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Nokia, Microsoft, AT&T Team To Promote 41MP Smartphone

New York — Microsoft, AT&T and Nokia will pool their resources “to create a consistent campaign” to promote Nokia’s Lumia 1020 smartphone, featuring a 41-megapixel camera.

The smartphone’s camera promises to let consumers take pictures first and “zoom later” to frame their shots. The LTE-equipped 1020 will be available July 26 at $299 exclusively on the AT&T network. Indirect retailers will also offer the device on July 26, AT&T told TWICE.

 During the launch event here, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop promised to improve his company’s U.S. marketing and promotion performance starting with the 1020 launch, which will include improved salesperson training and better in-store promotion.

AT&T Mobility president/CEO Ralph de la Vega turned up at the event to endorse the device, calling it the “best Windows phone that has ever been made” and the “best smartphone camera ever.”

Other smartphones in the U.S. boast a maximum of 13-megapixel imaging sensors.

Although Nokia launched a 41-megapixel Symbian-based smartphone outside the U.S. last year, the Lumia 1020 is promoted as exceeding its predecessor’s performance by adding multiple features, including backside illumination (BSI) to deliver clearer, brighter pictures in low-light conditions. Other enhancements include optical-image stabilization, which in the 1020 uses ball bearings and tiny motors to stabilize the lens to deliver blur-free pictures with high detail in low-light conditions.

Microsoft called the 7,712- by 5,360-pixel image sensor “the largest backside illuminated image sensor of its kind in any smartphone.”

The phone’s Xenon flash, combined with BSI and optical-image stabilization, will enable users to take action pictures in low-light conditions without blurring the action as the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4 do, said Elop, who showed the same picture taken by the 1020, iPhone 5 and S4.

Also to demonstrate the camera’s resolution, the company zoomed in on a picture taken by the 1020 of a needle in a haystack to reveal the eye of the needle.

Like its predecessor, the 1010 will take 38-megapixel 4:3 pictures with 7,136 by 5,340 resolution and 34-megapixel 16:9 pictures with 7,712 by 4,352 resolution. Also like before, the camera will simultaneously save two images, one of which will be a 5-megpixel oversampled picture that can be quickly uploaded via LTE to a social-network site or sent as a multimedia message or email attachment. The oversampling technology combines up to 7 pixels into one superpixel, hardware specialist Tuomas Punta told TWICE.

The phone’s camera features six lenses versus the usual four to five in phones with cameras and comes with f/2.2 Carl Zeiss optics, which maintains its aperture throughout the zoom range unlike SLRs, he said.

For picture taking, the camera lets users zoom up to three times with no loss, and for 1080p 30 fps video capture, it lets users zoom in up to four times with no loss. Users can zoom in up to six times with no loss the capture 720p video.

The device features dual microphones to capture stereo audio and a technology called Nokia Rich Recording, said to handle sound pressure levels six times louder than conventional smartphone microphones.

When users change camera settings, the phone’s display will change in real time to display the way the picture will come out.

As a smartphone, the Lumia 1020 features 4.5-inch WXGA 1,280 by 768 Corning Gorilla Glass 3 touchscreen, Snapdragon 1.5GHz dual-core CPU, 2GB RAM and 32GB memory.

The phone will be available in yellow, black and white.

In other comments, AT&T’s de la Vega boasted that AT&T activates more Windows phones than any other U.S. carrier.