“Have you heard what’s coming?”
That was the tagline of Nokia’s recent teaser video for its newest product. The short clip, which simply featured some text on black background and the sound of a motorcycle, provided little clue of what was to come. But we now know the subject of that video to be the Nokia Lumia Icon.
Announced today as a Verizon exclusive, the Lumia Icon takes over for the Lumia 928 as the carrier’s flagship Windows Phone device. It will be available in black or white starting Feb. 20 for $200 with a two-year contract. You can preorder the phone now from the Microsoft Store.
Though the company hopes the phone will appeal to a broad range of customers, Nokia is targeting the Lumia Icon at a younger, social audience — “the Vine generation” — and is touting the video and sound capabilities of the phone.
More specifically, Nokia believes its new one-handed zoom feature and four built-in microphones will allow the Lumia Icon’s 20-megapixel PureView camera to deliver higher-quality video than the competition. The former allows you to simply swipe up on the screen with one finger to zoom in, the argument being that it’s easier and leads to less shaky videos than if you were to use two fingers to pinch to zoom.
Meanwhile, the company claims that the Lumia Icon’s four microphones can capture more than six times the amount of sound compared to a regular smartphone microphone. Proprietary technology in the phone can then process and combine the audio from all the mics to ensure that you’re getting the highest quality sound.
Aside from the video experience, the Lumia Icon offers many of the same features as the Lumia 1520, including a Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor, wireless charging capabilities and a full HD screen, but in a much more compact and manageable package.
This is largely due to a smaller five-inch display (compared to the Lumia 1520’s six-inch screen). The company also focused on making the phone slim and pocketable by offering a flush finish on the back (no more protruding camera lens).
I got a sneak peek at the Lumia Icon yesterday, and it’s, no doubt, a stunning device. The vibrant and sharp screen instantly grabs your attention, and it has high-quality construction. The smartphone also felt very fluid, and after snapping off a couple of quick photos, I was impressed with the picture quality.
I haven’t had time to test the video capabilities yet. And while I’ll reserve judgment till I’ve had more time with the device, I have my doubts about how big of a selling point it’s going to be for customers.
Despite gaining some momentum last year, Windows Phone’s global market share is still in the single digits. And though Nokia is always quick to point out that the Windows Phone store has 96 percent of the major apps, the platform is still an afterthought for many developers. As my colleague Ina Fried wrote, mobile should be a priority task for incoming Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
We expect to hear more announcements from Nokia and Microsoft when Mobile World Congress takes place in a couple of weeks in Barcelona, so be sure to tune back in then.