Nokia Lumia 1020 Smartphone Review

Software and User Experience

When it comes to software, there isn't much new versus what we covered last November on the Lumia 920. Unlike Android, Microsoft keeps the Windows Phone build uniform across all devices and all partners. In other words, the software experience we saw on the Lumia 928, 920 and 925 is the same here (save for the Camera software).

Windows Phone 8 enables users to easily re-size tiles (though there's no option to file apps in user-defined folders), and you'll also get a couple of unique apps here. ESPN Hub, Wallet, myAT&T, YPMobile, and a host of HERE-based mapping products (City Lens, Drive+ Beta, Maps and Transit).

By and large, it's the WP8 users have come to know and respect. The issue, of course, is the same with every other Windows Phone review we've done: apps. There's simply a dearth of flagship apps on the Windows Phone platform, and many of the ports that are available aren't as polished and not updated as frequently as their iOS and Android counterparts.

Perhaps the most ironic issue in all of this is that Nokia has produced a phone with the market's most impressive camera, and the Windows Phone platform it relies upon doesn't have access to the world's most popular photo sharing app: Instagram.

Nokia and Microsoft both have put a huge amount of effort (and time, and money) into convincing app builders to produce their wares for Windows Phone, and while we're seeing progress, it's still far from being in the same category as iOS / Android. For instance, there's Evernote, ESPN, Skype, Kayak, Facebook, Twitter, etc., but there's no Instagram, np Google Maps, Gmail, Google Drive, or support for up-and-coming products like the Pebble smartwatch. And it extends beyond that. There's no SignEasy (an app that easily lets you initial documents and send back as a PDF), and a variety of financial institutions have shown no plans to bring their banking apps to WP8. Yes, Office is here, but Microsoft not only has plans to bring Office elsewhere, but Android and iOS both have plenty of software suites that perform just as well and are compatible with Office documents.

Nokia has recently confessed that the biggest gripe put forth by consumers is the lack of a fully-fleshed app market on Windows Phone, and has gone so far as to say that it's not a matter of "if" these apps will arrive, but "when." Of course, that doesn't help those who need to make a smartphone decision now. Will the Lumia 1020's hardware still be strong by the time the Windows Phone app store is? Probably not at the pace the market is advancing lately.

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