Amazon stock is backordered, but shipping

Nokia Oyj. (HEL:NOK1V) hasn't put out any sales numbers yet on the Lumia 900 LTE smartphone, but suffice it to say that Windows Phone's "hero phone" is the platform's biggest hit to date, despite some early launch hiccups.

While it likely won't hold a candle to Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) 4 million iPhone 4Ss sold on launch week, Nokia appears to be struggling to keep pace with sizeable demand for the Lumia 900 LTE.  

Like the iPhone 4, that demand comes thanks in part to a slick form factor, which helped both phones overcoming connectivity firmware bugs (in Apple's case dropped calls, in Nokia's case dead data connections).

Lumia 900 in Hand (3/6)
(Click image to enlarge) [©: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC]
AT&T reports that the phone is sold out.  Secondary retailer, Inc. (AMZN) lists the devices as backordered with a 5-9 day shipping time.

The news came as Nokia was wrapping up its speed delivery of a crucial update/fix over Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Zune store, which will fix the connectivity issues afflicting some users.

These numbers are promising signs -- indeed, the phrases "sold out" and "Windows Phone" have seldom been mentioned before in the same sentence.  Looking ahead, two primary challenges face Microsoft and Nokia's increasingly promising alliance.

Lumia backordered
The Lumia 900 LTE is in high demand -- it's back-ordered at Amazon and sold out at AT&T.  Such success is a first for Windows Phone and the first good news for Nokia in a long time.

The first big challenge will be to expand the app selection.  While Windows Phone has over 70,000 apps available today, including thousands of games, it lacks some high profile titles -- for example Temple RunCut the Rope, and Words With Friends.  Behemoths Google Inc. (GOOG) and Apple, Inc. (AAPL) boast 400,000 and 600,000 apps respectively.

Aside from apps, Windows Phone needs visibility.  Microsoft has created an advanced user interface, a colorful, vibrant interface that not only looks good, but is pre-customized with much more useful notifications than stock Android or iOS builds.  Microsoft's OS also features an innovative hierarchical organization of apps, which makes finding your lesser-used apps or related apps less of a chore.  The problem is that most people are unaware that Windows Phone even exists; much less that Microsoft has thought so far outside the box and achieved such impressive results.

Cut the Rope
Microsoft must work to improve its app selection -- many high profile titles like "Cut the Rope" are missing from the platform, though there's thousands of great apps as well.
[Image Source: iTunes]

The lack of visibility and apps may fade in time.  Recall, Android's first two years on the market (2008-2009) saw it languish with only a small market share, and limited visibility as veteran firms Apple, Research in Motion, Ltd. (TSE:RIM), and -- ironically -- Nokia, duked it out.  Today, Microsoft is in a similar position to Google, and like Google it is staying patient and financially committed.

There's no guarantee that the union between Microsoft and Nokia will continue to bear fruit -- both companies have had their fair share of struggles in the consumer space.  But ultimately a rising Microsoft is good news for consumers, as it will spur competitive pricing and more aggressive user interface progress.

So the early sales success of the Lumia 900 LTE may prove good news not only for Microsoft, Nokia, and AT&T -- but for consumers as well.

Sources: Amazon, AT&T

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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