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Smile: Nokia launches its 'halo' camera-phone

I suppose you could argue that it's useful if you want to digitally zoom in on something without loss of clarity. Apart from that, though, it's difficult to see the Lumia 1020 filling some as yet under-served user segment gasping for improved picture quality.

No, this is a Nokia statement phone. It's designed more to stay in the store looking aspirational than to walk out of the door with a customer, although Nokia clearly doesn't mind if it does. This is Nokia stamping its authority all over the high-end camera-phone segment - the message being that whatever else Nokia does, it always intends to be good at cameras.

The 1020 is an improved Windows Phone version of Nokia's much-noticed Pureview 808 - a strange 41 megapixel Symbian beast it launched early last year. The new Lumia is designed to be the best camera-phone you can find. It's got image stabilisation, 'oversampling' (all those megapixels) and specially-designed camera software. It's a phone for the photo-enthusiast who must have the best. It also costs - the US price will $300 on top of a two-year contract.

According to Geoff Blaber, Director of Devices and Software Platforms at London consultancy, CCS Insight, it's a 'halo product'. "It needs to be a catalyst for getting consumers to consider other Lumia devices, rather than Apple and Android products, when selecting their next smartphone,” he says.

“Nokia is positioning the Lumia 1020 as a flagship product for its next generation of smartphones. Alone, it will not transform Nokia's fortunes but the publicity generated around the innovative camera technology will be a major boost, not only to the Lumia brand but also the Windows Phone platform," observes Blabber.

According to Tony Cripps, Principal device analyst at Ovum: “The combination sets a new benchmark for high-end smartphone engineering – and a timely reminder of Nokia’s R&D capabilities. [It also] demonstrates that there is still considerable scope to drive forward the user experience in core smartphone capabilities."

It's good to see Nokia finally doing something right again.

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