Nokia hopes camera tech will give its Lumia 2520 Windows RT tablet a boost

The Lumia 2520 tablet and 1520 large-screen smartphone will both be available in the U.S.

Nokia has added a tablet and two large-screen smartphones to its Lumia family, and is once again counting on its camera technology to attract buyers.

The Lumia 1320 and Lumia 1520, revealed at the Nokia World event in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, both have 6-inch screens. The 1520 is the high-end model, with a full HD screen, LTE and a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor. The device has 32GB of storage, which can be expanded by another 64GB using a microSD card slot, something that has been missing from recent Nokia smartphones.

Nokia is leaning on its camera technology to differentiate its products from rivals. The Lumia 1520 has a 20-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization. Nokia has also developed a new app called Camera that lets users access settings more easily, the company said.

The Lumia 1520 will start shipping this quarter in Hong Kong, Singapore, the U.S., China, the U.K., France, Germany and Finland. The price will be US$749 before taxes and subsidies.

The Lumia 1320 will be cheaper at $339 before taxes and subsidies, but only has a dual-core processor and 720p screen resolution. It also has a simpler 5-megapixel camera, but users can still access the Internet using LTE. Nokia expects to start shipping it in the first quarter of 2014 in China and Vietnam, followed by other Asian markets, India and Europe.

The lower price will make the smartphone a good fit for the Chinese market, according to Pete Cunningham, principal analyst at Canalys.

Both devices will run a new version of Windows Phone 8 called General Distribution Release 3, to which Nokia has added enhancements such as its Camera app. The software will also be offered to users of existing Lumia devices via an update called Black.

Instagram and Vine will soon be available on Lumia devices too, Nokia announced. App availability is still Windows Phone's Achilles heel, but the availability of those two third-party apps is a step in the right direction.

With these two large-screen smartphones, Nokia is entering a competitive market, up against devices including the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the HTC One Max.

But the company faces an even bigger challenge with its first tablet, the Lumia 2520, which runs Windows RT 8.1.

The Lumia 2520 has a 10-inch full HD screen and is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 processor. It has a 6.7-megapixel camera that can take pictures in low light conditions, unlike those on other tablets, according to Nokia. The screen is also bright enough to be read in sunlight, the company said.

Nokia has developed a keyboard with an integrated battery that can add up to five hours of extra life after the integrated 8000 mAh battery has given up. Unlike Microsoft's Surface 2 tablet, the Lumia 2520 has LTE as well as Wi-Fi.

Additionally, the Lumia 2520 includes Storyteller, a Nokia-developed app that combines images and videos as a story on a map, as well as Nokia Video Director, which offers the ability to edit videos shot on the tablet.

The Nokia Lumia 2520 will cost about $499 before taxes and subsidies, and will start shipping in the U.S., the U.K. and Finland before the end of the year. Additional countries to follow shortly after, Nokia said.

"Nokia is fully aware of the challenge it faces in tablets. The 2520 will be a difficult sell owing to the challenges of Windows RT, but Nokia is rightly playing to its strengths," said Geoff Blaber, director of devices and platforms at CCS Insight.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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