But is the 41 megapixel Windows Phone 8 device going to be popular with punters? Developers at least are getting on board
Nokia has announced the arrival of the Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphone, with a 38 megapixel camera. Taking over from where the Symbian PureView 808 left off, the Lumia 1020 boasts a second generation 41 megapixel sensor, using Nokia's innovative PureView technology, including optical image stabilisation, which means the device is able to produce some of the sharpest images possible by any digital camera.
This is made possible by leading hardware technology combined with a new application called Nokia Pro Camera, which makes it easy for anyone to take professional quality images. Either before a picture is taken or after it has been shot, the zoom capability enables people to discover and then rediscover the personal stories each image can tell.
Using a new feature called dual capture, the Nokia Lumia 1020 simultaneously takes a high resolution 38 megapixel image for endless editing opportunities, and creates a 5 megapixel picture that is easy to share to social networks with Windows Phone 8.
Tony Cripps, principal device analyst at Ovum, commented on the mix of Windows Phone 8 plus the high quality sensor: 'The combination sets a new benchmark for high end smartphone engineering and a timely reminder of Nokia's R&D capabilities, but the company must still overcome incumbent rivals, slow adoption of Windows Phone and a modest marketing budget if it is to finally help the company turn a financial corner after its recent time in the doldrums.'
The Nokia Lumia 1020's 41 megapixel sensor features leading ZEISS optics with six physical lenses, plus optical image stabilisation, delivering crystal clear pictures even in low light conditions. It also captures blur free videos with stereo sound even at the loudest concerts thanks to Nokia Rich Recording, which handles sound pressure levels six times louder than conventional smartphone microphones.
Cripps continued to add that at a time when macro-level innovation has seemed to be lacking in smartphones due to the homogeneity of smartphone operating systems and the drive to appeal to the mass market, Nokia's Lumia 1020 demonstrates that there is still considerable scope to drive forward the user experience in core smartphone capabilities. He added: 'This is evidenced not only in the Lumia 1020's imaging prowess but also in its audio abilities, the company's Rich Recording technology similarly transforms the Lumia 1020's audio recording.
'Both imaging and audio are key areas of investment for Nokia and crucial to its long term strategy of rebuilding market differentiation. This is true not only at the high end, where the Lumia 1020 will be something of a beacon, but also further down the range as the fruits of Nokia's labours begin to trickle down through the midrange towards the value end of the smartphone spectrum.'
Additionally, the Nokia Imaging Software Development Kit (SDK) is now available to help developers push the boundaries of smartphone imaging. Hipstamatic, Path, Vyclone, SNAPCAM, Panagraph, Yelp, CNN and Foursquare are just a few of the developers building unique applications for the Nokia Lumia 1020 with the new Nokia Imaging SDK. It was also announced that popular personal magazine Flipboard and popular video service Vine will also be coming to Windows Phone.
'Now more than ever, people are using their smartphones to shoot, edit and share pictures,' said Marco Argenti, senior vice president, Nokia Developer. 'With the Nokia Lumia 1020, we are delivering an industry leading imaging experience that takes people closer to the details that really matter. We've collaborated closely with Microsoft and top developers around the world to deliver unique app experiences, pushing the boundaries of innovation with our ecosystem.'
The Nokia Imaging SDK was built with the same technology Nokia uses for its own imaging applications, including Smart Camera and Creative Studio. The SDK gives developers flexibility to create advanced imaging experiences in their applications for Nokia Lumia smartphones. Whether applying or creating filters or adding effects and adjustments to images, developers can offer people the ability to instantly personalise photos or relive the moment in a variety of ways.
The Nokia Lumia 1020 fixes the problems inherent in the Nokia PureView 808, with its undesirable operating system. Cripps noted: 'While the new camera module contributes to a device that is noticeably thicker than the existing flagship, the Lumia 925, it is small enough to avoid the chunky and top-heavy design of its PureView 808 forebear. The PureView user experience is similarly upgraded through its integration with Microsoft's elegant Windows Phone 8 platform, which itself benefits from a flagship device featuring category-leading imaging technology.'
However, Cripps warned that this device, although impressive, is unlikely to become a mass market number one thanks to potential cost and Windows Phone 8. He explained: 'While the Lumia 1020 looks to be the new belle at the smartphone ball, its debut will not necessarily attract a mass of suitors. Most obviously, the device will be expensive. Pricing has yet to be revealed but engineering of the kind on offer in the Lumia 1020 does not come cheap. Aggressive operator subsidies would no doubt help in that regard, but might detract from the device's premium engineering and user experience.
'Furthermore, Nokia, and Windows Phone more generally, still suffers from a lack of consumer awareness and marketing dollars compared with their key rivals, Apple and Samsung-plus-Android. While this situation is undoubtedly improving, these factors continue to put off many prospective consumers due a greater chance of favourite applications being unavailable.'