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Nokia Lumia 520

Unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the Nokia Lumia 520 is the most affordable Windows Phone 8 powered Lumia that Nokia has released so far.

It offers tremendous value for money without compromising on its good looks and is still packed full of eye-grabbing features such as a 4-inch super sensitive touch screen, Nokia’s unique camera lenses such as Cinemagraph and Smart Shoot, as well as changeable shells.

In short, the Lumia 520 offers an innovative and rich smartphone experience at a highly competitive price point. 

The product team behind the Nokia Lumia 520 wanted to create a smartphone for a mass market and, especially, for young people. Currently, there is no market bigger than the one in China and, in fact, the Lumia 520 was developed out of Nokia’s Beijing site.

We spoke to Mikko Kahlos, the Lumia 520’s lead product manager, about the team behind this smartphone, the difference it makes working in Asia and why he enjoyed making this device more than any other.

Mikko Kahlos

What was the guiding principle for the team behind the Nokia Lumia 520?

From the beginning it was important that we wanted to make it affordable. So what does that mean? We really kept that in our minds and stayed on target with everything that we did.

What are the major roles within the team?

We had a programme manager who was driving the overall R&D work and a technology manager who was ensuring that the quality was what we wanted.

I was the guardian of the consumers so that the market could see we had made a valuable smartphone that we could differentiate against the competition.

So it was us three who were running the show, but in reality this was a team effort.

Nokia Lumia 520

How did you approach the task?

One of the first things we did was create a ‘war room’ where we worked really intensively for the first few months so that we were constantly interacting. So when we made the first decisions everybody was there. 

I feel that discussions are more effective when all people involved are next to each other and share a common goal. We were able to do an excellent job with clear guidance on where to go.

How strong was the Chinese influence?

Although the Lumia 520 is a global product, the team behind the phone kept it in mind that this was a smartphone made in China, for China.

Most of the people on our team are Chinese and also new to Nokia. What makes the group even more fascinating is that more than half of the team were making their first mobile phone ever, having worked previously with suppliers, other companies or elsewhere in Nokia.  

They had a real challenger mindset and an opportunity to show what they can do. With guidance and support from the more experienced guys in the team, they did a great job!

Nokia Lumia 520

How proud are you of the Nokia Lumia 520, considering it’s such a new team?

I have done products for five years in Nokia and I have enjoyed this one the most. With this product, we have experienced the Asian culture, how people here work and how they succeed.

It is great to see people doing their absolute best and enjoying being part of something great.

This is the youngest and least experienced team ever in Nokia to have made a phone. We’ve been able to do it in the fastest time ever too. If you put all this together we have a lot to celebrate.