Nokia Australia joined in the Windows Phone celebrations today, allowing us to go inside Nokia HQ to get our hands on the two Windows Phone handsets announced at Nokia World in London last week.
Apart from enjoying the daring colour palette on show, we were keen to jump into the software and play spot the difference. The firmware running on these prototype units isn't final, but it did include the new Nokia Drive navigation app that Windows Phone users will be green with envy to see. We also took a peek at the Lumia 710, the little brother to the Lumia 800 expected to launch at a much cheaper price point than its somewhat slicker sibling.
We're still yet to hear (or make up) the name you give to a collective of Nokia Windows Phones.
This phone may look like the Nokia N9 running Windows Phone Mango, but there are two small changes to point out. Firstly, the blue in the theme colour is unique to Nokia devices, and is a little richer and more subtle than the blue you'll find on Windows Phones at this time. You'll also notice the Nokia Drive icon beside the Outlook shortcut.
This is the standard Nokia Maps view, with 3D landmarks on display. The view changes when you enter turn-by-turn navigation mode.
Nokia keeps the settings simple in the Maps menu, in line with the way Microsoft has approached all menus in Windows Phone so far.
Nokia won't pre-install maps by region, but will, instead, let users decide which maps they want installed, and which they might not need.
So, the Lumia 800 looks a lot like the N9 physically, but it would take a die-hard Nokia fan to notice that the design team has shifted the location of the camera's flash. The Lumia 800 uses Carl Zeiss glass, and is one of the key differences between the 800 and the 710.
The feature that many believe will sell Nokia Windows Phones is the choice of colours, with the Lumia 800 coming in three colours to match your weekend wardrobe. The selection of Windows Phone devices that we've seen from Samsung, HTC and LG so far has featured very safe designs in colours ranging from black to black (and dark gunmetal greys). Nokia is banking on the colours to bring the fun to Windows Phone.
The other major part of Nokia's strategy is pitching Windows Phones to young smartphone shoppers at affordable prices. Microsoft's minimum hardware spec makes it difficult to compete with Android manufacturers in the sub-AU$200 price range, but the Lumia 710 should come close on a low-cost contract plan. The coloured battery covers are also replaceable, and Nokia Australia is working on whether they will bundle several in the box with the phone, or offer them as optional extras.