Why so little love for the Lumia?

September 5th has come and gone. We’ve seen the announcement of Nokia’s Lumia 820 and 920, how PureView technology doesn’t quite mean what we thought it would mean, and yet there’s a hollow feeling that seems to be pretty common amongst tech writers. With pretty freaking rad devices being announced, why was there so little love for the new Lumias?

Even bestowed with this bit of beauty, bloggers balked. via nokia.com

The problem may have been our expectations. We’ve been trained by Apple’s fantastic keynotes to have a certain level of excitement going into an event, and to watch for the following things:

1)      Specific user-facing features.

2)      New software demos.

3)      New hardware announcements.

4)      Launch dates.

5)      “Oh, and just one more thing.”

The problem with the Nokia/Microsoft event, accepting that we all have these expectations at some level, was twofold.

One, it lacked anything substantive from Microsoft. We saw hardly anything of the new Windows Phone 8 OS. We’ve seen little of it beyond the developer preview they had ages ago. That is where the big sell is and should be for this generation. We need to see what the software can do.

And two, Nokia failed to hit many of the marks that we expect in the post-iPhone age. Features that were expected – LTE, NFC, PureView – were announced, but there were few surprises (wireless charging is fun, but not a game-changer, and the gorgeous new display has competition from the iPhone and HTC’s One line). There was almost nothing announced software-wise beyond Nokia’s apps. We got new hardware, but there were no launch dates beyond “Q4 2012.” And there was no real punchy endnote.

It’s not that the Lumias 820 and 920 are going to be bad devices – in fact, I’m already starting to conceive a budget for a new phone in the new year, and it’s probably going to be the Lumia 920 (with all the colourful polycarbonate wireless charging backs I can carry from the store, a charging pad, and those rad Nokia/JBL NFC/BlueTooth/wireless charging speakers). It’s that we still don’t know enough about themto get properly excited. We don’t know when we can hold them, or exactly what they’ll do when they’re in our hands.

This is becoming something of a trend with Microsoft and their partners. Tease us and leave us. Give us just the barest taste of something awesome and then hold out on us. Vanish for months and then get us riled up again, just to slip away when we can’t wait any longer, asking us to wait just a little while longer. It happened the first time Nokia announced the Lumia line, and it happened not too long ago with Surface.

It’s time that a lesson was learned at Redmond. That hard-to-get ploy might work occasionally in dating, but a successful relationship is one in which you make a concerted effort to deliver what you promise on and to keep delivering, day in, day out, and to keep upping the ante.

Eventually, I worry that it might not be enough to love Windows Phone. The day-to-day relationship has to work too. And right now I’m banking way too much on future potential, despite my fanboyism.

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