Why the Nokia Lumia 1020 shows that Nokia is back to their horrible old ways.
Direct sequel to this: http://www.theverge.com/2013/6/13/4428130/why-it-isnt-microsoft-holding-back-nokia
So today Nokia announces the Lumia 1020, a "blockbuster" device that is arguably the single best camera phone on the market right now. The tech press is marveled by its imaging prowess, and the innovative grip accessory. But as a longtime Nokia fan, I see past their fancy talk, to an almost unnoticed spec sheet line, to what I see is a regression to Nokia's old ways, where profit comes from cost cutting and supply chain management, and when only the bare minimum in specs was ever used.
So the Nokia Lumia 1020 will retail at 299$ on contract, aka, "flagship plus" territory. This is the pricing tier reserved for higher end flagships, for instance higher storage versions (iphone 5 32gb), better battery (Droid Razr Maxx), or in this case, amazing camera. The Lumia 1020 is easily worth the high price, it is a much better device than its competitors (the HTC 8X, Lumia 920, etc.)
However, I see trouble brewing behind the hype. I see Nokia going back to their bad old days, I see flashbacks from the n97. Allow me to explain.......
The n97 sold well, nobody can deny that. It sold well because it was the sequel to multiple highly successful devices in the n series, it sold well because of Nokia's marketing blitz, it sold well because it was on every damned carrier outside of North America, and it sold well because its a Nokia.
The n97's success overshadowed 2 much better competitors, the Samsung Omnia HD, and the Sony Ericsson Saitio. The n97 was an under specced piece of garbage, unlike the Omnia HD and Saitio. Nokia got away with it, because it was the BARE MINIMUM needed to run s60v5. People simply said that s60v5 doesn't support higher specs, even though it did, because the shitty specced "flagship" overshadowed 2 much better devices.
Now, with Windows Phone 8, the exact same thing is happening again. Nokia releases a phone with the bare minimum specs to operate (yes, it has more ram than the minimum, but thats probably the minimum to support the camera). Even though they could have done better, and they really should have, considering the Lumia's position as a "top end" flagship.
So a few weeks back, HTC, who is effectively a second tier windows phone OEM, announced the HTC 8XT (released next week). An updated 8X for sprint. The 8XT was completely un-noticed, but it brings an extremely important change to the table, the chipset.
All Windows Phone 8 devices currently on the market runs a "last gen" Snapdragon s4 chipset. The fact that the lumia 925 and the Lumia 1020 runs the same s4 chipset is simply blamed on the fact that "windows phone doesn't support better". That is obviously not true.
The HTC 8XT runs a "current gen" Snapdragon, the Qualcomm MSM8930. Windows Phone is perfectly capable of supporting current gen Snapdragons, yet the just announced Lumia 1020 runs a last generation chipset. Nokia is back to their old ways of using the shittiest possible chipset to cut costs.
Why is nokia doing this? well first of all, to cut costs. The s4s are probably dirt cheap now, and by running all their phones on the same chipset, Nokia probably gets insane volume discounts.
They are also avoiding the osborn effect too. They do not want to kill the 925, so they release 1020 with the same chipset as the 928 and 925 (and the 820 and 920). Yet Nokia's announcement strategy is insane. Why the hell are the releasing these phones in such a staggered fashion? Wouldn't it make more sense to release everything at the same time? the 925 and 928 could be released with the 1020, as the 2nd gen Windows Phone 8 Lumias. Nokia made the same mistake with s60v5 handsets (releasing them from 2008 to 2010).
I thought Nokia would smarten up with Elop at the help, but unfortunately, the old guard (most notably Harlow) has left their mark on the new 1020.