Talking tech since 2003

Today doesn’t seem to be a great day to be a mobile phone maker—at least not if you’re in the business of keeping your secrets under wraps. After leaked photos of a new BlackBerry Bold hit the web, it seems that images and specs for the new Nokia Lumia 1020 phone have spread across the Internet as well, just days before Nokia’s upcoming conference.

According to a post on WPCentral, the Windows Mobile-powered device will do double duty as a smartphone and a powerful point-and-shoot, featuring a 41 megapixel camera that’s geared specifically to photo aficionados. The post says that the Lumia 1020 will also feature 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, built-in near-field communication (NFC), as well as image stabilization that’s by-now de rigeuer for most digital cameras. Not only that, but the phone will also offer lots of advanced photo-taking options like the ability to alter the camera’s ISO, white balance, shutter speed, and manual focus—though I’m scratching my head at how that last one’s going to work.

Regardless, the gadget seems extremely promising, especially considering how much people rely on their phones’ built-in cameras. In my former career as a newspaper reporter, I often had to carry around a bulky DSLR camera while running my phone’s built-in voice recorder as I was working stories. Having a camera as powerful as the Lumia 1020’s is reported to be would’ve been quite a boon, and I can imagine a whole bunch of tech-fans would be chomping at the bit to get their hands on a gadget like this. My dad’s a photographer, and when he catches wind of this phone, he might make the switch from Android.

And the Lumia 1020’s appearance on the market would seem to signal another potential entrant into the smartphone race: camera makers. Just yesterday, Bloomberg published an interview with Makoto Kimura, the president of camera-maker Nikon. A VentureBeat post speculates that, based on the interview, Nikon will soon enter the smartphone market to recapture customers who’ve fled the camera aisles. And with Microsoft hungry to find any edge it can get to grab some of the market share being devoured almost entirely between Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, I wouldn’t be surprised if Windows became the standard mobile OS for photophiles.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 will reportedly be officially announced at Nokia’s “Zoom Reinvented” event on Thursday, July 11, and will be available to AT&T subscribers and shoppers at the Windows Store starting on July 22. The WPCentral post says the phone will likely cost $602 without a contract, though undoubtedly a new contract would bring the out-of-pocket cost for the device much lower.

What do you think? Would you pay a premium for a powerful smartphone camera like this? Is this a good direction for phone-makers, or is it just a niche offshoot for a small demographic? Let us know in the comments.

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