Oh Windows Phone.
It’s the third place holder in the great smartphone race, with only ~4% of the mobile OS market share, and it’s gone without a flagship phone for a little over 2 years (unless you count the HTC One M8 for Windows, which was a phenomenal phone in its own right.)
Today changes all of that, as Microsoft announced two flavors of their newest Windows Phone 10 Lumia flagship phones, the 950 ($550) and the 950 XL ($650,) and these phones are freaking behemoths, in terms of power.
|Lumia 950||Lumia 950XL|
|Display||5.2-inch WQHD OLED (564 PPI)||5.7-inch WQHD OLED (518 PPI)|
|Processor||Snapdragon 808, hexacore, 64-bit||Snapdragon 810, octacore, 64-bit|
|Storage||32GB internal, microSD card slot (up to 2TB expandable)||32GB internal, microSD card slot (up to 200GB expandable)|
|Memory||3GB of RAM||3GB of RAM|
|Cameras||20MP PureView on the rear, with optical image stabilization; 5MP wide angle (front)||20MP PureView on the rear, with optical image stabilization; 5MP wide angle (front)|
|Battery||3000mAh (removable)||3340mAh (removable)|
|Connection Type||USB Type C||USB Type C|
What does this mean? This might be the first ever Windows Phone OS to be on par with some of the other flagship phones from Samsung, LG, Huawei and Apple, especially coming off of the heels of the Apple and Google Events this past September, where the iPhone 6S series and Nexus 5X and 6P were announced by the respective companies. However, the one thing that blows the iPhone 6S series and the Nexus phones out of the water, in terms of pure specs, are the camera, the 3GB of RAM and the expandable storage topping out at a possible 2TB (essentially turning your phone into a computer, save the Continuum feature.)
Another standout is the 20MP PureView camera on the rear, with a 1.9f aperture, capable of shooting 4K video, as well as the 3GB of RAM, which both Lumia phones shares with the Nexus 6P (the iPhones only have 2GB of memory as well as the Nexus 5X .) With both 950s sporting 3GB of memory, even the most advanced and complicated of tasks should be no problem for the Windows Phone 10-enabled device, something that will certainly push the idea of the convergence of the mobile and desktop worlds onto the skeptical. Windows’ dearth of apps on it’s mobile marketplace certainly won’t appeal to the social media immersed crowd, but for the rest of us who like ease of use and practicality, it may serve as a good start on Windows’ end for an emergence in the OS market share. Also, the idea of universal apps between all Windows 10 devices (including the Xbox One,) as well as Microsoft’s efforts to ease the hassle of porting apps to the Windows platform, should encourage developers to begin working on bringing their apps to the ecosystem (or updating the current ones on a more frequent basis.)
Windows Phone 10’s Glance technology was also previewed at the event, and it sounds impressive. Take your phone out, press no buttons and you can see all your vital information, without sacrificing any kind of battery life. That’s right. ZERO. BATTERY. LIFE. Did I also mention that these phones are liquid cooled? Yeah, they’re liquid cooled.
Windows Hello is also a neat little feature that’s coming to the WP10 ecosystem in beta, where it just recognizes your face and instantly unlocks your phone. Personally, I don’t see myself using it because I shave on a fairly regular basis (once every 3-4 months,) but the practicality is nice, and has been in use on Windows 10 computers with Intel’s RealSense cameras, so it’s a fairly familiar technology.
Continuum might have been the best thing that was shown at the Windows 10 event today. The ability to take your phone and utilize it like an actual desktop, without breaking the phone’s functionality is absolutely a selling point. The Microsoft Display Dock utilizes USB Type-C and HDMI to connect your phone to a desktop monitor (or big screen TV, if you want to use it for video streaming & presentations on the go,) as well as any USB devices (like a mouse, keyboard and thumb drive) to increase productivity wherever you might be. At a friend’s house? At school? Doing presentations on the road? The Continuum feature enables the experience of a desktop, right from your Windows Phone 10 device. I can certainly see this becoming useful with a Logitech Unifying Wireless mouse and keyboard, especially for teachers who have to create presentations and show videos to their children. I can certainly see myself using Continuum in the classroom, as well as the board room.
Truthfully speaking, is this the silver bullet that will put a dent into the market share? No. However, it’s something that could definitely take Apple right out of the workplace and cement Windows Phone 10 (as well as Windows 10) as a workplace mainstay.
Check out our other coverage of the event at the following links: