We haven’t seen much from Nokia that looked like it could take the world by storm, but with an announcement made by the Finnish giant this week, the company might well and truly be “back”.

Announced at Nokia World in London this week, Nokia has unveiled two devices under the “Lumia” branding, each running Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.5 operating system. The two new Windows Phone handsets have similar technology inside, but carry different exteriors.

Under the hood, Nokia has equipped both devices with a single-core 1.4GHz CPU designed to provide solid performance and long battery life, as well as two microphones – one for voice and the other for noise cancellation.

Nokia's Lumia 710 handset

“We’re driving innovation throughout our entire portfolio, from new smartphone experiences to ever smarter mobile phones,” said Stephen Elop, Nokia’s CEO and President. “I’m incredibly proud of these new devices – and the people of Nokia who have made this happen.”

For the premium Lumia 800 handset, Nokia has taken the immaculate design of the recently released N9, keeping with the one-piece unibody chassis made from the same material used in ice hockey helmets. An eight megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics has been added, along with a 3.7 inch AMOLED touchscreen, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS, HSDPA 14.4Mbps download over 3G, Bluetooth 2.1, microUSB, and 16GB of storage.

The Lumia 800 handset looks similar to the Nokia N9, but features Windows Phone instead of MeeGo.

Coming in at a slightly lower price point, the Nokia Lumia 710 ditches the unibody design for one that will come with exchangeable back covers, covering the four main colours seen in CMYK – cyan, magenta, yellow, and key black. As we said before, the technology is similar to the Lumia 800, with Bluetooth 2.1, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS, HSDPA 14.4Mbps download, microUSB, 8GB storage, a 5 megapixel camera, and a 3.7 inch touchscreen.

Both handsets will features Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango”, supporting Office applications, Xbox Live integration, Microsoft’s own mobile app store, and support for the Zune Music Pass announced yesterday.

Nokia’s not forgetting those who don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on the latest technology, making the low-end mobile phone market a low-end smartphone market. You can pretty much say goodbye to the “dumbphone”, with most of Nokia’s range switching to a web-connected handset this year.

This week at Nokia World, the once world-leading company announced several budget handsets in its “Asha” range, including two inexpensive devices with QWERTY keypads and one with a regular 12 main-button phone layout and touchscreen combo.

The Asha 300 features a 2.4 inch touchscreen alongside a standard 12-button phone layout.

At the true budget end, Nokia’s Asha 201 sports a single colour design with a 10MB storage and a microSD slot for more memory, 2 megapixel camera, Bluetooth 2.1, 2.4 inch screen, Symbian S40 operating system, and QWERTY keypad for easy typing of message.

The Asha 303 improves on the 201 by offering a 2.6 inch capacitive touchscreen to work with the QWERTY keypad, throwing in faster technology to work with the Symbian OS.

And for those of you still in love with the basic keypad, the Asha 300 has that along with a 2.4 inch version of the touchscreen found in the above 303 handset.

The QWERTY-packing Asha 303 will obviously be able to play Angry Birds... which is probably a requirement for a good mobile phone these days.

 

As technology journalists, we’d expect the Asha series to replace Nokia’s line of local budget handsets, although we have been told that Nokia is planning to release these in emerging mobile markets, meaning they could miss Australia altogether.

We do expect Nokia to release the hot Lumia handsets here, however, but as for when, that’s anyone’s guess. If Nokia chooses to put Australia under the same section as Europe for releases, we could see the handsets as early as November. Otherwise, expect the new devices to land next year.