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Nokia’s iPhone moment: Lumia 800 design video

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Nokia is sharing a video on the design process for its Lumia 800 Windows Phone, and after watching it, I’m struck by the similarities to prior Apple iPhone (s aapl) videos that I’ve seen. The eight-minute clip speaks to the use of metal and precision milling, the way the curved glass enhances the sliding Metro interface of Windows Phone (s msft) and the general feel of the product in hand.

See for yourself, especially if you’ve ever watched the Apple videos that discuss the iPhone design choices:

Even more interesting is the fact that the Lumia 800 is nearly identical to the Nokia (s nok) N9, a MeeGo handset that debuted some months ago. In an interview earlier this week, I asked Nokia CEO Stephen Elop about the N9, since it’s running the MeeGo software that Nokia has abandoned. Elop told me that Nokia learned much by building the N9, and the design features carry over to the Windows Phone version.

The video shared on Thursday indicates otherwise, although few consumers know about the N9. Most will see the movie, and the Lumia 800, as a groundbreaking design for Nokia’s newest Windows Phone handset. I have both an N9 and a Lumia 800 in hand, and the differences are barely noticeable. While the Lumia 800 is an excellent piece of hardware — perhaps the nicest ever to come from Nokia — it doesn’t appear to be designed solely for integration with Windows Phone.

Unless, of course, the N9, which first arrived back in June, was a prototype design for the Windows Phone platform, something Nokia has never said. Regardless, if I close my eyes when watching the video and ignore the references to Nokia and Microsoft, I’d swear I was listening to a description about iPhone design. It’s clever of Nokia to show off the handset integration between its hardware and Microsoft’s software, almost as if the two teams were from the same company and providing complete control over the entire smartphone experience. Just like Apple does.

12 Responses to “Nokia’s iPhone moment: Lumia 800 design video”

  1. John Smith

    There are a few similarites but also a lot of similariteis to Windows 7 and actually it’s a very nice phone. Hope it comes down in price soon.

  2. Hey Kevin, under the shadow of an “Icon” Nokia moves to Tiles and Hubs and nice looking design. Thank you for writing about WP7 in general. It seems to me WP7 is like an underground band in the underground music seen, largely unknown, but at the same time a diamond in the ruff to those that do know. and loved for being loved because its cool and so many people walking around as though not thinking, but rather following the mainstream crowd of blind leading blind. Who would thought, Apple goes to grandma and MS becomes counter culture underdog. Albeit through way of MS’s phase of tech enemy no.1 due to its aggressive 90’s. Ironically Google is now the successive aggressive giant of now!, Apple has mainstream mind share, who doesn’t know about Iphone? My grandma does, literally. But mention windows phone7 to just about anyone, and you get a,”What”? And most don’t know that they don’t know, and throw out a parrot buzz word, “Apps”, or other none relevant spec. The reality is WP7 is an easy, fast, integrated beauty. Whats lacking is open minds who would try something other than the mainstream trendy incumbents Android or IOS.

  3. Shaun Murray

    Something is a bit smelly. Nokia’s head of design was in a video showing off the N9 on June 20th –

    Stefan says they started on the Lumia in April. So if the N9 is a mid-development Lumia prototype design, they did that in 2-3 months?

    Secondly, the Swipe UI and reduced bezel on the N9 seems to fit the smooth swipe-from-the-edge design better than Windows Phone. Note also that the N9 UI doesn’t work well on the N950.

    • saidimu, I’m not criticizing the fact that Nokia is sharing a video on how they designed the phone. I’m pointing out two thins. One: the look and feel of it is very much like the Apple videos. Two: if the Lumia 800 was custom designed to integrate with Windows Phone how could the the Nokia N9 (same hardware with a few small tweaks – no front facing camera / dedicated shutter button) exist in its current form prior to the Lumia 800?

      • Vikram Dhani

        Kevin it is the same way apple claims things that have done before as if they are being done for the first time by apple only, one of the most recent example being the front facing camera on a phone :). I am sorry but you a journalist should not be comparing everything with apple because apple or nokia or htc are not the only companies and not everything has to be compared. learn to respect and appreciate good product regardless of who makes it

        • Vikram, I do respect and appreciate good products regardless of who makes them. That’s why I personally buy and use products from various hardware makers on different software platforms and I recommended products from a multitude of manufacturers — if they’re worth recommending IMO.

          Over the past two years, my purchases have included those from HTC, Samsung, and Apple among others running Android, Windows Phone and iOS. If you think I’m unfairly calling out Nokia because I only use Apple products, you’re sadly mistaken. ;)

          Perhaps I didn’t make my points clear in the post. First and foremost, there is an inconsistent message coming from Nokia. The video alludes that the Lumia 800 design was built solely for Windows Phone. Yet the nearly identical design first appeared in June with the N9. Secondly, while it’s not uncommon for handset makers to discuss design; Nokia doesn’t often do so. And this time that they did uses several key phrases that I’ve heard / seen before in Apple videos. I could care less who built a feature first and who copied it to be honest: if it’s a good feature, you and I, as consumers win. It’s just interesting to see the similarities between this video from Nokia and prior Apple videos. Hope that helps explain.