Nokia City Lens
What impressed me the most about the Lumia is the Nokia City Lens feature. It’s an augmented reality GPS enabled app that shows you relevant local data such as food, shopping, points of interest, etc. As you turn the camera, the data points change with your perspective. Touching on a data point shows you relevant data about it such as directions, phone number, and reviews. This is a distinguishing feature that makes the Nokia phones stand out from the rest. At this point, it’s a cool feature you can show off to your friends. Time will tell if this becomes a practical application. The technology has huge potential if implemented properly.
Nokia Drive+ Beta is a GPS app for turn-by-turn directions which does not require a wireless connection. Upon setup, the user has the option of downloading map data for an entire State or even the entire U.S. or other countries. California takes about 208 MB while the entire US take about 2.6 GB. To my knowledge, Nokia Map is the only map app for mobile phones that allows offline use.
Integration with Microsoft
Microsoft SkyDrive is preinstalled and fully integrated. It supports automatic photo upload to SkyDrive cloud service. The default is a low resolution image with the option to select full resolution. Obviously, you can get the same type of service with Apple iOS and Android by installing the relevant app but it’s nice to have it working out of the box.
Nokia Transit is a forward thinking GPS app for navigating transit systems. This will prove especially useful for people in cities who rely on public transit. The feature is already available for Android devices via Google Maps. Nokia gives it more exposure by creating a separate app for this service. iOS also offers the same service but requires users to download transit info for each transit agency.
The Lumia 810/820 supports Internet sharing aka Wi-Fi tethering for up to five devices although this is surely limited or disabled by U.S. carriers unless you pay for the right plan. Testing on AT&T and T-Mobile confirms neither will tether under standard plans.
Although the Lumia 810/820 are NFC enabled, users should beware that NFC transfer is often not interoperable between NFC devices from different manufacturers. It’s sometimes not even compatible between different devices from the same manufacturer if they are running different version of Android. Tap+Send (aka NFC) works between the 810 and 820 but will not work with the Samsung Note which is NFC enabled. With that said, it is possible to transfer photos bi-directionally between the Lumia and Samsung Note using Bluetooth transfer.