Layman’s Take on Nokia Lumia 800- Take a look over it without shadows of anything


No more Home screen concept, the world of Tiles:

When I look at iOS, Meego, Windows Phones and even Windows 8 Desktop, then it looks like that many out there want to push the concept of desktop to the edge now. Yes! after Meego, Nokia Lumia 800 would be the second Nokia Smartphone without any kind of traditional desktop or widget etc. just even sized (or double sized) uni-colored tiles floating on the screen in arrangement of two at each row.

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In the first sight, Its definitely an annoyance for the users, who love to show off their new arrangements of Home screens, live wallpapers to others or geeks, who find it convenient to have an informative Home screen at their finger print. But once you admit the way it is, it starts growing over you.

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Specially on the screens like Nokia Lumia 800, these tiles seem to be kind of floating over surface with nice animated and depth of field kind of experience. Soon you realize that its just not a particular pattern of Home screen arrangement (like you might have experienced with some Third party Launchers on Android or Symbian), but actually a completely different philosophy you are dealing with.

Microsoft calls the Windows Phone as alive phones and the tiles floating on Live Tiles. Let’s see why?

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Microsoft says that Live Tiles present all the needed information by just a glance over them without even tapping them and this all keep on updating in background without any user intervention. So what? Even in iOS or some Android launchers, you see number of missed calls, number of mails, number of facebook\twitter mentions on the side of respective icons. That’s also kind of “just a glance is enough”, What’s different with Windows Phone then?

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There are differences. The tiles in Microsoft Windows Phone 7 aren’t simply numbers in a red bubble. You can configure them for instant access to the features and functions that are important to you. You can pin just about anything you want to Start: apps, pictures, songs, map locations, favorite websites, OneNote notes, and even contacts. When you pin a contact to Start, you’ll get all of that person’s feed updates right from that tile, and it’s like speed dial: it takes only two taps to make a phone call.

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Then comes the hubs (Tiles actually), Windows Phone automatically groups the apps in hubs like People hub groups people, their numbers, names, addresses, social feeds and everything connected to that, Music Hub groups Music, videos, Podcasts, FM Radio, Mix Radio, Zune or Streaming services if any and Picture Hubs brings you pictures either it be from your phone or from your social networks or from Sky Drive.

You install any new app then it automatically finds its ways into the specific App hub it meant to. Like if you install MetroTube then it get settled into Music and Videos Hub, you configure Facebook account and Facebook chat finds its ways into Messages Hub. Means no more making folders manually and then putting apps into it for your convenience as you are on a real “Smartphone” now. Check howto’s.

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Though still there are exceptions that defies the underlying concept behind app hubs (or might be the case that I am unable to understand them that well). Like why Bing Maps and Nokia Maps are not into a common Navigation or Geo-Hub? Why Whatsapp doesn’t move itself to Messaging Hub? But overall, this a nice way to incorporate the best features of platforms like Maemo, iOS and Symbian into one and building an entirely new experience over them.

By refusing skinning from Operators and Vendors and managing most of the essentials for a real “Smartphone” into core of the OS itself, Microsoft seems to be on a perfect path to redefine the things for Smartphone world in the way, they once did with Desktops. Thing to see will be, if its too late or more than timing, its the quality that matters.

After the tiles, next is basic notifications like Battery, Network reception, SMS/Chat arrival etc.

Like Symbian or most of other Smartphone OS out there, Windows Phone also chooses the topmost bar for the basic notifications but difference of approach here is hiding the bar automatically most of the time. Also this hiding is very intelligent in itself.

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Like if you are standby screen (which is the only place where you can place a wallpaper), then the obvious information that one might be needed is number of unread messages/ unread mails in individual accounts, current date, day, month, time, battery, network signal strength and wifi connection status, but if you are on tiles then as Tiles itself can be customized to give you info, its kind of redundant to have a top bar showing you network signals and battery life all the time. Windows Phone does the both.

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If anytime you need to know network\ battery status then just a tap on topmost place of screen and it comes out of its closet to show you network status, wifi connection status and battery status. Time will be always visible though. Isn’t it cute minimalism and yet efficient representation of info rather than the always persistent and screen real estate taking? The top bar will also pop but if any SMS arrives or if you wanted to change the volume of your phone via HW key (slide control like Nokia N9 not here) or at the same volume screen the option to change the profile from ring+vibrate to vibrate only.

Some people including  me, will still blame Windows Phones for not having a notifications system at par with Android\ iOS (where emails\SMS\MMS\Bluetooth or even any third party app can send its notifications in the notification bar), but given the fact that its walking toward a right path of minimalism, I think we can give it a pass as of now.


Author: Nitish Kumar

I love to write and raising voice, sharing thought and heated debate is a kind of passion for me. Jobwise I am just another Computer professional handling Infra and designing solutions for a big Indian Media house but I love to write, sketch, photography and a lot more.

26 thoughts on “Layman’s Take on Nokia Lumia 800- Take a look over it without shadows of anything”

  1. Nice review , by the way about OTA , it’s a wp7 limitation and not lumia , soon wp in market currently supports OTA same is true about other few features.

  2. Good post , though I must say I couldn’t read it in one go 🙂
    Even though I havent used or tried any WP device for more than half an hour, I just hated UI and how it looks. I don’t think that perception of ugly,over simplified UI will change.
    As expected and read all over for me 3 things stand out for WP. These can make it success.
    1) People Hub
    2) Brilliant Office Suite ( and its FREE)
    3) Email

    But sadly I feel Nokia is going away from their soul and going Apple way.
    This may be good for company(I really doubt) but not good for industry as whole.

    1. Suyog,
      I had similar sentiments about WP UI before trying it myself. Even I mentioned once that I felt those uneven fonts as ugly. But trust me, views are bound to change once you allow it grow over you. Not all the praises going around are dummy.

      1. Agree with Nitish, once I got my hands on Lumia 800, I didn’t like UI for few hours or a day and missed home screens. But later, started loving the UI and now I am a fan of UI. 🙂

    2. People hub is exceptional as just like Meego it brings all social activities at one place and like WebOS it brings all the photos (even twitter ones).
      So in all, people hub will effectively help people managing their social needs without going behind any apps that is a great thing for n00bs or even people coming from Symbian/Meego.

      Second great thing is speed of UI that literally no offers either be Symbian or Android

  3. Suyog, I’ll agree with Nitish.. in just two words…. you will see my views about it changing too… it’s actually a good UI. there are however some features that really were needed but if talking about UI, seriously I think if I was given more time with it I would been liking this UI. and I’ll not say like many out there that “Windows Phone 7.5” is not that good to be used.

    But still I’ll say that MeeGo on N9 (for its given time) has been the most *Mature* smartphone OS (in most of the aspects) among all of them.

    And Nitish; that really is great post above, I’ll try to read it completely 😛

  4. Very interesting article, Nitish. I’m very exited with Windows phone on Nokia, but lack of BT and file transfer worries me. Nokia has been great among other things because of its flexibility and versatility. Does is support USB on the go, like my N8? What about something small but GREAT in functionality, notification light? Man, I think Nokia should never get rid of this. It helps the user so much to see through a notification light, that you have a missed event.

  5. Quite a thorough article on the Lumia 800(& upcoming 900)windows phone. The most important things for me are:i’m not going to sell a Rolls Royce to ride a better handlind motorcycle-ie,my Nokia E7-00 vs any Lumia! No storage! No tethering! No bluetooth! No sale!

  6. One of the most comprehensive review of Lumia 800 I have read. sheer Brilliant.

    Are u still using this device? How is the battery life holding up for you?

    Any word on Lumia 900 launch date in india?

    Thanks,
    -Pankaj

  7. The best review of WP that I have seen , kudos to u Mr. Kumar ! U r right , the Lumia 800 is beautiful ; it should be since it`s a copy of the N9 ! But that same design is also a problem in certain areas of the world ( more about this in a bit . ) .
    i`ve always said that WP has potential but it`s still immature ( Takes 3 years to work out enough of the bus and work enough features in , to make the OS useful . ) , seriously late to the party and there r too many other OEMs trying to get a piece of the pie . In all fairness to Nokia , they haven`t had a chance to make an impact on WP yet , maybe WP8 will change this . Nor have the Lumias been out too long , though this is changing . So it`s still a bit early to say for sure .
    That said , WP hasn`t exactly taken off yet , marketshare is still single digits . Nor do I like the Metro UI , though my issue with it is more function than form ( but I do think it`s ugly !) . I firmly believe that a homescreen should convey enough info to keep u current at a glance , and the Metro UI doesn`t do this . Even Windows Mobile could do this !
    WP`s biggest problem , IMHO , is it`s requirements for a constant connection and Skydrive . Not so much a problem in developed countries , but in emerging markets with their infrastructure issues and the need to watch data usage, it`s a different thing entirely . I don`t think WP will do well in emerging markets ( It seems to not be … ) , though it also doesn`t seem to be doing well in many developed countries either , with the USA , Finland and Russia as notable exceptions .
    Nor will do well in countries where the N9 was a success, most notably China , due to the problem that WP is functionally inferior to Meego , and Symbian , for that matter . even the new 311 is better from what I can tell !
    For these reasons , I don`t see WP as more than moderately successful , assuming it takes off , of course ! Maybe WP8 will change this , ir really needs too ! cheers !

  8. On second thought , looks like the 10/19/2012 post MIGHT have a reply so I take back the previous remark , t least to an extent lol…

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