Nokia 808 PureView: Answering The Critics

My column yesterday regarding the 808 PureView generated a lot of critical comment, some of it valid. So here's my answers to those critics. It was pretty clear to anyone reading my column yesterday that I was, on the whole, not terribly impressed with the 808 PureView, at least from an announcement point of view. That wasn't enough for some, who bayed for my blood (more or less). But there were a few reasonable (and not so reasonable) points that came up in the discussion underneath the article, and I'd like to address those concerns; I originally started to do so in the discussion, but figure it's probably better to address them all in one easy to read space. So (deep breath)… here goes.

  • 'Shut Your Pie Hole' or 'Vile' or 'Who Pissed In Your Cornflakes?' or 'Idiot' or 'Nob'
  • Manners will get you everywhere, you know. But more seriously, I'm much more likely to take criticism -- and I welcome it -- if you've got a point to make. Mudslinging is fun in the second you sling mud, but it doesn't actually progress the discussion any -- you just end up dirty.

  • 'You're a Nokia Hater'
  • Equally, for the record, I'm not a Nokia hater. I've said for many years that Nokia's been making excellent hardware -- read my review of the N9 from last year if you think otherwise -- but not always married to the best operating system choices. I do think they've turned a corner (albeit one that they were somewhat forced into by market conditions) with the shift to Windows Phone 7.

  • 'What about the camera sensor size, rather than just the MP count?'
  • This one I will take on board, because I did get it wrong. Yes, I'm happy enough to admit it when I make mistakes.

    The improvement in the sensor size is a significant technology leap forward, given the 1/1.2″ sensor is seriously sexy stuff. I do wish, however, that Nokia had chosen to make that the centrepiece of its marketing efforts, because that's really where we'll see significant imaging changes in new smartphone models. It really isn't just about a megapixel number, but that's the broad approach Nokia's taken -- and I've little doubt that's what'll be front and centre of the marketing materials.

    Note, I said new smartphone models -- not the 808 PureView itself. Symbian's not a smartphone platform with a vital heartbeat -- and even Stephen Elop knows that. That makes the 808 PureView much more of a marketing exercise -- and a marketing exercise built around that 41MP number -- than a range that'll grow in and of itself. I'd love to see that kind of camera technology in the Lumia range, because it'd be a genuine game changer and point of difference.

  • 'Quantum Leap' does mean a big step forward!'
  • No, no, it doesn't. Yes, I do know that it's commonly taken that way, but things on a quantum scale are truly tiny. Call it a pet peeve of mine; I hate the use of the term because it's both cheap and wrong, and I'll call it out wherever I see it. Just one of my quirks, I suppose.

  • 'This isn't much of a review…'
  • No, it's not, and it was never framed as such. My apologies for those who read it as such, but if you read the introductory paragraph -- 'Nokia’s 808 PureView phone grabbed headlines with its 41MP sensor' and indeed the conclusion -- 'If the objective was to grab headlines, it’s certainly done that.' you'll (hopefully) see what I was getting at.

    Nokia's admitted that the decision to release the 808 PureView was so it could be a 'disruptive technology' -- but there's a big difference between a disruptive technology and a phone that people should buy. In one sense, it's great that the 808 PureView will have an excellent camera (for a smartphone) -- because if it didn't, almost everybody would be looking at Nokia's MWC 2012 lineup and wondering what happened, especially as (without PureView) it would have launched a fairly vanilla Symbian handset for some reason...