In an event conducted with the same kind of fanfare made popular by its Cupertino competitor, Nokia (NOK) and Microsoft (MSFT) held a joint media event in New York City that featured remarks from Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, as well as a surprise appearance by Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO, to debut the latest iteration of Nokia's Windows phone.
Shares of the mobile handset-maker plunged after the launch event kicked off and details of the Lumia 920 were made public. Nokia, which is the world's second-largest wireless phone maker behind Samsung, is under pressure to remain relevant in the ever-growing smartphone market, dominated by devices running on Apple (AAPL) and Google's (GOOG) Android platforms.
The event, held in a loft event space on Manhattan’s west side, debuted the flagship Windows Phone 8 device, Microsoft’s latest mobile operating system. Product demos suffered due to audio and visual difficulties that plagued the presentation. Nokia executives had a difficult time showing off certain features, including a glitch that delayed the device's ability to play music wirelessly to a speaker and demo a photo-editing application.
Elop kicked off the event touting the strides made by the Nokia Lumia 900, particularly its adoption in China. He stressed Nokia's evolution into a more limber, customer-focused company, before handing it over to Nokia executive vice president Jo Harlow to go over the phone's primary features.
Harlow kicked off the demo touting the Lumia 920's smartphone camera, which uses the latest PureView camera innovation. The camera reportedly captures five times more light than competitor smartphones and introduces optical image stability for brighter images and video when using the camera inside or at night.
Harlow also highlighted the Nokia City Lens, an augmented reality feature that allows users to point the Lumia camera at a city street and see information overlayed about restaurants, shops, and hotels onto buildings. Nokia also announced partnerships with Virgin Mobile stores and locations of the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf that enable users to take advantage of the Lumia phone's wireless charging capabilities when in those stores.
Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Microsoft, also took to the stage to demo the Windows Phone 8 platform, and show off features of the operating system, and the event closed with brief remarks by Ballmer, who was the event's surprise guest.
It remains to be seen whether or not this could be the device to upend Apple's dominance in the smartphone market. Nokia did not announce any agreements with wireless carriers or a price point for the device.