Nokia, please don't screw up the Lumia EOS camera phone

If Nokia really is working on a true PureView Windows Phone, there are a few things Andrew Hoyle would like it to consider.

Andrew Lanxon Editor At Large, Lead Photographer, Europe
Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.
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  • Shortlisted for British Photography Awards 2022, Commended in Landscape Photographer of the Year 2022
Andrew Lanxon
3 min read

With multiple leaks flying around showing off identical hardware, it's all but certain that a new Nokia Lumia phone with proper PureView camera technology -- codenamed EOS -- is on its way. But there are a few things I hope Nokia keeps in mind when creating this imaging beast.

The 41-megapixel 808 PureView stole the show at MWC 2012, but its ancient Symbian software resulted in awful sales. The lazy answer for an award-winning camera phone would be to simply pair the same camera sensor from the 808 with the body and software of a run-of-the-mill Lumia.

Sure, that would make a good camera phone, but there are other weapons in Nokia's arsenal that it could and should include if it's to make the EOS truly brilliant. The higher-quality glass lens inside the new Lumia 925 should be on board, as should the new SmartCam software. The floating lens image stabilisation from the 920 needs to be built in too, and features like HDR mode should be available. Nokia should also consider expanding its photo editing suite to help make up for the lack of big-name photo apps like Snapseed and Instagram on Windows Phone 8.

Nokia's recent financial results have been far from joyous to read, but it has an opportunity here to really push the boat out and give Android and iOS users a reason to crave a Nokia phone again. Nokia should take an all or nothing approach with the EOS -- if it's going to do it at all, it should put everything it can into making it superb.

Leaving out these features for future updates would signify a slack approach to product development, and will only give rivals like Samsung -- which is already rumoured to be working on a similarly image-focused phone -- an easier time in building a better product.

The physical design of the phone will be an issue too. The slim, light design of the metal-clad 925 is certainly attractive, but the bulky camera internals will likely push its girth out to be more akin to the chunky 920. Several leaked snaps of the EOS show a polycarbonate design like the 920, with a bulge for the beefy camera. With no hand in view for context, it's difficult to tell if it's bigger than the 920, but Nokia would be wise to make it more comfortable to hold than its weighty predecessor.

The metal versus plastic debate will, as always, have advocates on both sides. Metal construction generally feels more luxurious -- as you would hope for a top-end phone -- but the unibody polycarbonate design of Nokia's Lumias is undeniably attractive and allows for colours and shapes not generally seen on Android or iOS phones.

The Lumia 920 has gone some way to really whetting the appetite of mobile shutterbugs with its excellent low-light capabilities. With the 808's outstanding image quality though, Nokia evidently has some excellent camera technology in its labs that many have been itching to see paired with Windows Phone.

Nokia has an opportunity to finally give both existing Lumia fans and camera-curious 'Droiders a phone to really be excited about. If it holds out on the premium features it's been introducing on other phones though, the EOS runs the risk of looking like spit-shined old hardware with little to tempt users over incoming rival devices.