Wrapping up Microsoft's BUILD developer conference, Windows Phone 8.1 announcements ruled the day. From UI improvements to their voice assistant Cortana, it seems Live Tiles are prepping to improve upon their "distant" third place status to a stronger third place competitor.
Nokia has largely been responsible for keeping Windows Phone hardware competitive, and they were on hand to continue that momentum with announcements on an entry level Lumia 630 and a new international flagship phone the Lumia 930.
The Lumia 1520 phablet introduced us to a new era of WP with true 1080p screens and quad-core processors, but a six inch screen wont appeal to all consumers. Phablets by design aren't flagships, they're an audacious statement meant to push boundaries. It's funny that the five inch screen has now come to represent "normal" in a world of giants like the LG G Flex, 1520, and Note 3. Nokia needed a phone with more mass market appeal, and rumors swirled about what the next Lumia 900 series phone would look like...
Last year, when the Lumia 920 and 925 were on AT&T and T-Mobile respectively, Verizon had their own Nokia different from every other Lumia in the USA and international markets. The Lumia 928 was an odd duck, blocky in design compared to the graceful tapered edges of other Lumias. This February, Nokia unveiled the Lumia Icon for Verizon Wireless, and it seemed at the time that Verizon had another solo experiment.
The Lumia Icon blended the design of the 928 and the 925. It retained the blocky rectangular shape of Verizon's previous exclusive, but it combined metal edges with a polycarb back like the 925. The result was an edgy modern aesthetic. Most of us thought however that it would stay unique to Verizon. As in the past, surely Nokia would deliver a more tapered or curved form factor for their international flagship.
At BUILD Nokia took the wraps off of the Lumia 930, and it came as something of a surprise to many that overall build of the Icon won the day and would be released to the rest of the world. Verizon landed a sneak preview. Nokia decided against reinventing the wheel, having to support a different manufacturing process for each country and carrier. If VZW dictated the build of the Icon, Nokia ran with it to maintain brand unity.
Now unlike previous carrier exclusives, we've gotten a nice long term sneak peek at the hardware of the Lumia 930. Minus the improvements that come with Windows Phone 8.1 and Nokia software updates, we've already got a pretty good idea of what battery life, camera, screen response, and multimedia playback are going to resemble.
As Windows Phone grows into a stronger third place competitor, and the Lumia 930 is primed to take over as the next crown jewel for Microsoft, we've got links below for our coverage of the Icon to help you get ahead of the curve!