Nokia believes you shouldn’t have to pay top dollar to enjoy some of the latest smartphone technology, so today, the company introduced two new Lumia handsets that deliver higher-end features at lower prices.
The first of the devices is the Lumia 720. Priced at around $329 before taxes and carrier discounts, the Windows Phone 8 handset is designed for those looking for a good quality cameraphone.
It has a 6.7-megapixel camera on back that incorporates technology to help take better pictures during the day and night. Meanwhile, the front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera delivers HD-quality images and has a wide-angle lens.
It’s also the first Lumia device to offer a microSD expansion slot.
Other features include a 4.3-inch, 800 by 480 pixel touchscreen, a dual-core 1GHz Snapdragon processor, and NFC technology. The smartphone also provides access to Nokia’s various services, including Nokia Music and the Here location suite, which offers turn-by-turn directions.
I had an opportunity to briefly check out the handset here at Mobile World Congress, and I’ll admit, I was smitten. It has the stylings of the flagship Lumia 920 but in a much sleeker and lighter package. The smartphone also felt very responsive and fluid, though, of course, I would need more time to test the device to say so for sure.
The Lumia 720 is expected to be available in Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore in the first quarter of this year, and will roll out to other markets, such as Europe, Africa and India in the second quarter. North American plans were announced at this time.
Meanwhile, the Lumia 520 will definitely be coming to the U.S. via T-Mobile in the second quarter. Pricing was not announced today, but I wouldn’t be surprised if was free with a two-year contract. Global pricing is set at 139 Euros ($183 U.S.), and Nokia says it’s the most affordable Lumia yet.
Like the Lumia 720, advanced camera technology is also a highlight of the Lumia 520. The smartphone’s main five-megapixel uses the same digital lenses as the Lumia 920. There’s also built-in software that allows you to add different filters to images, accentuate certain features and more.
Aside from a smaller 4-inch, 800 by 480 pixel touchscreen, the Lumia 520 matches the Lumia 720′s feature set listed above. Neither of the smartphones are 4G LTE capable.
With these new devices and price points, Nokia said it hopes they will drive more people to try Windows Phone. But the company has already tried wooing customers with wallet-friendly prices. The Lumia 920 is $100 on contract with AT&T, while the mid-range Lumia 820 is $50 on contract and free on Verizon Wireless.
Offering a variety of devices and offering customers choice is certainly nice, but it remains to be seen whether the new handsets can do anything to lift the visibility of Windows Phone.
In addition to Lumia 520 and 720, Nokia also introduced two basic handsets for emerging markets.
The Nokia 105 is designed for the first-time cellphone buyer and has a 1.45-inch color screen, FM radio, alarm clock and other essentials. It will be available in the first quarter in markets, such as Indonesia, Nigeria and Vietnam. The Nokia 301 adds a larger 2.4-inch color screen, a Web browser, and a 3.2-megapixel camera. It’s expected to ship in the second quarter in more than 120 countries.
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