Why the Nokia Windows Phone 7 concept is fake (update: now official, very concerning)

An image posted by Engadget today portrayed to be concepts of an upcoming Nokia Windows Phone 7 device should be taken with a grain of salt. From afar, it’s easy to be captivated by the elegant industrial design, but a closer look reveals a glaring mistake that results in one of two possibilities, the more likely of which is that it’s a fake not an final design.

The mistake is actually quite obvious once you see it. There are too many tiles on the home screen. Due to Microsoft’s specification of the screen resolution (and indirectly aspect ratio), only slightly less than 4 tiles should be visible. The Nokia concept contradicts this by showing even fraction of the fifth (with the top of the tiles lining up with the arrow). This would only be possible if the display proportions are not the same.

Although it’s still possible this concept may still be authorized by Nokia, it just means that this is not a very realistic representation of the phone. Sloppy, as some might put it. The real phone should either a little fatter or shorter.

The other less likely but more frightening possibility is that this is real and would actually mark the beginning of Windows Phone 7’s fragmentation. For everyone’s sake I hope it’s the former.

Update: This concept photo plus another newer one still showing the extra tile is being shown off by Nokia at Mobile World Congress 2011.

My argument remains that this does not look like a “rough” design. Most of the elements appear to be designed to specification, thus if these concepts are accurate would be very concerning for the Windows Phone 7 ecosystem. Does fragmentation begin at screen resolution?

71 insightful thoughts

  1. It’s a CG concept and for demo purposes I don’t think they’re thinking in such concrete terms.

      1. There isn’t an info bar on the top of the lock screen in left-most phone either. I think you’re making something of nothing.

      2. Also, on the center phone… how do you get it to ever say “gallery”. Mine has a “Pictures” heading and then “all , date , favorites”.

      3. I don’t have requirements. Microsoft has requirements on what a Windows Phone 7 must have.

      4. I disagree. A CG concept is a concept, and doesn’t reflect final design. No designers I know (and I do know some) are going to be compelled to exacting requirements in the initial stages. In addition, designers are just as human as anyone and can make mistakes. It doesn’t invalidate the render or what it might mean.

  2. I would be very very surprised if Microsoft was considering fragmentation so early on. I only jumped on the platform when Phone 7 was announced so I don’t know much about Windows Mobile, but I would hope that lessons would be learned from that.

    Nice catch on the home screen. I didn’t even notice that first time I saw it…I just saw sexy phones.

  3. THat said, I read on one of the news sites (for what they’re worth) that Nokia have been granted exclusive rights to ‘customise’ Win7 for their phones. Could this perhaps be a reflection of that?

  4. I wouldn’t read much into this, requirements get changed and tuned in the future, these concepts reflect the future not the present requirements. By the time these phones are out, there will be a new major update of the OS.

  5. There was an example of someone changing the resolution in the emulator, and as new hardware is released, the OS is capable at running at multiple resolutions, so it is possible that these concept images are using an updated minimum hardware specification (which is rumoured to be announced at MWC) with larger resolution displays.

  6. The home screen is certainly not standard. The PEOPLE tile has one single picture instead of smaller tiles within it.

    1. and certainly there is no CLOCK available in WP7 as shown on the first tile, and MESSAGING is not TEXT as shown. So on one hand, I agree with Long, on the other hand, somehow I feel these concept might have been drawn up even before the first windows phone were made, which mean Nokia & MS might have been talking for a lonnnnnnnggg time.

      1. well considering the ms dev.ed for nokia symbian phones in the past its no surprise. since the 1st few symbian phones based on the updated os didnt do so well its logic that theyre jumping ship from their os

  7. If you scroll up a quarter of an inch it looks exactly like the render. Nice link bait though πŸ˜€ Kidding haha

  8. Besides no one knows what changes will be coming to Windows Phone 7 so it might just be the arrow on the right is slightly higher or the tiles are smaller.

  9. might even be something as small as the top margin on the new version defaults to a higher value or maybe maybe a negative top margin is the customization microsoft is allowing Nokia to make πŸ˜€

  10. I have the t- mobile hd7 and I have space on my home screen for 6 (2wx3h+) on it….. This seems like a reach by the author of this post??

    1. Exactly, it wasn’t done by Nokia or anyone affiliated with it. It was a fan-made Nokia concept.
      Don’t read too much into it Long πŸ™‚

      1. Aha! You’re right, I apologize.
        Got them all mixed up.

        I still doubt that this is a real Nokia concept.

  11. All 3 images seem to be running at a higher resolution, so this is either a mockup without care and attention, or Microsoft may be ready to have phones in the future running at higher resolutions.

    1. Yes, this is one possible explanation for it (and the most likely).
      It still seems weird that Nokia would make such a change.
      If it is official, it’s most likely just an error on the part of the designer,

  12. This might be “real”, as in made by some authorized party within Nokia or Microsoft. The all-black phone on the left has “Lunch Meeting, Commons” as the next calendar event. The Commons is the name of the big shopping center/food court at Microsoft headquarters that is often used for lunch meetings, and it’s unlikely a random third party would know (much less choose) to use that particular location for the sample text. I recall seeing a lot of demo shots of Microsoft business products showing generic but “authentic” internal Microsoftie places, terms, etc.

    (Yes, I am a Microsoft employee. No, I have nothing to do with WP7.)

  13. It is a concept and the designers have just shoehorned a screen grab to it. Bit sloppy but not earth shattering. Apple did it once with one of the iPhone launches (put an itouch screen there instead). As for “fragmentation” because of screen size being worrying, why is this so? Apple have screen size fragmentation and nobody even notices it if it’s done right πŸ™‚ looking forward to seeing these phones if it is indeed real πŸ™‚

    1. Apple has resolution differences that are scaled. We are talking a much more damaging aspect ratio difference.

  14. What is that icon in the bottom right of the lock screen? Missed calls is just a handset icon, not whatever is under it. On my network at least there’s no similar ‘voicemail’ notification – I just get a text.

  15. What about the hardware buttons to set the volumne. As far as I know these button have to be placed at the left side of the device and seem to be missing in the rendering above. Of course, it is also possible that it is also subject to Nokias freedom regardig customizations.

    1. The volume buttons don’t have to be on the left side, as in the case of the LG quantum, they are on the right side.

  16. What about the Windows button? I thougth it has to be a “hardware” button – not one of those touch buttons?!

  17. The Microsoft list of specifications are ‘minimum’ requirements… While I agree that the resolution probably wont be higher than set specifications.

    Like many have already commented, this is just a concept which has been rendered. It looks beautiful, and we will be so lucky to see a device which looks as good as this.

    I think it is important that Nokia doesnt release several Windows Phone devices a year, They need one good device a year, and release their other devices in the Symbian, Meego platforms… The U.S. Market needs needs an iPhone competior. Even with many Android models coming out, only a couple of phones get noticed and sold heavily in the U.S.

    Nokia phones will be popular around the world, even if they stay with Symbian. Not everyone can afford an Android, and defineitly not the iPHone…

    visit my site http://www.djsmobiles.com or follow @djripster on twitter

  18. Just a thought regarding the “too many tiles on the home screen” comments. I know I’m not coming from an official standpoint, but my HD2 running WP7 quite happily displays 4 and a bit rows of tiles… God bless the awesome HD2.

  19. those are supposed to be CONCEPTS!!!! CONCEPTS!!!!
    made by design agencies (internal or external).
    they dont care too much about your screen resolution….

    oh my god, what an article………

  20. they just confirmed…for me tho it simply confirms that they were loosely illustrating the UI.

    I hope belfiore and the other designers sit Nokia down and really explain the design language to them. Long, like myself, is a graphic designer, hence the attention to detail and the observations pointed out by Long. Thus long has essentially begun to ask the question about how much nokia currently understands about “metro” and microsofts new design language and what changes nokia may ask microsoft to make on the OS.

    Long is not incorrect in spotting the differences and discrepancies…he is in fact correct. however it is clear that these renders were not aimed to be accurate. but simply to illustrate what the phones may look like.

    in addition, i believe that the differences do not indicate or show what is to come of nokia’s customisation of the interface.

  21. I saw this mistake loads of times before WP7 was released, even in some of Microsoft’s publicity material. In any case, Nokia have just shown the same mistake on record at their MWC event, so it must be real.

  22. Hey guys.relax..Longzheng is right actually. because Nokia said these phones are concept it doesnt mean nokia will take up this design of phones..Nokia may take,and considering microsoft requirements and other Windows mobile phone 7 devices ,the themes and wat u c on the home screen are not possible.and even the check out the photoes and watch the real videos of WM7 Phones. u will notice the changes..thats why he declared these phones are fake or even it may be possible that microsoft has change requiremnts just for nokia.

  23. i remember seeing on their n gage site before the 1st phone came out they had a loz lost levels listed on the site as a launch game. then after launch they removed it. so i have to say this isnt any bit suprising

  24. These new handsets look wonderful, I will be sad to see Symbian go.It would be nice to be able to upgrade my N8 to WP7 though…. πŸ˜‰

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