By Stephen Schenck | July 11, 2013 11:10 AM
The moment has arrived. The idea of a Windows Phone 8 handset that takes advantage of the fantastic camera hardware Nokia introduced with the 808 PureView has finally become a reality, capping off months of rumors, leaks, and teases; in New York City this morning, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop announced the Lumia 1020.
As is only appropriate, Elop got things started by recounting the role Nokia’s played in smartphone camera advancements over the years. While it’s come a long way, that story is far from over, and the CEO introduced the era of the 1020 as the “next chapter in smartphone photography.”
Just as we saw in the leaks so far, the 1020 will be available in yellow, white, and black. Like on the 808, the 41-megapixel sensor on the 1020 will let you choose between maximum resolutions depending on the desired aspect ratio; for 4:3, you can go up to 38 megapixels, or 34 megapixels with 16:9 widescreen. While the camera’s storing one of those high-res shots, it can simultaneously generate a oversampled five-megapixel version, more conducive to sharing online.
Optical image stabilization is indeed present, and Elop describes the 1020′s system as an advancement over previous designs, with a new ball bearing mounting for increased performance. As we’ve seen in leak after leak, the phone uses a real xenon flash.
The 1020′s optics package consists of six Carl Zeiss lenses, which Nokia claims to be the most ever for a smartphone’s camera.
Camera functionality may be the 1020′s claim to fame, but Nokia didn’t skimp in other areas; like other Lumias before it, the 1020 will support extended range audio recording, capturing both quiet and loud sources alike.
Of course, there’s a software side to all of this, as well, and Elop showed off the extensive manual camera controls that will be possible through the 1020′s camera app. Beyond that, Nokia’s releasing a new SDK to let developers take advantage of the 1020′s 41-megapixel sensor in their own apps. One of those apps is going to be a new Hipstamatic port, arriving as a Lumia 1020 exclusive.
As rumored, the 1020 is getting a camera grip accessory, and we finally get our first good look at the add-on, which definitely appear to have some more bulk to it than leaks suggested. That’s a good thing, and this is looking a whole lot more useful than it once did. The grip gives the phone a tripod mount, augments its battery life, and offers a large shutter button.
We finally get some confirmed specs, like the presence of a 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 SoC and that WP8 first of 2GB of RAM. The 1020 has a 4.5-inch 720p display, 2000mAh battery, and 32GB flash storage. Even with that camera bump, the 1020 will measure just 10.4 millimeters thick.
Unfortunately, Nokia is repeating history and only making the Lumia 1020 available in the US on a single carrier: AT&T will be the exclusive home to the 1020 for the foreseeable future.
It’s also not going to be a very affordable phone. AT&T intends to sell the Lumia 1020 for nearly $300 on-contract, a premium price for any smartphone, and wholly unheard of when it comes to Windows Phone devices. Sales begin in two weeks, on July 26. If you want to grab that camera grip, as well, the accessory will run you an extra $80.
International sales will also begin sometime this quarter, with China, Europe, and Latin America all named as markets that will see the 1020.