The Lumia 1020 isn’t “cool” enough for me

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The Nokia Lumia 1020 is the most advanced camera phone ever to see the light of day. It’s a stunning upgrade to the Lumia 920 and a fitting sequel to the 808 PureView, one whose potential has been met with fairly universal praise from the Pocketnow team, and from most others in the blogosphere. When it launches on Friday, I’ll be in line at the AT&T store to claim my very own unit, just as I was for its predecessor.

But, as you may recall from the video documenting my launch day Lumia 920 purchase, I was put off back then by a few oversights on AT&T’s part – and also by some lapses of attention due entirely to my own shortsightedness. The thing that burned my brownies the most: the 920’s color selection. While the full portfolio included black, white, yellow, red, gray, and cyan, only a handful of those were available at retail – and that didn’t include cyan. Since the distinctive cyan was the most eye-grabbing of the colors Nokia had chosen for its press shots of the N9, Lumia 800, Lumia 900, and Lumia 920, I found it ludicrous that AT&T would limit the availability of that color to online sales – but that was the harsh reality, and I had to live with it.

So I bought a white 920, and as I mentioned in a recent episode of the Pocketnow Weekly podcast, I’ve been slightly miffed about it ever since. Not enough to stop using it, of course … but I can’t deny that every time I pick it up, part of me wishes it was another color.

Your grades will never be good enough.

Your grades will never be good enough to earn my praise, redheaded stepchild.

But where my wrongly-colored 920 is the result of my own impatience and ignorance, my future wrongly-colored Lumia 1020 is the result of a conscious decision on Nokia’s part to reduce their color selection. On any other smartphone, this wouldn’t be as big a deal – but for the most advanced cameraphone in mobile history, from the most colorful manufacturer of the modern age, it’s shocking.

There are certainly good reasons for this. Nokia touches on one of them on its own in-house Nokia Conversations blog, hinting that the color spreads of years previous might’ve been overkill:

“We wanted to keep it as a focused selection of colours. It’s an approach that will appeal to camera enthusiasts who are, perhaps, used to a black, but open to a rich colour like yellow,” says Jaana Beidler from Nokia Design. 

The yellow will have a youthful appeal for younger people who are interested in cutting edge technologies, and who want an amazing camera to document every aspect of their lives.

“For them, the yellow is a little more energetic and expressive; it’s a unique Nokia character,” says Jaana.

That makes a solid case for why the yellow version made the cut, but doesn’t explain the lack of the iconic cyan. Now, it could be that Nokia wanted to simplify the construction of this incredibly complex smartphone as much as possible; at $299 on contract, it’ll already be one of the priciest devices on the U.S. market when it launches, and it seems likely Nokia was looking for ways to cut corners while still maintaining a very high build quality. Also, there’s nothing saying that a cyan version of the 1020 can’t land a few months down the road, perhaps as one of those carrier exclusives Nokia likes so much.

This rad bit of speculative awesome comes via

This rad bit of speculative awesome comes via pandaapp

But that’s not exactly great news for those of us planning to be in line on launch day. Taylor Martin may be fine with the old reliable matte black, but that ain’t my style. And I’ve already spent eight months with a white Lumia, which, along with most other white phones, isn’t exactly flipping my pancake like it used to. So come Friday, I’m gonna be stuck dropping six or seven hundos on a yellow phone. And, though it puts me in mind of my Nextel days, I don’t really want a yellow phone. (Yes, commenters, this is your cue to drop a #firstworldproblems down below. Fresh joke, BTW.)

Would I be complaining about this if the 1020 was a Samsung or Apple device? No. Because those companies have trained me to expect either a limited number of colors outright, or a gradually broadening selection of muted color variations over time. It’s Nokia that exploded onto the scene with bold colors early in the Lumia story, a move that inspired other manufacturers to partake in the sincerest form of flattery. It’s Nokia that made smartphone colors fresh and fun again, and so it’s Nokia that we expect to continue the trend. For now, though, the fun is a lot more muted unless you like yellow. And for those of us who prefer our mobile technology in cool colors, that’s a pretty big bucket of water thrown atop a formerly-roaring fire of excitement.

All that aside, though, I’m still gonna buy one – and I know I’m not alone. Maybe that’s all the validation Nokia’s decision needs.

Title image source: pandaapp

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About The Author
Michael Fisher
Michael Fisher has followed the world of mobile technology for over ten years as hobbyist, retailer, and reviewer. A lengthy stint as a Sprint Nextel employee and a long-time devotion to webOS have cemented his love for the underdog platforms of the world. In addition to serving as Pocketnow's Reviews Editor, Michael is a stage, screen, and voice actor, as well as co-founder of a profitable YouTube-based business. He lives in Boston, MA.Read more about Michael Fisher!