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Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 smartphone launch in detail

Nokia has just unveiled its next-generation Lumia smartphones, including the flagship Nokia Lumia 920 and the Lumia 820, both of which will run Windows Phone 8.

The company, however, did not reveal pricing or release dates for the new devices.

At an event in New York – which ITProPortal attended and covered with a liveblog you can see here, if you want a full blow-by-blow account of the launch – Nokia chief Stephen Elop said that the devices create "the most personal smartphone experience."

The Lumia 920 (pictured above) features a 4.5in curved glass WXGA LCD display of the IPS variety that boasts what Nokia called PureMotion HD+, which the company said is "better than HD resolution." That includes blur-free scrolling; Jo Harlow, head of Nokia's mobile phones business, boasted that you can “scroll through an email or web page [and] the text stays crystal sharp.”

According to Kevin Shields, a senior vice president at Nokia, the Lumia 920 sports the fastest LCD display ever shipped on a smartphone. The device also allows the owner to use the touchscreen while wearing gloves; "it detects bare skin and gloves," he noted, making for a phone "that fits more naturally into your life."

Harlow claimed that the Lumia 920 is "the most innovative smartphone in the world," no less. She talked up the Lumia 920's camera, mapping technologies, and extra features like wireless charging. The device also supports near-field communication (NFC). "This is Lumia, and it's time to switch," she asserted.

Nokia PureView

The Nokia 920 features PureView technology, which Harlow said will capture five to ten times more light than any competitors' smartphone cameras via a "floating lens technology that surpasses the optical image stabilisation system of most digital SLRs."

The Lumia 920 is equipped with an 8.7-megapixel rear-facing camera which can handle full 1080p HD video capture at 30 fps. It also has a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera with 720p HD video capture.

"The technology reacts to the minute movements in your hand to balance the lens, so the shutter can stay open longer, and more light means brighter, clearer images without flash, even indoors and at night," Harlow said. "The Nokia Lumia 920 also replaces your HD camcorder because another benefit of this floating lens technology is that the lens is stabilised for taking smooth and professional-looking video."

PureView technology made its debut at Mobile World Congress earlier this year with the Nokia PureView 808 smartphone, which features a 41-megapixel camera (check out our review of that handset here).

Nokia Maps

Harlow also focused on the mapping features of the Lumia 920. The smartphone will include Nokia's augmented reality "City Lens" app, which Nokia first unveiled in May. The app lets you scan the horizon with your phone's camera, and see what's around you in terms of local places of interest (complete with embellishments such as reviews and star ratings). If you find something interesting, you can tap to call for more info or share your destination with friends via social networks, SMS, or email.

The Lumia 920 will also provide access to offline maps, and a daily commute feature that can calculate the time it will take you to reach a destination based on traffic levels. Nokia Drive will provide free, voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation, Harlow said.

Wireless charging

If your smartphone runs out of juice, the Lumia 920 supports wireless charging. Harlow pointed to a recharging pillow from Fatboy, while Shields showed off a line of speakers from JBL. Using NFC, Lumia 920 users can tap their smartphone on the JBL speaker and music playing on the smartphone will start playing on the speaker. Once music is transferred, place the Lumia 920 atop the JBL speaker and the phone will charge.

In addition, Nokia Lumia 920 recharging plates will be installed in the Virgin Atlantic clubhouse at London Heathrow Airport.

In terms of design, Nokia's Shields talked up how "different" the Lumia 920 is from other devices on the market. "Wrapped around the display is a stunning shell formed from the same great polycarbonate material that we have spent years perfecting," he said. That includes "colours that won't scratch off," as well as antennas not compromised by "needless" elements, a dig at Apple's antenna-related iPhone death grip.

The Lumia 920 will run a 1.5GHz, dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor and features a 2000mAh battery, which Harlow said is the largest battery Nokia has ever installed in a smartphone. There's 1GB of RAM, and 32GB of memory on board, along with 7GB of free SkyDrive cloud storage.

Combined with Windows Phone 8, Harlow said the Lumia 920 will provide the “fastest and most responsive smartphone user experience there is while being up to 30 per cent more battery efficient than quad-core alternatives."

As for Windows Phone 8, Microsoft's Joe Belfiore was on stage today to demo the new mobile OS. One of the new features, he said, will be the ability for users to take screen shots.

Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer also made an appearance and said that Windows Phone 8 "keeps you closest to the people and things that matter most."

"In a very powerful way, our partnership with Nokia brings that proposition to life and you can really see it in the Lumia 820 and 920," he added.

Microsoft first tipped Windows Phone 8 back in June. The new Windows Phone 8 will look and act a lot like Windows Phone 7.5 with live tiles and the same 100,000 apps. But the home screen will be enhanced: You'll now be able to fill the screen with tiles if you like. The two existing tile sizes will be joined by a third, smaller tile. Tiles will be resizable, and the OS will be available with a wider variety of colours and themes.

Nokia Lumia 820

The Lumia 820 includes an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with Carl Zeiss optics, dual LED flash, and full 1080p video capture at 30 fps. There is also a front-facing VGA camera, along with 1GB of RAM, 8GB of memory, and once again 7GB of free SkyDrive storage.

If you want to compare and contrast specs, you might be interested in taking a look at our review of the current Nokia flagship Windows Phone device, the Lumia 900.