having.


Nokia gets gets curved displays right with the Lumia 930, providing the phone with an elegant look by tapering off at the screen's edges.
Nokia gets gets curved displays right with the Lumia 930, providing the phone with an elegant look by tapering off at the screen’s edges. (Click to enlarge.)

As you can see below, I went on something of a tear explaining how disappointed I was that the Lumia 930 wasn’t available in the United States–but a friendly commenter pointed out that Nokia already released a phone with just about these exact specifications in the US back in February–the Nokia Lumia Icon. This just goes to show how, despite my best efforts, I’m not as up on my Nokia phones as I’d like to be. I’ll also blame the company’s unimaginative naming systems (630? 930? 1020? So where the heck does Icon fit in), but in the end, the buck’s got to stop here. Apologies for not bringing the whole story when it comes to Nokia’s phones.

All that said, the 930–and the Icon–seem like pretty fantastic handsets. If ever there was a Windows Phone that could steal my Android-powered heart, I think it’d be that. Anyone have an Icon and want to share the experience? Are you looking forward to getting an update to Windows Phone 8.1?

So, of course, it’s not available in the United States.

Well, at least not yet. The site doesn’t have any mention of the US, but it stands to reason that Nokia would put out a version for the folks living in Microsoft’s home territory. After all, why make the most impressive Windows Phone possible and not release it in one of the most important mobile phone markets? The Lumia 630 is the non-US version of the 635, so it seems likely that Nokia will make a Lumia 935 just for us.

Until we get official word, though, we’ll just have to watch and wait. Perhaps Nokia knows when it’s beat and is simply moving away from making a big push in the US, where Apple’s iPhones and the various flavors of Android are duking it out in a battle for supremacy. Maybe Nokia will come back when Windows 9 is announced in 2015, and we’ll all be able to carry our desktop PCs around in our pockets…

[Source: Nokia, ZDNet]

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