Nokia aims to dazzle with Windows Phone 8 Lumia 920

The phones represent the company's latest best shot at turning its ailing smartphone business around.

Nokia Lumia 920
Nokia executive vice president of smart devices, Jo Harlow, holds aloft the Lumia 920. CNET/Sarah Tew

Nokia today unveiled its latest flagship phone, the Lumia 920, its first to run on Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 operating system.

CEO Stephen Elop showed off a bright yellow Lumia 920, larger than its predecessor, the Lumia 900. Nokia later showed off the smaller and lower end Lumia 820 as well.

The phones represent Nokia's latest bid to vault back into the smartphone business in a big way. They also represent a last chance of sort for the company to pull out of its recent decline.

Check out CNET's complete preview of the Lumia 920

The event is equally important for Microsoft, which needs Nokia to succeed to drive adoption of its platform. While other handset makers have invested in Windows Phone, Nokia is the only company solely focused on the operating system.

Nokia had a couple of new bells and whistles to tout during its press conference, held in New York. Jo Harlow, Nokia executive vice president, spelled out some of the key features, including wireless charging, Nokia Maps (with offline support) -- including an augmented reality feature Nokia calls "City Lens" -- a powerful "PureView" camera, and even NFC support.

Features galore
Nokia was also emphasizing the role of the Lumia's camera as a major distinguishing feature of the phone. Based on the camera tech found in the 808 PureView -- though without the high megapixel count of that model -- the 920's camera utilizes a "floating lens" tech that moves and reacts to movement to balance the lens, allowing the shutter to stay longer and more light to come in. According to Nokia, it captures 5-10 times the amount of light as any other smartphone competitors' camera.

Nokia Lumia 920
Wireless charging is one of the Lumia 920's distinguishing features.

While not a first, the built-in wireless charging found on the Lumia 920 is another unusual feature not seen on many current smartphones in the marketplace. It's based on the Qi wireless charging standard, so it should be compatible with other Qi chargers. The catch: the 920 will ship with a standard wired charger, while an array of compatible wireless chargers will be sold separately.

The 4.5-inch screen is a WXGA model that offers better-than-720p HD resolution. Nokia claims it's the "brightest" and "fastest" smartphone screen on the market.

Rounding out the Lumia 920's laundry list of features is NFC support . While often touted as a mobile payments solution, Nokia demoed NFC as a solution for easy music playback with NFC-compatible speakers: just tap the phone to the speakers, and wireless music playback is enabled without the need to key in a passcode.

The Lumia 920 will be available in yellow, red, and gray versions.

Nokia also unvield the Lumia 820, a 4.3-inch model with a microSD slot and interchangeable "shells" available in multiple colors. The shell also enables wireless charging.

This story is being updated in real-time, as the event continues to unfold in real-time.
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About the author

Roger Cheng is the executive editor in charge of breaking news for CNET News. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade. He's a devoted Trojan alum and Los Angeles Lakers fan.

 

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