May 14, 2013 -- Nokia announced disappointing financial earnings last month, but May has produced quite a run of new products. In addition to its Lumia 928 for Verizon and the long-lasting Asha 501, which were introduced last week, the Finnish phone maker today introduced its latest Lumia 925 flagship phone.
The phone, which runs the latest version of Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 software, will be available from T-Mobile in the United States and from other carriers around the world. Along with the new phone, Nokia introduced a set of new camera-focused software features, which will make their way to the Lumia line of Windows Phone 8 phones.
Made with Metal
The Lumia 925 is a lot like the Verizon Lumia 928 that was announced last week: It has a big 4.5-inch AMOLED, 1280x768-resolution touchscreen, a dual-core Snapdragon processor, 1GB of RAM and an 8.7-megapixel camera. But the outsides of the phones are very different. While the 928 is made of a shiny white polycarbonate or plastic, the 925 is made entirely of metal.
Similar to the HTC One, Nokia has used a metal frame to house the antenna. But while it is made of firmer materials than the other Lumias, it is actually lighter.
The 139 gram-phone is the lightest product the company makes, though unlike the Lumia 920 and 928, this one doesn't have wireless charging built in to the back cover. Nokia will sell wireless colorful charging cases if you wish to get the wireless power capability.
While Nokia focused a lot of attention on design, it will be focusing most of its marketing on the camera. "We are really planning to market this around the imaging and camera capabilities and some new smart camera capabilities," Ifi Magid, director of Nokia's Smart Devices team, told ABC News.
A Smarter Camera
The Smart Camera software features complement the PureView 8.7-megapixel camera on the 925 but will also be available beyond just the new handset; Nokia will release the software for other Nokia Windows Phone 8 devices soon. The software includes a few photo tricks, including a feature that can capture 10 images at once of a moving subject.
The Best Shot feature will also select the best photo out of a set. Samsung's much-hyped Galaxy S4, which runs Android, recently launched with a set of similar features.
Magid says Nokia has realized the importance of the camera and even believes it now beats what Apple and others offer in terms of camera performance. "We compare the iPhone 5 to our portfolio and we believe we are better in low-light conditions, for sure," he said.
"When you see the images on a laptop, our images are crisper and sharper than what you get with an iPhone 5 images, and with this technology we have we think we are going a step further."
Nokia also added new camera apps to the phone, including Oggl from Hipstamatic, Vyclone and more, but the Windows Phone 8 platform still lacks the camera app most people are dying to use on a smartphone: Instagram.
Sticking with Windows Phone 8
The camera hardware and software are strong, but is it strong enough to stand out among the new premiere HTC One and Galaxy S4 Android phones?
Two years ago, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop bet the company's smartphone business not on Google's Android operating system, but Microsoft's Windows Phone software. While Nokia's Lumia line of Windows Phone devices has seen growth and saw record sales last quarter, it still hasn't been enough to rival the powerful competition from Apple and Samsung.
Still, Nokia believes sticking with Microsoft's operating system has been the right decision. "Windows Phone is absolutely the right strategy for us," Magid said.
"The differentiation -- getting our key imaging or Nokia Music and Maps -- all of that differentiation, we wouldn't be able to achieve that on Android platform."