Edit: Due to popular demand, the HTC Mozart has been added for being one of the OG Windows Phones.
There have been about a 100 Windows Phones released from the launch of Windows Phone 7 till date. Some have floundered and died, others have altered the direction of the OS. For obvious reasons, most of these devices would be Lumias, other manufacturers have just not got the time or patience to invest in Windows Phone, and they can’t be faulted for what amounts to a simple business decision. Now, without further ado here are the Windows Phones (In no particular order) I think are the most influential and important devices.
HTC 7 Mozart – This was one of the very first Windows Phone devices launched in 2010 when HTC was the premier Windows Phone manufacturer. It had a sizeable 3.7 inch 480p (good for the times), fantsstic speakers, an 8MP camera with Xenon flash and and either 8 or 16 GB of onboard storage. It was a little champion of a phone and many users still fondly remember it today. Its specs, paired with the fresh new Windows Phone 7 OS made it a wonderful device to use.
Lumia 800 – The Lumia 800 was the very first Lumia device unveiled by Nokia back at Nokia World on the 26th of October 2011. It was a redesign of their critically acclaimed N9 for Windows Phone and was one of the best Windows Phones at the time. It had a cheery design and was one of the first Windows Phones to feature manufacturer customisations with the store tile being replaced with a Nokia Logo. It heralded the start of Lumia domination of Windows Phone and admittedly, if not for this first step, Windows Phone may have crashed and burned years ago.
Lumia 900 -This was the phone that brought Windows Phone into the public eye for better or worse. With a large marketing campaign and the tagline “The beta test is over”, the Nokia Lumia 90 was the Windows Phone that both made and broke Windows Phone. It drew a spotlight to itself so that like Icarus, when it fell, it fell hard. The decision to ship the Lumia 900 as a flagship and then effectively EOL it before it was released in many countries led to many carriers chhsoing not to release it and adversely affected the growth of Windows Phone. Sometimes on twitter I stumble on a Windows Phone owner who is complaining bitterly about her phone lacking apps like Instagram or Vine. When I point them to the official apps, they reveal they have a 900 and the only thing I can say is “sorry”. That is the legacy of the 900, a brilliant phone doomed by poor timing.
Windows Phone 8X by HTC – This was the “Signature” Windows Phone device, even bearing the title of “Windows Phone” in it’s name. It was HTC’s last Windows Phone focused flagshipand one of the first Wndows Phone launch devices. It had the vibrant colours of the Lumias with none of the bulk and a decent camera and screen, In the end, it was pushed to the wayside and has yet to receive any official updates after the update to Windows Phone 8.1 (unless you count the Update 1 DP which was delivered in conjunction with HTC).
Lumia 920 /925/928– The Nokia Lumia 920 was the face of Windows Phone for two years. It was announced on the 5th of September of October and brought with it a series of firsts. It featured NFC, wireless charging, OIS and a beautiful HD screen . The 920’s influence can still be seen as it remained of the top 5 Windows Phones world wide till the end of 2014. The 925 and 928 were variants of the 920, with the latter being restricted to Verizon. Both featured improved cameras over the 920 with the Verizon 928 having a Xenon flash and the 925 having a six element lens. Both cameras would pale in the wake of the Lumia 1020.
Lumia 1020 – Codenamed EOS, this device was the Windows Phone flagship for much of 2013 and still remained relevant for much of 2014. At its core, one might say it was a camera focused variant of the 920 which is what made it so brilliant. The Lumia 1020 can only be described as one of-if not the very best- camera phones when speaking about pure picture quality. It may not have sold gangbusters, but it certainly provided a positive boost for Windows Phone publicity wise. It was also the first and only 64GB Windows Phone.
The Lumia 1520 – The Lumia 1520 was the king of Windows Phones when it came out. It was special because it was the first time Windows Phones weren’t behind in specs. It delivered the first Snapdragon 800 processor and full HD screen to the Windows Phone fans, and apart from the size, it was the first and only no-compromise Windows Phone. Unfortunately, the Windows Phone OS wasn’t quite ready for large phones and the UI and UX experience of the 1520 suffered terribly as a result. Currently, the 1520 is no longer being sold in many places, but rumour has it that MS is releasing a successor later this year with competitive specs though it is far too early to tell.
Lumia 520 – This was the phone that sent Windows Phone to the low-end. Originally overlooked because of its budget status, it went on to become the best selling Windows device according to Microsoft. It still dominates the charts till date, selling over 12 million devices by mid-2014. The little device was not a powerhouse by any means, but it was cheap and worked well with Windows Phone 8. Its specs were bottom of the barrel for Windows Phone, without being bottom of the barrel insulting. All in all, the Lumia 520 started the race to the bottom for Windows Phone while helping boost its sales. Whether that strategy will turn out successful in the long run remains to be seen.
Lumia 930/Icon – The Lumia Icon was originally a flagship for Verizon. It featured the powerful specs of the 1520 in a more compact body. It was originally released on Verizon Wireless in America and remains exclusive to the carrier until it was discontinued in October. The Lumia 930, which was essentially a GSM version of the Icon with colours was the worldwide version announced with Windows Phone 8.1. While the 930 was the Windows Phone 8.1 flagship, it was widely panned due to its lack of a wow factor compared to other Lumias. It didn’t have the best camera, design or features. While it was a great device, in the wider scheme of things, it was simply good at being average.
HTC One M8 for Windows – The HTC One M8 was a first for Windows Phone. It was the first time an OEM simply ported Windows Phone to not simply Android hardware, but to flagship Android hardware. For many Windows Phone users who would suffer from the lack of a flagship or new users who didn’t want to settle, the M8 provided a flagship when there was none. It has almost complete feature parity with its Android version and is the most powerful Windows Phone till date.
Microsoft Lumia 535 -This was the first Microsoft Lumia device after the Nokia buyout. It made up for the utterly pathetic 530 by doubling its storage, RAM, adding a decent front facing camera and an inch to the screen size. The 535 was a decent low-end option which sat squarely below the 635 and towered above the 530.
And these are what I believe are the most important Windows Phones ever to launch. Do you have a different opinion? That’s cool too. Be sure to share it in the comments below.