The Nokia Lumia Icon is a fantastic Windows Phone that comes with a bunch of top features that most WP users haven't been able to enjoy until recently, but it had one critical flaw: it was an exclusive to Verizon, which meant that only a handful of users in the US could buy it. For the rest of the world, the only way to get a top-of-the-line Windows Phone (in nearly every spec, that is) has been to buy the Lumia 1520, but its large 6-inch display -- though beautiful at 1080p -- simply made it too big for a lot of people. Fortunately, that's about to end because Nokia announced a global version of the Icon known as the Lumia 930, which comes with more LTE compatibility and Windows Phone 8.1.
Interestingly enough, there's not much of a difference between the two devices. This actually is a bit surprising, considering Verizon has historically landed design exclusives with Nokia like the Lumia 822 and 928. The resemblance is definitely striking, with the only major hardware changes manifest in the presence of GSM bands instead of CDMA and the additional colors that Nokia will offer.
Unlike the Icon, Stephen Elop mentioned that we likely won't be seeing the 930 in the US -- at least, not on a carrier, and not anytime soon. Still, this will be an ideal Windows Phone for many folks in other corners of the globe; it comes with pentaband LTE (bands 1, 3, 7, 8 and 20), quad-band HSPA+ (up to 42.2Mbps) and quad-band GSM/EDGE, so you should be able to get solid speeds nearly anywhere you go, even if you're not getting LTE in your neck of the woods. It also comes with a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800, which is definitely powerful but unfortunately is no longer the latest and greatest Qualcomm chipset -- that honor now belongs to the Snapdragon 801.
The 930 will come in four color options: white, black, bright orange and bright green. Just like on the Icon, these colors are mainly reflected as part of the polycarbonate panel on the back, and aren't swappable like the covers on the 630 and 635, also announced earlier today.
In terms of firmware, the 930 will come with Nokia Cyan pre-installed, which is essentially the phone maker's build of Windows Phone 8.1 bundled with a few pieces of Nokia's own software. (It acts just like Nokia Black did when the third update to WP8 came out a few months ago.) The company pointed out a few important imaging features included in the package, some of which actually remind us of imaging capabilities introduced by HTC last year.
First, there's Living Images, which converts regular images into short Zoe-like videos when you view it in the camera roll or Storyteller. Essentially, any time you're using Nokia's camera app in standard mode (ie. not in the Smart Sequence mode), the phone now buffers multiple images before and after your shot, allowing your picture to come to life if you so desire. Reps tell us that data size doesn't increase by much in this mode, but fortunately you can disable the feature if you want to opt out. Storyteller now has a video slideshow feature similar to HTC's "video highlights" which takes those Living Images, lets you combine them with any other images you want and gives you the opportunity to slap the song of your choice on top for a solid video montage of your family vacation. Lastly, the Camera Roll is more tightly integrated so you don't have to click on photos (or worse, click on the links below those photos) in order to view them in the proper mode; Cinemagraphs, for instance, start working right away without having to do anything extra.
Ultimately, Nokia's latest high-end device takes the Lumia Icon and resolves a lot of our primary concerns with it: it now has global LTE and HSPA+ for international users around the world, it comes in more colors and isn't limited to just one specific carrier. And if the 5-inch 1080p display and Snapdragon 800 processor fit the bill, you'll want to keep your eyes peeled for it starting in June for around $599 (though price may vary on market and operator).
Dana Wollman contributed to this report.
Microsoft Windows Phone 8.1