By Stephen Schenck | May 14, 2013 8:26 AM
Nokia will bring the PureView 808′s revolutionary 41-megapixel camera – or at least something darn near equivalent to it – to Windows Phone. Rumors have been looking to a device codenamed the EOS to deliver such a sensor, but even if doesn’t arrive in that particular form, it will one way or another. After all, that tech was the last great hurrah for Symbian, and with Symbian now out to pasture, it’s only logical to let it continue on with Windows Phone.
A lot of advocates have been looking forward to the launch of just such a model as one of the great triumphs of Windows Phone 8, but I can’t quite pull together the same level of enthusiasm. Sure, the phone will be a hit, but even a smartphone like this still isn’t going to be enough to create mainstream interest in Windows Phone.
The weird thing is, I’ve just been talking about how important camera technology has been getting for smartphones, and it’s becoming one of the key factors that helps sway purchasing decisions… over in Android-land, that is. For Androids, the higher end of the market has started to become a bit cookie-cutter, and a significantly better camera than your competition can help put one model over the top.
Now, I’ve got no doubt that a PureView Lumia would become one of the more desirable Windows Phone models, sure. And absolutely, PureView is a big enough deal that it could bring a few converts to the platform, just as the 808 did for Symbian. The problem, as I see it, is that at the moment cameras aren’t keeping people away from Windows Phone.
And why should they? The 920 has had a great camera for months; even with a limited selection of models, it’s not like Windows Phone has been hurting for solid camera performers. With the new 925, things are only getting better.
Might there be wholly platform agnostic shoppers looking for their first smartphones, the most important feature in their minds a stellar camera? Probably, and when this PureView Lumia gets here, they could very well be won over. The problem is that Windows Phone can’t rise to dominance by only picking up new users; it needs to make converts.
That’s the big issue with a 41-megapixel Lumia; it brings something that’s very desirable, but it would still be a one-trick pony that doesn’t do anything to address the big problem with Windows Phone: developer support. To an extent the situation’s getting better, but there’s still a huge app gap between Windows Phone and other platforms.
With cameras, even a mediocre shooter still takes pictures; they may not be suitable for wall-sized prints, but they still get the job done. Ultimately, settling for a middling camera is a decision that most smartphone shoppers will be able to live with.
Missing apps, on the other hand, can very much be deal-breakers. Sometimes “close enough” will do and you can find something that more or less does what you need it to, but that won’t always be the case. Maybe your bank has a great, full-featured iOS and Android app that lets you deposit checks by taking a picture; problem is, especially with niche cases like this, it’s a roll of the dice whether or not there will also be a Windows Phone port.
I don’t mean to be too sour here; the PureView Lumia will be awesome and bring Windows Phone some much-needed attention. What it won’t do, though, is solve any of the big problems that keep people away from trying the platform in the first place. Maybe the increased level of interest it helps foster will lead to improvements in the long run, but I think we need to keep our expectations in line: this can easily be a stellar phone, but it won’t be an outright game-changer.