We're all pulling for Windows Phone. Have been for a while. Thing is, it's just not there yet. There's no single drop-dead-amazing god-phone on the platform. Yet. Hopefully, Nokia's going to be pulling back the curtain on just that next week at Nokia World. Here's what we (think we) know so far.
The cornerstone of Nokia's lineup for this year is expected to be the Sea Ray, or the Nokia 800, depending on which rumor you're listening to (they're the same phone). It's reportedly got a 3.7-inch Super AMOLED screen, a 1.4GHz processor, and could be released a few weeks after its expected announcement next week. Early rumors say November 15th.
On top of the Sea Ray, a new handset called the "Saber" just popped onto the Finnish radar, and apparently it's got a 1.4 GHz processor, 3.5-inch WVGA screen, and 1 GB of RAM. And that's about all we know for now.
There are also rumors about a more giant-sized beast phone coming to AT&T next year code-named the Nokia Ace. It'll be the first LTE phone on Windows Phone, according to the rumors, and also support HSPA+. Ummm. Well, theoretically, that's possible, I guess, but between two 4ishG radios and battery-unfriendly Mango, I'm pretty sure the phone would be dead before it finished powering on. It's probably just some confusion about what manner of 4G the phone really is, since Four Gees doesn't really mean much these days.
Whatever's announced, though, it almost definitely won't have LTE or a dual-core processor. Windows Phone division boss Andy Lees told All Things D that Microsoft is going to wait until LTE isn't such a battery hog to adopt it into WP phones, and that they're "not against" dual-core chips. That was rolled into "LTE and Dual Core chips coming to Windows Phone in the Future!" but the more realistic interpretation is probably "definitely not this year."
Though for what it's worth, even though the leaked specs for these phones come in well below the top-of-the-line Android handsets that have already been announced, Andy Lees told AsiaD that Nokia will announce a phone with "differentiating hardware and software" next week, whatever that means.
It's been a long time since Nokia's made a CDMA phone, so you might be nervous that whatever box of wonderful Nokia's opening in Europe next week won't find its way to Verizon and Sprint. But there's reason to keep the faith: Back in March, Nokia told Forbes that it wouldn't be making CDMA handsets for its waning Symbian platform. Rather, it would wait for Windows Phone. We're not sure if this first wave of WP phones will be going CDMA, but if they don't, you can rest assured that Verizon and Sprint will be in the mix by next year's wave.
The important thing is that Nokia—CDMA hiccups aside—is carrier neutral, which means hopefully just about everyone will have a chance to get their mitts on the new Windows Phone hotness. That is, if it's really that hot after all; we'll know soon enough. There's a lot riding on Sea Ray and its cousins. And while I'm sure Microsoft and Nokia will be hurting if they flop, the people with the most at stake are the ones who want their non-iOS non-Android dreams to find a happy, well-built home.