So there have been several posts written looking at the Nokia and HTC Windows phone 8 devices and comparing them. Most of these posts put the 8x vs the Lumia 920 and the 8s vs the Lumia 820. Understandable and proper that they do as these devices are aimed at the same sorts of customers.
However, these choices may not reflect the real world decisions that customers have to make. Obviously, any carrier might not carry both or the to tier, out both of the mid tier devices. In fact, for much of the world, there will be many carriers that in particular don’t have the Lumia 920.
Nokia had been talking about carrier exclusives and we saw this in the US with AT&T getting the 900. Things like this can be gotten around in many cases by buying unlocked versions of the device, and with Symbian, when pretty much every device in the last 2 years had pentaband HSPA+ you knew you could order it and it would work. However, it sounds like Nokia want to increasingly have exclusive carriers for their high end devices and it sound like the 920 will be an exclusive for AT&T, and for everything everywhere in the UK.IN addition, Windows Phone devices will not have pentaband HSPA+ so if your operator has an unsupported frequency, you will be out of luck.
HTC on the other hand are getting their phones to as many carriers add possible. This means that the choice in windows phone might be Lumia 820 vs the 8x. A total mismatch, and one that Nokia is way less likely to win. So, for example, while AT&T customers can get the 920, T-Mobile and Verizon users will be looking at their options – Lumia 820, HTC 8X and 8S (and perhaps Samsung Ativ S).
|spec||Nokia Lumia 820||HTC 8X||HTC 8S||Samsung Ativ S|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Dual Core 1.5Ghz Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Dual Core 1.5Ghz Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Dual Core 1.0Ghz Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Dual Core 1.5Ghz Processor|
|RAM||1GB RAM||1GB RAM||512MB RAM||1GB RAM|
|Memory||8GB (expandable)||16GB (not expandable?)||4GB (expandable)||16 / 32GB (expandable)|
|Screen Tech||4.3″ AMOLED||4.3″ Super LCD 2 screen||4.0″ Super LCD screen||4.8″ Super AMOLED HD|
|Screen Resolution||800 x 480 resolution||1280 x 720 resolution||800 x 480 resolution||1280 x 720 resolution|
|Camera||8MP auto-focus camera with Dual LED flash||8MP auto-focus camera with LED flash||5MP auto-focus camera with LED flash||8MP auto-focus camera with LED flash|
|Video||1080p Video capture||1080p Video capture with stereo sound||720p Video capture with stereo sound||1080p Video capture|
|Front Facing Camera||0.3 MP||2.1MP||-||1.9MP|
|Battery||1650 mAh||1800mAh battery (not removable)||1700mAh battery (not removable)||2300 mAh|
|Internet / Bluetooth / NFC||WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.1 and NFC (optional, with some back covers)||WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 and NFC||WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1||WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 and NFC|
|Super Sensitive Touch (for use with gloves)||Integrated Beats Audio with extra amplifiers for 3.5mm jack and loudspeaker||Integrated Beats Audio||-|
|Swappable back covers||-||-||-|
|Wirelesss Charging (via cover)||-||-||-|
Ultimately, for the 820 to stay competitive in cases where the 920 is exclusive to someone else, Nokia needs to make sure their exclusive apps stay compelling, and the 820 is priced low. If you are in a place where the phone isn’t carrier discounted then this situation may not come up, but the UK where contracts might differ in price by 10GBP/month, or the US where the 820 might be $50-$100 or and the 8X $150-$200, buying the total higher end device might be tempting.
Personally, I have a big problem with exclusive deals, which are ultimately bad for the consumer, and can’t help sales that much, though it might help new contracts for the carrier. It seems that Samsung and HTC, and even Apple have managed to move away from that way of working. Hopefully Nokia will figure out how to move away from the exclusivity model, which they honestly only needed to get some ground back in the US anyway. Even that surprised me, not least with the outside appearance that T-Mobile had been the more friendly company for Nokia and have given huge support to Windows Phone. But obviously AT&T have the money to get demand exclusivity for the top devices, at least from a Nokia who are still struggling to get a secure market share in the US.