With the closing of deal between Microsoft and Nokia, an era has ended. The worlds pioneer smart phone manufacturer is no more, RIP Nokia. Once Nokia dominated the world market for all types of mobile phones and still ruled the feature phone and low end smartphone market. Now with the acquisition the new phones will be sold under the Microsoft mobile brand with Nokia continuing to be a sub brand for low end smartphones and feature phones for some time. This also marks the start of a very interesting times in the mobile world especially for the developing markets. With Apple and Samsung at the helm of things and blackberry out of the equation, Microsoft mobiles will play a very important part as the third alternative. How well they leverage this acquisition is yet to me seen.
In the mist of everything now Microsoft is launching two devices in the Indian market. The Nokia XL which runs the forked version of Android open source also called the X platform and the Lumia 630, which will run the latest iteration of the Windows 8.1 Mobile operating system (please visit my blog under mobiles to get more information on the OS). Both the phones will be launched in the price bracket of Rs. 10,000 to Rs 12,000 bracket as anything beyond this price the phones will not sell. The big question then is which one do you go for and put your hard earned money into? To explore this answer lets briefly cover what they bring to the table.
This is a 5 inch phone with average 480 by 800 IPS LCD display with moderate 187 ppi and misses Gorilla glass protection. This is a screen size Indians like and the phone has decent specifications. I am not a fan of a mobile phone which runs Android and not having minimum I gb ram. The phone will not come with google applications like gmail, google now, maps but you can side load these application by rooting the phone. The Nokia store is where you will get the curated apps for the phone but the number of apps is miniscule compared to Google play. This gap is neatly filled by the third party app stores like Yandex, 1 Mobile and others. You will get all the essential apps and almost 80% of the apps on the Android market will work on this phone. The phone has a basic front facing camera and a 5 mp shooter with flash at the back. The rest of the specification is average and nothing to talk about when compared with what is provided by some of the other manufactures especially the Indian and Chinese once. The handset supports duel sim which is one of its highlight feature.
One question you may ask is why google apps are given a miss here. The answer is simple, first of all google is the biggest software competitor to MS and second Android is an open source platform not google. Google takes license fee from all manufacturers for using its apps. Another manufacturer who uses a forked version of Android is Kindle Fire, which makes tablets and has its own book and app store. The phone though has Nokia and Microsoft application but most of them are basic and lacks the full functionality to what you get on the Lumia phones.
It is the successor to the very successful 520. I don’t know why they have chosen the 600 series number as the 620 has a front facing camera, a rear camera with flash and NFC and all this is missing in this phone as far as hardware is concerned. It also misses the Here map + and Here drive + applications which the 620 has. This handset is a step up to the 520 but the ram falls short of the 525. On the pluses the handset runs the latest OS, it is a quad core handset and hence will be smooth as all windows phones are. This is the first phone in the windows platform which supports duel sim and this will be a huge plus in the emerging markets like India where people usually carry two numbers. Also it will be good for people frequently traveling to International destinations as they will not have to carry two phones. The phone is sturdy and comes in vibrant colors. It has a 4.5 inch 480 by 854 IPS LCD display having 218 ppi and Gorilla glass 3 protection. It also come with Lumia’s signature clear black technology to give you vivid color.
On the software front it will run all the Microsoft and Nokia software’s in their full avatars unlike the XL. It will not integrate Skype as it misses out on the front camera which is a big downer. It will only ship with Here map and drive without the + version. The phone will also be dud on the camera front as it misses flash and hence the low light photography is a complete no.
So which one should you buy?
If you are an Android fan and are heavily invested on google services and don’t want a windows phone, then please give a miss to both the phones but if you wish to experience a new variety of your favorite Android and would not mind experimenting then XL is a good buy. Don’t expect class leading performance as it will disappoint you but you can certainly play with it by rooting the phone. Do not change the launcher as it is the beauty of the X platform.
If you are a windows fan and have been using the 520 then give a miss to the XL as it is not a smooth OS which you have got use to now using the 520 hence buy the 630 as it is a decent upgrade. But if you are using the 620 I don’t see the need to go for a 630 as the 620 is a more feature rich phone unless you need a duel sim windows phone and can live without a front facing camera and a rear flash. The new WP 8.1 will any which way come to 620 also. Also the 525 is a worthwhile phone to consider in a slightly higher price bracket.
No matter which phone you choose the success of these two phone will decide the fate of Microsoft Mobiles in the near future. Immerging Markets like India and China are the more important markets of the future and no company can now afford to do mistakes and miscalculations here. The competition is tough and one loose end will kill the company.