back to article Life after Nokia: Microsoft Lumia 640 budget WinPho blower

Is the Nokia Microsoft Lumia 640 an Office subscription with a free phone, or a phone with a free Office subscription? Either way, it's likely to be the biggest mobile device for Microsoft since the days of Zune and Kin – and the company is getting more aggressive with its marketing. Microsoft Lumia 640 Windows Phone Office …

  1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    GUI madness

    "apparently taking away a phone UI people love and replacing it with a desktop UI people don’t is regarded by the Head Shed at Redmond as some kind of strategic masterstroke"

    Redmond is not the sole practitioner of this dumb practice. You can take most recent GUI designs for phone and desktop and look at the respective replacements offered by MS, Apple and the majority of Linux distros, and you are left wondering: WTF do GUI designers aim to do? So often the "new" approach is dumber, less usable and hides the stuff that made folk like something in the first place.

    Bah, a pox on them all!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Re: GUI madness

      I really like the Winphone GUI, it feels weird at first, but once you get to it, Android and IoS feel so damn clunky. There are still some oddities, but I find it the "nicest" to use by far.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: GUI madness

        It what keeps me going back to the Windows Phone platform, despite the lack of apps and seeming indifference to the single digit market share by Microsoft.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: GUI madness

          I haven't read the article either so I also think posting about the current winphone gui is relevant to a discussion about the fact they're going to replace it with Windows 10.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: GUI madness

            An excellent comment, and the 5 downvotes seem to say that there are a lot of Microsoft trolls operating hereabouts.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: GUI madness

        Yes, but haters kept on whining about the tile interface so MS will try to ruin it just to follow the mob... and will lose customers instead of gaining more.

    2. theOtherJT

      Re: GUI madness

      So, they've moved from forcing a phone UI that no one wanted onto the desktop to forcing a desktop UI that no one wants onto the Phone... Something is seriously wrong here.

      Desktop UI. Phone UI. Separate products.

      Come on Microsoft, you've managed to get them both right individually; stop getting them wrong in combination.

    3. Bob Vistakin
      Mushroom

      Re: GUI madness

      I hear interesting things about Nokia - they have a great Android tablet out (it has "apps" too), are breaking amazing ground with 5G and, as we hear today, are considering buying Alcatel-Lucent to make them rival Ericsson in the network provision space.

      I'm betting the conversations between them and microsoft when the beast wants to pollute the airwaves with its quaint little toys, such as this one, on this tech will be fascinating.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    4. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: GUI madness

      They've already tried the desktop UI on a mobile (Windows Mobile) and the mobile UI on a desktop (Windows 8), so it's to be expected that they try some mid-way collision on both. That won't work either, so I don't know where they expect to go from here... perhaps something radical like a mobile UI on a mobile and a desktop UI on a desktop.

    5. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: GUI madness

      Personally I have never found a phone ui I truly 'loved'.

      There is the benefit of long-standing familiarity in the 'traditional' desktop layout, no argument there.

      With tablets and phones added to the mix I can see the logic in trying to design a ui that can cross the boundaries between these 3 form factors.

      Have any of them 'got it right' yet? Probably not.

      Gnome-shell after initially sending users (and some distros) running off to cinnamon, Mate and XFCE is seeing a flood of returnees.

      Ubuntu actually have a phone out running the new Unity ui for phones with promise of tablets later in the year and first desktops running using it hopefully by 15.10.

      Then there is KDE 5. Often regarded as a tradtional desktop ui due to its default layout, it can become anything, sacrificing the ordered beautiful coherence of the Gnome Shell and Unity somewhat for as much configuability as you want.

      It's not as if the linux distros are forcing you to use those 'replacements' either. Seems in this recent age of 'desktop distros' that the notion has crept in that you 'must' use the ui packaged by you distro as the default.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Need Blackberry

        Happy Lumia 1020 user, but the latest Blackberry OS is just way better. If they could just get a decent version on OneNote for BB, I'd be switching.

        By the time you've got a touchscreen keyboard taking up half the screen, you're better off with a keyboard.

    6. cosmo the enlightened

      Re: GUI madness

      Does Win 10 not have an auto detect for type of device and create UI for appropriate device?

  2. launcap Silver badge
    Happy

    I hope..

    ..that they offered that Boxer a good deal to appear in a Lumina ad.. free milkbones for life? As many Scooby Snacks as he can eat?

  3. AIBailey
    FAIL

    Retina display?

    although the resolution is no retina display at 1280 x 720-pixels and 294ppi

    Except according to the company that coined the marketing term, that's precisely what it is.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retina_Display for examples where Apple have used "retina display" in their marketing to cover pixel densities down to ~220ppi

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: Retina display?

      I remember when 1280 by 720 was adequate for getting things done on a 14-inch monitor, so I don't see any problem when applied to a screen one third the diagonal even if held only one third of the distance away.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Retina display?

      >>See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retina_Display for examples where Apple have used "retina display" in their marketing to cover pixel densities down to ~220ppi

      All depends on how far away you are from the screen. 1 PPI would be way more than retina for a movie screen. :)

  4. Joe Harrison Silver badge

    Only 80 quid if you already have suitable SIM

    Pay as you go upgrade http://www.hotukdeals.com/visit?m=35&q=2184433

  5. JDX Gold badge

    So they tried putting a great phone UI on the desktop, and it flopped... now they've fixed the desktop UI and are going to stick it on the phone?

    aaargh.

    1. Paul Shirley

      ...except they haven't fixed the desktop yet. I don't believe they're even trying to fix what's broken in Win10's UI. Won't stop them bringing the same pain to mobile though...

      Am left wondering: they shrank to Start Screen, bolted it onto the classic desktop and called it the return of the Start Menu (it's not). Will they do the same to WP and give us a Start Menu\Screen so small no-one can read it? I won't be surprised if it happens ;)

      1. JDX Gold badge

        My tests of an early W10 preview were pretty positive. But then I'm not one of those people who spends ten minutes braying about how W8 is unusable every time I need to touch a W8 PC... I just work around it because I've got work to do.

  6. JDX Gold badge

    Royalties please.

    You turned my comment into a 3 page review:

    http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/2487048

  7. We're with Steve

    better than a Lumia 535....

    The Lumia 535, the first MS branded Lumia, the illegitimate love child of Vista and Clippy.

  8. Fihart

    I don't want.

    I don't want to learn another phone operating system - that will resemble a desktop OS that no-one likes.

    I don't want to rent a word processing application (the only bit of Office I'd use).

    1. Bob Vistakin
      Facepalm

      Re: I don't want.

      Do you want microsofts mighty ad machine ramming all that down your throat?

      1. dogged

        Re: I don't want.

        Google fanboy references "microsofts mighty ad machine".

        Film at 11.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't want.

      "I don't want to rent a word processing application (the only bit of Office I'd use)."

      There isn't really a replacement to Outlook either - that's also essential to most. OneNote is worth using too if you don't already.

  9. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    I don't get it

    I can understand why Microsoft concentrated on bottom-end phones. There was a gap in the market, that Android didn't serve very well. And the Lumia phones are very good, even though the cheap 'Droids are also now much improved.

    I can also understand avoiding too much effort fighting at the £500 flagship bit of the market. Where Apple dominate, and Samsung and HTC are very good.

    But why not use the shiny camera tech they bought from Nokia more?

    My next phone will probably cost around £100 - £150. Because you get something very good for that money, and I think the extra £400 on something top of the range is wasted. However a really good camera could persuade me to change my mind. They don't seem to have done much with it for a year now.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: I don't get it

      Nokia kept the camera patents, the camera boss went to Apple, and MS have fired over half the ex-Nokia staff, there'll be no decent cameras on Microkia phones from now on.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: I don't get it

        Well that's a bloody waste! And the only differentiation they had over the rest of the market, given you can get Office for all platforms.

        I assume they're going for cheap business phones now, which fits with their big share of the business software market. But it seems a shame not to use that camera tech to get somewhere with consumers as well. They've obviously done well in the low end "first smartphone" market, but when some of those customers decide they want their next phone to have extra bells and whistles, there's not much up the range at say £300 for them to look at.

        i don't believe that I'm alone in thinking the iPhones and Galaxy 6's of this world are way over-priced. I'm willing to give someone £250 for someothing really nice - and may go for that on the previous generation of Galaxy Note. Otherwise I'm having something competent for £100, which is not that much worse than the £500 jobs, let alone the mid-priced ones. I admit I'm after a phone with decent email and only light web use, with only travel and utility apps. The tablet is for fun, the phone is a tool. But I would pay for something almost as good as a compact camera.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I don't get it

        "Nokia kept the camera patents, the camera boss went to Apple, and MS have fired over half the ex-Nokia staff, there'll be no decent cameras on Microkia phones from now on."

        Nokia kept ALL the patents - but Microsoft have a license to them.

        Microsoft took all the camera R&D staff and facilities so there likely WILL be decent Lumia cameras in the future too...

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: I don't get it

          There is no camera R&D going on at Microsoft, they have spent more than a year making low spec phones with low spec cameras good enough for corporates and undemanding consumers. This review is the phone that's getting the big sales push this year, there are no new flagship phones nor have they announced plans for any. Nor are they interested in flagships, they just want phones as part of a an Office 365 solution.

          In case you missed the news the ex-Nokia staff have received the brunt of the layoffs and if the camera boss goes it's because there's no future for him there.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I don't get it

            "there are no new flagship phones"

            Oh yes there will be as confimed by Elop.

            2 premium handsets - the "Lumia 940" and Lumia 940 XL" are expected later this year...

  10. Jason Hindle

    So, is this vastly superior

    To the Nokia 720 I've shoved my corporate SIM into? Does it correct the glaring problems (e.g. I'm on Skype, go to the mail app, then back to Skype and get "Resuming" for a few seconds)?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So, is this vastly superior

      "Does it correct the glaring problems (e.g. I'm on Skype, go to the mail app, then back to Skype and get "Resuming" for a few seconds)?"

      That's not normal - check you are running the current OS version under settings / updates...

  11. veti Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Fact check?

    I don't know where you got your Nokia Lumia 520, but mine certainly features automatic brightness control. One of its best features.

    Mind, I have often pondered how it works, what with not having a camera on the front. There's no apparent light sensor, either. And if it used the camera on the back, it would dim when laid down flat on a desk, and that doesn't happen. So there's something mighty suspicious going on in there.

    1. AIBailey

      Re: Fact check?

      2 small sensors about 2-3mm to the right of the "A" in Nokia above the screen.

      You have to hold it just right in order to see them.

  12. MacroRodent Silver badge

    The size obsession

    So this too is larger than its predecessor.

    The other day I was looking at a shop what was on offer in case I need to replace my Nokia Lumia 710 (mostly works well, but the browser is dated and is starting to have problems with modern web sites, and the camera is not too great), and was baffled by the large size of the phones, no matter which vendor.

    I need my mobile phone to be mobile. The 710 is about the largest size that comfortably fits into my trousers' pocket, and it also has a nicely rounded shape. But all new phones with comparable features are larger, and many have sharp corners or edges. Are they really mobiles? I really would like to have a modern phone in a Lumia 710-shaped shell. Maybe I have to wait until the big size fashion passes.

  13. TechGeezer
    Unhappy

    ...And yet:

    STILL no proper multitasking.....

    1. Bob Vistakin
      Facepalm

      Re: ...And yet:

      Checks calendar.

      Sighs.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Meh

      Re: ...And yet:

      Do you really need it on a phone with a 5 inch sceen? Really?

      So long they get the lag down, it's a bit of a non-issue.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    why

    Why would I want a 120 landfill windows phone that has no apps and costs £60 a year after year one (in addition to mobile contracts of course)

    Why would I want an os that is so inflexible I have to change to what it does.

    Why would I want a phone that's going to superseded by a new one next week and this one bargain bin landfill?

    1. dogged

      Re: why

      > Why would I want a 120 landfill windows phone that has no apps and costs £60 a year after year one (in addition to mobile contracts of course)

      What? It costs £120. Unlocked. You own it from that point and put whatever SIM you want in there (or none).

      Where does the £60/year come from? You don't have to renew Office 365.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Meh

      Re: why

      Why would I want a 120 landfill Android phone that has millions of useless apps and costs £60 a year after year one (in addition to mobile contracts of course)

      Why would I want an os that is so inflexible I have to change to what it does.

      Why would I want a phone that's going to superseded by a new one next week and this one bargain bin landfill?

      TFTFY

  15. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over.

    "Coming Soon" to the US?!?

    I have a Lumia 635 and like it quite a bit. It's very simplistic and has a few critical shortcomings, but it's less than $50 and no annoying contract. I want a 640 but will apparently have to wait.

    I also agree with several posters above regarding Windows on a phone. I like the 8.1 interface for a phone or tablet but absolutely DESPISE it on a laptop.

  16. Tcat

    My madness in what to do..

    Perhaps a pre-emptive 'flame-off', my solutions work for me, your shoe is probably different.

    WP didn't re-claim my interest til V8. "Fixing" the Win 8/8.1 desktop was trivial. The kernel is stable, tight and pretty armor plated. So far, Win 10 is looking almost bullet proof on ARM and Intel. And I'm dumbing down from a custom built 1520 to a 920. This is because I got 2 Lumia 2520's (RT Windows 8.1), one GSM AT&T the other WCDMA Verizon. Both do 802.11ac and dock well. Battery time and build quality are 2nd to nobody.

    MS ships updates regularly and will do so til 1 Feb 2017. Given what you can score a 2520 for... It's less than $100 a year service life.

    If you need heavy X86 lifting on the 2520, try RDP. With 802.11ac and/or LTE (default in all 2520's), its effective.

    It's not sexy and I'm seeing both the WP store and the RT Stores are growing via 'Universal' Apps. That is interesting. Again bang for the buck. Had one new Lumia croak and MS bent over itself to please.

    Your needs may vary.

  17. Mike Taylor

    Had to buy an emergency winpho at the weekend

    Went for a 435. Twenty-five quid! Screen is a little less responsive than I'd like, but 25 quid! Logged in, everything backed up from my wet and cracked 1520. Perfect.

  18. UNOwen

    Here's a wild idea - DON'T waste ANYTHING on the Nokia, er, uh...'Windoze nonsense.

    I like the analogy made by The Register; '...biggest mobile device for Microsoft since the days of Zune and Kin…' and we all know how well those things did, don't we?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "and we all know how well those things did, don't we?"

      Windows and Office did OK though, right? Azure is wiping the floor with the competition. Surface, Xbox and Kinect did pretty well too...

      Microsoft are very good at trying again until they get it right!

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