Nokia Lumia smartphones have come a long way since they burst onto the scene in October 2011 in the shape of the vibrant Lumia 800, the first Nokia handset to run Windows Phone.
In the two-and-a-half years that have since followed, Nokia has introduced a wealth of mobile innovation, adding pieces to the puzzle in the journey towards current flagship smartphones, like the Nokia Lumia 1520, the photographers’ favourite Lumia 1020 and, most recently, the flagship Lumia 930, and uncompromised Lumia 630 and Lumia 635.
We travel back in time to trace the roots of these key advancements.
Taking its design cues from the cult Nokia N9, the Lumia 800 kick-started a brand new era for Nokia with its distinctive, colourful, sturdy and stylish polycarbonate chassis that lives on today through its successors.
The Lumia 800 also included ClearBlack display technology, allowing superior screen visibility in direct sunlight. Thanks to Windows Phone 7, it also had access to mobile versions of Microsoft Office, Xbox Live games and exclusive experiences Lumia owners still treasure such as free MixRadio.
From here, the speed of innovation would be rapid to say the least.
The initial wave of evolution began with the 4.3-inch Lumia 900, which introduced a series of firsts. It was first in the series to arrive in the United States, while it was also the first to offer 4G LTE mobile data.
Where do we start? The Nokia Lumia 920 is perhaps the most innovative smartphone ever. It didn’t just pioneer the new Windows Phone 8 OS, it also brought a multitude of in-house innovations.
How about the PureMotion HD+ better-than-HD screen with pixels that lit up twice as fast as competing devices? Display innovation didn’t stop there, with ‘super-sensitive touch’ tech allowing for those dwelling in colder climes to keep their gloves on and still use their smartphone to its full capacity.
The Lumia 920 also introduced wireless charging through the Qi standard, along with a host of charging accessories including a JBL speaker dock that automatically begins playing music when called into action. NFC tech also took its place within the Lumia range.
Beyond all that, there was the camera. The Lumia 920 was the first in the range to introduce PureView technology, featuring a unique floating lens that offered advanced optical image stabilisation.
This handset also added the option for 1080p full HD video recording, had the largest battery Nokia had ever placed in a device to date – 2000mAh – and was the first handset to rock the completed City Lens location-based AR exploration app.
Last but not least, how about that ballsy bright yellow polycarbonate body that is so synonymous with Lumia today?
Nokia Lumia 520 and Lumia 720 (with HERE Maps)
The launch of these entry-level Windows Phone’s in early 2013 really showed that Lumia packed a wealth of innovation at every price, and also coincided with another important evolutionary landmark for the Lumia series; the introduction of the rebranded and rebooted HERE Maps (allowing Maps to be downloaded to the phone), HERE Drive (a fully fledged sat nav) and HERE Transit applications, which continue to underpin the Lumia experience and are improving continually.
Proof that style evolution can be as just compelling as internal innovation, Nokia broke the mould with the Lumia 925. Its sleek, super-thin and lightweight metal/polycarbonate hybrid chassis still makes it one of the sexiest Lumias to date.
The always-improving PureView camera brought new image processing software to the table and the Nokia Smart Camera introduced a new burst shot mode, allowing ten shots at once.
The app also allowed motion to be removed from background elements of photos. This handset also added a SIXTH lens element to improve image sharpness.
That’s it for part one. Join us for the concluding episode tomorrow, where we kick off with the iconic Nokia Lumia 1020 – a Windows smartphone that redefined mobile photography.