Will the Lumia 950 and 950XL be a success?

Lumia 950 and Lumia 950XL

When Microsoft announced the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950XL way back on October 6th, most people were impressed with the technical specs of the phones but nobody really came out and said “Wow, what a phone!”, this has me a little bit worried that the success of the upcoming Windows Phones might be in serious jeopardy.

Let’s face it, aside from their bargain phones like the 520, 635, and 640 (which hands down provide the best off contract bang for your buck of any phone) the Lumia phones of yesteryear have not been all that popular. Despite being well liked by most of their users as well as the media, the previous Lumias never really caught on with the general public. I myself am a long time Windows Phone user, I had Windows Mobile way back in the early 2000’s and dropped android for Windows Phone 7 with the beautiful Dell Venue Pro, since then it’s been all Lumias (as a main phone) for me. Even with that kind of loyalty I’m extremely frustrated with the way Microsoft has handled their mobile phone division, it seems almost like Microsoft is setting the Lumia up for failure, hindering it at every step along the way (starting with dropping the “Nokia” brand name). Let’s talk about this release date, does anyone know when it is? Microsoft announced the phones officially on October 6th, it’s been a month since then and still we don’t have the new phones in our pockets or even an official release date… This is RIDICULOUS. We live in a fast paced world where people have plenty of smartphone options to choose from, and newsflash – you are not the market leader here Microsoft!

UPDATE: Sources now reporting that the Lumia 950 will be given a November 20th release date from AT&T. No word on whether the Lumia 950XL will also be released on that date however.

By my count it’s been 2 years since the last real flagship Lumia device (Lumia 1520), most people don’t wait that long to upgrade anymore and you have plenty of people like me who have the Lumia 1020 or 1520 or even the 920 who just never bothered to upgrade because nothing Microsoft put out was worth changing to… I couldn’t believe that Microsoft didn’t give a release date at the official announcement for these phones, take a lesson from the other devices, and strike while the iron is hot. Microsoft should have started pre-orders as soon as they were announced and then released the phone 2 weeks later. By now the joyous hype has turned in to bitter frustration for everyone who wanted these phones.

For me the Lumia 950XL is good enough, it has next-gen hardware and a camera that’s probably close enough to my 1020 to be acceptable. I had originally wanted the 950 but I personally think it’s hideous with the separate flash and metal ring around the lens, if I can fit the 950XL in my pocket, it will be the one I choose (if it ever comes out). The Lumias were known for being beautiful works of art, despite most of them being composite plastics they looked and felt wonderful, I credit Nokia with this, because Nokia is always been at the forefront of great looking phones (N-Gage excluded). These new Lumias however, are not great looking. I don’t think the 950XL is bad looking at all but it’s nothing special, perhaps this is just a casualty of people demanding bigger and bigger screens while simultaneously criticizing any sort of bezel (too bad, I enjoy having something to hold on to while using my phone).

Honestly I just don’t know what the future holds for these devices and Windows Phone in general. Microsoft has plenty of money to keep losing it on Windows Phones but at some point they might just call it quits if they don’t get a breakthrough performance. It’s not all bad with the new Lumias however, I definitely think Microsoft got the pricing right. $549 and $649 off contract for these devices is quite a bargain for what you get. That $649 is the price of a base iPhone 6 with 16 GB of storage, these Lumias come with 32 GB and expandable memory. I also think Microsoft nailed the specs on these phones, 3gb of ram and an 8 core (Lumia 950XL only) is definitely class leading, couple that with the excellent camera and I think you’ve got a winner. People who’ve never used Windows Phone don’t like the UI, it’s too bad because if they only did use it I bet they’d love it. The Windows Phone UI is one of the Lumia’s strongest selling points, despite a perceived lack of apps I have no issues getting by day to day with a Windows Phone.

Lumia 950 and Lumia 950XL Continuum DockMicrosoft wants this phone to be a true laptop replacement for frequent commuters, with the continuum dock the Lumia 950s will be able to do just that. Bring the phone and the dock and connect to a monitor and keyboard at wherever you’re going. For people like traveling executives who jump from office to office this would be perfect. If Microsoft wants this device to succeed as such they really need to include the dock with the phone, we don’t want to see the dock sold for $150 at the Microsoft store because I can tell you right now, it’s a cool feature but I’m sure as hell not spending $150 to enjoy it…

I really want the new Lumias to succeed, I love my Lumia 1020 and having used both Android and iOS extensively I can tell you that Windows Phone is my favorite of the three, smooth and snappy but not as locked down as iOS. Microsoft needs to wake up and stop giving themselves a competitive disadvantage here. Release the damn phones, include the dock and market it like crazy.

Let me know your thoughts on the Lumia 950 and 950XL in the comments below.