Nokia Takes on the New iPhones

Nokia Takes on the New iPhones

Nokia: The iPhone 5C is a rip-off and the 5S is behind the times

In the wake of yesterday's announcement of Apple's me-too iPhone 5C, Nokia has come out swinging. Which makes sense: The iPhone 5C is clearly a rip-off of the design of the Nokia Lumia 520, 521 and 620. And the iPhone 5S, Nokia says, still falls short.

Nokia highlights the following ways in which Apple just lags behind.

Polycarbonate. Apple's "unapologetically plastic" iPhone 5C uses a "polycarbonate exterior to the iPhone 5C, something Nokia has featured in the design of its Lumia devices for the past two years." A one-time trendsetter with the first iPhone, Apple is now copying others' designs—"Clearly, imitation is the best form of flattery," as Nokia notes—while ignoring useful technologies that users need, like Qi wireless charging and, to a lesser degree, NFC.

Screen resolution. The small 4-inch screen on Apple's flagship iPhone 5S offers a resolution of just 1136 x 640. Nokia's flagship, the Lumia 1020, provides a sharper, better and bigger 4.5-inch PureMotion HD+ display of 1280 x 768.

Camera. While tech bloggers have conveniently forgotten that Nokia owns this category, Apple is crowing about a camera that is yesterday's new. It includes optical image stabilization—"a longtime feature on Nokia Lumia flagship smartphones," as Nokia notes—and the camera and video specs on the new iPhone 5S continue to lag. "To be specific, the Nokia Lumia 1020 features the best camera technology ever seen in a smartphone including a 41 megapixel sensor, Nokia's innovative PureView technology and six optical lenses by the renowned imaging experts at ZEISS, all coming together to produce the sharpest images of any digital camera on the market and amazing photos, even in low light." It's not game over. There's no game. Apple is not competing.

Value. Given Apple's steadily falling market share and the importance of low-end devices, many had hoped and expected that Apple would price its low-cost offering, the iPhone 5C, in the $300 range. Nope: It starts at an astonishingly high $550 without a contract. Nokia, meanwhile, has two incredible sub-$150 offerings, the $99 Lumia 520 and the $149 Lumia 521. Further troubling is that most news reports about the iPhone 5C tout its "low price" of $99, which is its two-year contract price only. And "Nokia is bringing the latest smartphone innovation to consumers at a price they can afford - the Lumia 925, available from AT&T for just $99 with a contract, or just $30 down on T-Mobile."

I like what Nokia is doing, messaging-wise. But this doesn't go far enough.

The iPhone 5C is outright design theft, minus the utility of being able to remove the color back and replace it with either a different color back or, in some cases, a different color back that also adds additional capabilities like wireless charging; these are features offered by various Lumia handsets.

I've seen the usual Apple toadies online claiming that Apple's previous release of color iPods somehow means that the iPhone 5C is a natural transition. It's not. Those designs—like the iPod nano—were metal, not polycarbonate. More to the point, they weren't so clearly Lumia ripoffs. For example:

(Courtesy of Morten Nikolaisen)

Sorry, but this one is clear cut. iPhone 5C: "Designed by Nokia in Finland".

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