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Nokia is innovating way faster than you. Pick up the pace, Microsoft!

by Adam Z. Lein on

Nokia has been releasing new Windows Phones just about every month these days and they’ve been coming in all sorts of price ranges, shapes, and colors with some very innovative features and designs.  That Lumia 620 with its duo-tone translucent body just looks incredible, and the $130 Lumia 521 is probably the best deal for a high quality smartphone ever.  The Lumia 928 is a minor upgrade to the 920, but adds a great Xenon flash.  The new Lumia 925 brings a new design that features an aluminum rim and wireless charging sleeves along with the Pureview optical image stabilization and new lens technology for better sharpness. Plus Nokia’s moving ahead with new camera software that brings some very innovative, yet sometimes gimmicky, features that Android manufacturers are set to copy.  Then there’s the rumored EOS Nokia Lumia coming to AT&T that should have something like a 41 megapixel camera sensor and powerful xenon flash for amazing photos.  Some Nokia Windows Phones will also see an update that brings Nokia’s old Symbian standby screen that will always show a low-power clock along with notification icons on a black screen instead of being completely powered off.  We’ll also see a double-tap to wake feature which will reduce the need of finding that power button with your fingers.  Nokia doesn’t seem to be slowing down on the software innovation side at all.  Their HERE Maps with integrated augmented reality is very cool and free offline playlists from Nokia Music has never been better.

Overall, we’re looking at a lot of innovation coming from Nokia and that’s exactly what they said they wanted to do.  So where’s Microsoft?

Someone recently found a Lumia 920 on eBay that happened to have an unannounced version of the Windows Phone 8 operating system on it.  The big feature to be found was a notifications center that keeps a log of all of the pop-up toast notifications that you may have missed.  Most regular Windows Phone users probably don’t care about this because if there’s something they want to be notified about, they probably have the live tile on the Start screen and anything they don’t care about is turned off.  Another feature is the ability to remove apps from the task switching interface.  Sure, that’s kind of useful, but certainly not innovative or anywhere near as life-changing as something like a 42 megapixel camera would be.

Meanwhile, it’s been 8 months since Windows Phone 8 was released.  Extremely annoying bugs with the original release are still there.  The “Other Storage Problem” still has not been fixed (other than a work-around released for some Nokia devices).  If you don’t remember, Windows Phone 8 can fill the “Other” storage area with double the number of photos you take if you have automatic SkyDrive upload turned on.  Keeping photos on a storage card doesn’t help since when they’re uploaded, they’re copied to Other storage anyway.  Windows Phone 8 still doesn’t display more than 100 photos per Facebook photo album in the Photos hub either, nor does the messaging app receive Facebook messages from friends who are set to offline in Facebook chat.  8 months!  Nokia has seemingly done tons more in that time!

Back in 2011, we though Microsoft might have learned how to pick up the pace with a huge update to Windows Phone 7 called Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango). There were hundreds of new features, many of which were quite exciting and innovative at the time.  Come June 26th, we’re hoping to hear more about the next version of Windows Phone 8 that is expected to be called Windows Phone 8.1 to coincide with the Windows 8.1 upgrade also expected to be announced on June 26th.  But will it include simply a few minor catch-up features like the leaked Lumia 920 revealed, or will the next update be more on par with the hundreds of features we saw in Windows Phone 7.5 Mango?  What’s your guess?

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