Nokia is expanding its lineup of Windows Phone 8 smartphones. On Wednesday, it announced the Lumia 620, the third and least-expensive device from the Finnish company to use that platform.
The 620 comes in a range of colored shells, utilizing a dual-shot color technique that offers a variety of colors and textures. The dual-shot process layers colored, transparent or translucent polycarbonate onto the base layer, resulting in secondary color blends.
In addition to the Windows Phone 8 capabilities and interface, and the new color schemes, the company is promoting several differentiators -- its lenses, Maps, Music and, for e-commerce, support for the Near Field Communication (NFC) standard. In addition, the new model uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus processor running at 1GHz, which the company said makes possible multi-tasking, high-definition video streaming and fast sharing of content.
The 620 features an exclusive camera lens, as does the previous Lumia 920 and 820 models. The five-megapixel main camera on the rear and the VGA front-facing camera offer the ability to add simple animations to still photos, create a single, enhanced shot from multiple images, and remove objects from a photo.
Nokia has also been heavily emphasizing its extensive Maps app, data and related capabilities. Those related capabilities include, in the 620, the Nokia City Lens, which will overlay relevant data on buildings seen through the viewfinder.
The 620 is priced at $249, the least expensive of the three Nokia Windows phones and one of the least-expensive Windows Phone 8 handsets on the market. It will be available in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Canada, but, at the moment, there are no announced plans to offer it in the U.S.
Avi Greengart, an analyst with industry research firm Current Analysis, said that was apparently because "U.S. carriers weren't interested." He added the phone can be considered a value buy, because of its dual-core processor, Wi-Fi, five-megapixel camera, NFC and other capabilities, when compared with, say, a $700 iPhone.
He added that the 620 might best be described as a "mid-tier" product, but that it remains to be seen how competitive phones are priced when the 620 hits the market sometime in the first quarter. Greengart also noted that the screen is "only" 3.8 inches, which he described as "a nice size for people with hand-sized hands."
The Lumia line offers Nokia's, and Microsoft's, flagship products for the Windows Phone 8 platform. In general, Greengart said, the product line "shows that Nokia is very intent on improving volumes rather than margins," in that the phones are "priced to sell, with a nice set of features."
He noted that, with Windows Phone 8 evolving into a mature operating system, the key question is whether Nokia can generate volume sales by getting people to say "that's a great value."