What you see in the shot above (and the gallery below) is a display containing almost every Lumia handset and accessory currently manufactured by Nokia — all arranged buffet-style for your viewing pleasure. These photos, captured during a special event at MWC 2013, include the Lumia 920, 820, 720, 620 and 520, PlayUp speaker, Purity HD stereo headset and Luna Bluetooth headset (among others).
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Just when you think that the era of decent smartphone cameras has killed the Blurrycam, you get a beauty like this. Here’s an image purporting to be of a new Nokia Windows Phone 8 handset that, if real, we’ll see on September 5th. Of course, it could just as easily be a block of golden marzipan with some detailing, but at least it gives us hope that the company’s sticking with its trademark polycarbonate in various shades of primary colors.
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Stephen Elop said that Nokia would unveil its first MeeGo device this year, and he just made good on his word with the N9 (also known as Lankku). Just as we spotted earlier, the N9 is a solid slab of 3.9-inch AMOLED screen (854 x 480) sans a keyboard or physical switches of any kind (well, aside from that oh-so-necessary volume rocker and camera button). The phone comes with 16GB or 64GB of onboard memory and 1GB of RAM wrapped in a polycarbonate shell that’s colored all the way through, so dings and scratches won’t show — unless the wounds run deep, of course. Connectivity comes courtesy of quad-band GSM and penta-band WCDMA radios, plus Bluetooth 2.1, NFC, and GPS. There is also a dedicated camera button for the 8 megapixel wide-angle shooter, which is capable of aperture F2.2 for low light picture taking and true 16:9 720p video recording. Oh, and it’s an AF shooter, not EDoF.
The entire thing measures 116.45- x 61.2- x 7.6-12.1mm and weighs 135 grams, with a battery capable of lasting up to 50 hours (music), 4.5 hours (720p video), or between seven and 11 hours (GSM yappin’). You’ll also get gratis turn-by-turn drive and walk navigation with voice guidance in Maps, a dedicated Drive app, proximity sensor and a choice of hue: black, cyan, and magenta. Other hardware specs include 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, an ambient light sensor, compass, orientation sensor, a micro SIM slot, tethering support and a 3.5mm “AV connector.” It’ll be humming along on MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan, with apps being compliant with Qt 4.7 and HTML5 support bundled in.
As for software? Aside from Angry Birds Magic, Galaxy on Fire 2, Real Golf 2011 and OpenGL ES 2.0, those who take the plunge will be greeted with a Webkit2-based browser, pinch-to-zoom support, unified notifications for Facebook, Twitter and RSS feeds in the Events view as well as social networking profiles and status updates merged into phone contacts. MeeGo touts a user interface simplified to three home views — events, applications and open apps — with a swipe gesture able to take you back to the home view. For those looking to expand upon what’s loaded from the factory, Ovi Store access is included, but we’ve no idea what kind of pricing will be affixed. We’ll be getting a fair bit of hands-on time with this guy in just a few hours, so keep it locked here for our first impressions!
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Nokia is the company many of us used to buy our phone from, before you-know-who started making the you-know-what. Since then Nokia has been in gradual, steady decline. To the point where the CEO felt the need to write a rather alarming memo to all his staff, using the metaphor of a “burning platform” to describe the situation Nokia finds itself. In this metaphor, the rather unappealing solution is to jump, and plunge into the ice cold North Sea below. Or commission London-based Dalton Maag to create a new typeface, call it Pure and organise a grand launch party featuring commissioned artworks from a hand picked bunch of leading designers — either way works, apparently. Introduced in late March, Nokia Pure is as important as Nokia’s own logo, as it will be the face (literally) of the mobile devices and stand front and center in all communications for the company.
For a brand like Nokia, looking to reinvent and revitalise, the typeface literally sets the tone. In many ways, it’s the touchstone for every other visual element in the branding palette. So it needs to be considered, rigorous and send out exactly the right message.
Logically enough, the starting point for our brand new typeface, Nokia Pure, was also on-screen legibility at small sizes — although now we’re talking about the pin-sharp colour screens of contemporary smartphones. At the same time, we also needed a recognisable corporate typeface, versatile enough to work well in all manner of different environments — from other screen-based formats, to a whole host of printed materials.
— Nokia’s Brand Book Blog
As you can see, Nokia Pure is a clean, humanist sans serif in the tradition of Helvetica, Univers or Frutiger. It’s been designed to work on small screens, but with recognition that today the resolution of these screens is much, much higher than it used to be. Thus the awkwardness of many early ‘pixel friendly’ typefaces has been avoided, and the typeface looks just like every other sans serif typeface you’ve ever come across. Another key consideration when creating a typeface for a client such as this is the mind bending challenge of rolling out the typeface to the myriad of different languages of every market the devices are sold in. No easy task.
Dalton Maag was asked by Nokia to design a font family primarily for use in digital media — mobile devices and the web — which would also be versatile enough to be the cornerstone for all of Nokia’s communications worldwide. The new font family had to reflect the traditions of Finnish design: simplicity, clarity, functionality, beauty of form — in short, Pure.
It needed to support languages using the Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, Arabic, and Hebrew alphabets, as well as the Devanagari and Thai scripts in a first phase introduction. More languages, including Chinese, would follow in the future. Various weights would be required, and specific Display versions for use at larger sizes. The Text fonts also needed to be fully hinted to give the best possible screen display on handheld devices.
— Daton Maag Case Study
The previous typeface Nokia used was designed by none other than Mr. Erik Spiekermann and, as much as I fear a dressing down in front of his 100,000-plus followers on Twitter, the old Nokia Sans was showing its age and, as I mentioned above, its reason for being — legibility on low resolution screens — no longer existed.
As Spiekermann himself said at the Brand New Conference, "brand is just a fucking typeface, it’s all you need". It’s understandable that Nokia, perceived as lagging behind competitors with faster, shinier, higher technology, sought to update their typography in line with the capabilities of screen technology. Will this revitalise the Nokia brand? No. But it does allow the Nokia device interfaces, signage, advertising and websites to be slightly refreshed. Whilst admittedly not an entirely new appearance, it’s a step in the right direction. And Nokia needs a few of those these days.
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It looks like design heads at Palm and Nokia have more or less swapped roles, as All Things D reports that Nokia’s ex-MeeGo head Ari Jaaksi has just been hired by Palm — a month after Nokia grabbed Palm’s Peter Skillman to head up user experience and services for MeeGo. Fate? Coincidence? As long as both struggling smartphone companies bring us better devices and improved operating systems as a result, we’re not all that concerned. The rumor also suggests a Samsung VP and several HP executives will be boosting Palm’s team as well.
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