Microsoft

Lumia: Nokia's new dawn - or just the sun rising over Microsoft?

Nokia has more to do to prove it can stand out in the Windows Phone crowd...

Stephen Elop announcing the Lumia 800 at Nokia World

Stephen Elop announcing the Nokia Lumia 800 at Nokia WorldPhoto: Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

...do more in future to make sure it stands out. "Today Nokia proved it can execute," tweeted Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi. "Now it needs to keep the work up and deliver a more differentiated experience with the next version of the OS."

None of these apps are "standout features" on their own, added Ovum's Nick Dillon in a blog post.

By far the biggest differentiator is the Lumia 800's iPod-Nano-esque hardware, albeit identical in looks to Nokia's N9 MeeGo handset.

Independent analyst Ian Fogg described the Lumia 800 as a "strongly differentiated industrial design" and "the most outstanding example of phone industrial design to arrive in 2011, bar none, Apple included".

But Fogg also reckons Nokia hasn't yet proved it can differentiate software-wise, under the Windows Phone umbrella, noting in a blog post: "These initial products have only light Nokia-specific adjustments."

Does the Lumia 800 illuminate a bright future for Nokia under Windows Phone? It's too soon to say.

Nokia has previously recognised the risk of its brand identity being eroded by Windows Phone - and that risk remains. Beneath the flashy exterior, the Lumia is still a Windows Phone, almost exactly like any other Windows Phone - none of which have been selling very well.

Lee Williams, the former executive director of the (former) Symbian Foundation, summed up his thoughts on the Nokia Lumia in a tweet: "Lumia is Nokia's new sub brand," he wrote. "Marginalising their 2nd most valuable property."

He also pointed out that Lumia is slang for 'prostitute' in Spanish - something Elop and co did not flag up in their presentations. Lumia, Elop insisted, means 'light' - and 'new hope' for Nokia.

As a metaphor, prostitution has especially uncomfortable connotations for Nokia. By abandoning its own OS efforts in favour of Microsoft's, the Once Mighty Finn risks becoming the Minority Finn: a mere vessel serving Microsoft's ends at the expense of its own, and working itself into a position where it lacks the autonomy to control its own destiny.

So while Nokia's long-term prospects under the Windows Phone umbrella remain uncertain - it's still entirely possible to envisage a Microsoft buyout in the Finn's future.

Editor's Picks