Nokia World 2011: Lumia 800, 710 fail to excite

Stephen Elop's unveiling of the Lumia 710 and Lumia 800 Windows Phone devices at the Nokia World conference today - during which he insisted on pronouncing the company name as 'Noh-Kia' - didn't exactly come as a surprise, but judging by the audience's reaction the company has missed a trick or two.

Full specifications for the devices have yet to be confirmed, but chipmaker Qualcomm has been in touch to confirm that Nokia has opted to stick a Snapdragon S2 ARM-based processor inside its two flagship smartphones.

"We are pleased to see the result of two strong teams coming together to bring to market smartphones based on the Snapdragon processors, in only six months," claimed Qualcomm's Enrico Salvatori of Nokia's launch. "The completeness of the Snapdragon processor and deep integration between Snapdragon and Windows Phone 7 have enabled a unique smartphone experience in record development time for Nokia."

Sadly, that means that Nokia has missed a significant opportunity to innovate: rather than opting for a high-performance chip that will give the Lumia series a unique selling point, the company has opted to use the same chips as every other Windows Phone manufacturer.

As Qualcomm has proudly pointed out, the Snapdragon system-on-chip products can be found powering every single Windows Phone device on the market - without exception.

The result: Nokia has launched a flagship device which will, at best, match the performance of its rivals' existing handsets. Hardly the 'new dawn' that Elop promised attendees in his keynote speech this morning.

That's not to say that Nokia isn't innovating in other ways: the lower-end Lumia 710 device includes swappable covers for customisation, a feature which was a staple of lower-end Nokia dumbphones for years.

The company has also confirmed a few unique software features for its Windows Phone 7.5 implementation: Nokia Drive offers voice-based turn-by-turn navigation with offline map caching, a first for a Windows Phone handset, while Nokia Music offers a Spotify-inspired streaming audio facility with download support.

Judging by the lack of response from the audience - with senior veep Kevin Shields at one point exclaiming "C'mon, that deserves some applause" - Nokia hasn't won the sceptics over quite yet.

Pre-ordering for the devices opens today, with the Lumia 800 set at €420 and the Lumia 710 at €270. Elop confirmed a November launch for Europe.