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Hot Lumia 900 phone may receive WP8 update, after all; Nokia's WP7.5 PureView 808 41 megapixel coming to U.S.

After a brutal year which saw investor faith in its board and executive leadership waivering, Finnish phonemaker Nokia Oyj (OMX:NOK1V) finally has some good news to report.  The company has at last wrapped its head around the U.S. carrier model, and is showing strong early gains for its troubles.

I. Tasting Success -- Nokia Sees Wild Lumia 900 Demand

The U.S. is the world's second largest smartphone market behind only China, but the U.S. remains the world's largest phone market in revenue.  Unlike some foreign markets where customers tend to seek out product on their own and buy unlocked handsets, most U.S. customers come in to the phone store not knowing much about the products (other than what little they've seen in television ads).  Thus it's up to the carriers to tell them what products they might want.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), maker of the Windows Phone 7 smartphone operating system which Nokia uses, suffered badly from this scheme.  Due in part to lacking outreach to carriers, most carriers who had Windows Phones made no effort to sell them, versus the Apple, Inc. (AAPL) iPhones and Android flagship phones which they trumpeted to customers.

Of course, part of the problem might have been that they did not have a Windows Phone worth selling.  Most hardware makers like Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) relegated more demure designs to Windows Phone, while saving their most eye-catching products for Android.

But Nokia changed that, when it launched the eye-catching Lumia 900.  Thanks to a strong commitment from America's second largest carrier, AT&T, Inc. (T), customers began to hear about a "new" operating system -- Windows Phone.

Lumia 900 in Hand (3/6)
Nokia can't keep up with cyan Lumia 900 demand. [©: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC]
Nokia U.S. President Chris Weber confirms in a PC Magazine interview, that sales of the Lumia 900 are so strong that Nokia is facing something it hasn't faced in a long time globally -- or perhaps ever in the U.S. -- it can't keep up with demand.

States Mr. Weber, "Demand has been outstripping supply for the first couple of weeks, and we've been working hard to rectify that.  The demand for cyan [phones] is significantly outpacing supply. When you give people something different from a design perspective—colors, etc. —it really stands out, and consumers want that."

II. Nokia's Followup, PureView 808, Will Land Shortly in the U.S.

At last tasting success and eyeing a recovery in its post-Symbian era, Nokia isn't content to rest on that success.  Mr. Weber confirms that the Windows Phone variant of the PureView 808 will soon arrive in the U.S.  He comments, "We'll figure out a way to make that available in the U.S. in the next couple of months."
Nokia PureView
The Nokia PureView 808 [Image Source: Nokia; Modifications: Jason Mick/DailyTech]

Mr. Weber says the early plan is to sell it unlocked to customers.  The phone will be a HSPA+ design, compatible with AT&T's network.

If Nokia is wise, it will try to work out an arrangement with AT&T to feature the unlocked handset in AT&T stores.  

Like the cyan Lumia 900 the PureView 808 is an eye-catching design.  In a market full of bland, relatively uniform handsets, the PureView 808 is an exception to the rule.  It's slender, but at its crest, a bulbous camera module rises up from the smooth back-face.  

The camera is a 41 megapixel design, and the sensor itself is estimated to be 4-5x the size of the sensor found in the Apple iPhone 4S, one of the largest sensors in a currently available handset.

III. Verizon and Nokia Appear to be in Talks

But Nokia's fragile young sucess needs a key element to grow -- access to America's largest carrier Verizon Wireless.  Verizon -- a joint venture between Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) and Vodafone Group Plc. (LON:VOD) -- has warmed to the Windows Phone ecosystem in recent months, surely taking note of AT&T's strong commitment and the distinctive new Nokia designs.

Mr. Weber states, "We're not making any announcements, but we understand the importance of Verizon and we're working hard to make that a reality."

Verizon Banner
[Image Source: Hot Cell Phones]

In other words, Nokia and Verizon are in talks -- not terribly surprising given that Verizon recently called Windows Phone a key "third ecosystem".  Verizon's adoption of Android helped propel the platform from 1 percent market share in 2009 to roughly 50 percent of U.S. phone sales last year.  Now it may give Windows Phone a similar boost.

The PureView 808 seems the most logical choice for an exclusive handset, given that it's Nokia's highest profile handset other than the Lumia 900, which can be safely assumed to be an AT&T exclusive for the time being.  Even if Nokia could slide its way out of exclusivity with AT&T, it still is barely keeping up with that carrier's sales, so a Verizon Lumia 900 seems less likely than a Verizon PureView 808.

IV. Lumia 900 May Receive Windows Phone 8 Update

Now that Nokia is starting to see Windows Phone success, it must also beware burning bridges with its new customers.  In that regard their was much alarm that the company might be denying Lumia 900 an upgrade to Windows Phone 8 or "Apollo" as it's codenamed.

In reality, this speculation may prove unfounded.

Hardware-wise there's no clear reason why the Lumia 900 or PureView 808 would be incapable of handling the new operating system.  And it's important to bear in mind that for all the rumors, Windows Phone 8 has not been officially announced by Microsoft.  The only confirmation of any kind comes from third parties like Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) and Leap Wireless Internation, Inc.'s (LEAP) carrier subsidy Cricket, both of whom expressed enthusiasm about the upcoming platform.

Windows Phone 8 is -- according to these rumors or leaks -- going to land in September or October.

Microsoft and Nokia are mum on the release.  But Mr. Weber did give a comment that leaves hope that Nokia may provide an upgrade path for users.  He comments, "Both Nokia and Microsoft understand the importance for consumers to keep their devices fresh and updated. Without any announcements being made, we're working to make sure people have fresh and updated experiences on any device they may have."
So if the time comes and Nokia denies customers an update, perhaps then its fair to grouse.  But for now, Mr. Weber's words suggest that customers and potential buyers should follow the famous advice of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy -- "Don't panic."

Source: PC Magazine

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RE: Wild demand?
By diplomat696 on 5/12/2012 11:12:29 PM , Rating: 1
first of all Nokia is and never has been a "cheapo" brand of phones. The quality of work they produce surpasses anything almost all other manufacturers put out there. They innovate not duplicate/replicate android devices....,2817,2404122,
Best screen for outdoor use = lumia 900 due to their innovation!!

The guy was right regarding why MS has not allowed cheap brands and has kept tight controls on the early versions of the OS. Being that it is a less than 2 years old as of now and that they are only just starting to expand the customer base they want the experience to be fluid and enjoyed not "ohh shit I have to reset my handset again because my malware infected app is giving me problems and had not been properly vetted before it was side loaded onto my hand set ala android.

If google had any sense they might realize that a fractured eco system for their phones is not good and try to fix it while they still have a chance.

Basically everyone I talk to about android who owns an android phone says they have problems, bad battery life (because they have no phone/os optimization), random freezes or need to reset the phone. Yes they love all the apps but they also had no education when it came to actually picking a phone in the first place.

The best line I ever heard in a cell phone store was at AT&T a sales guy talking to a woman probably in her late 30's his reason for why she should buy an android phone was "there are tons more hand sets" wow I didn't realize I should buy an android phone because then I can look at all the other hand sets I didn't buy and droool and troll on ms websites to say how they suck lol.

I would put money on most people being 100% satisfied if they switched from an android phone to a windows phone and the kicker is that they have not even started in with phones that are close on the specs of android phones. At that point google might start to sweat because the experience right now is as good or better on wp7 and I hate to think how much better it will be once u get a wp8 with a pureview camera sensor running 1080p on a smooth dual core processor as well as the fact that with the release of wp8 for desktop pcs you are going to have a ton of devs coding apps for metro already, I am confident this will translate to much more support for wp8 as well in terms of the main stream apps it is missing right now.

Enjoy it while u can android fanbois, wp is comin and theres nothing you can do to stop it :)

RE: Wild demand?
By Reclaimer77 on 5/13/2012 1:31:30 AM , Rating: 2
They innovate not duplicate/replicate android devices....

LOL umm, you know the Lumia 900 has Samsung parts in it right? That "best screen"? Yeah, Samsung SAMOLED+ technology born and bread. But yup, Samsung doesn't innovate at all. They only make the screens and memory and other components for just about every call phone out there.

Samsung spent a record $9 billion in R&D in 2011. But okay, keep fooling yourself into thinking they "duplicate/replicate".

Honestly your post is so fanboish and childish this as far as I'm going. I don't understand what it is about smartphones that brings out the worst in people, but it's depressing.

RE: Wild demand?
By themaster08 on 5/13/2012 4:10:16 AM , Rating: 5
At the same time, Nokia have probably done more for the mobile phone industry than any other manufacturer.

Nokia was one of the main developers of the GSM standard, long before the mobile phone market was even a twinkle in Samsung's and Apple's eyes.

RE: Wild demand?
By Reclaimer77 on 5/13/2012 9:48:52 AM , Rating: 1
And Samsung pretty much developed the 3G wireless standard, and who knows what else. I mean we could do this all day. But I'm not going to argue with you or run Nokia down. Nokia was truly a pioneer in the early days and definitely made a contribution to help us get where we are today. Although I think you're exaggerating a bit, given that Samsung's first cellular car-phone was released in 1986.

I just take exception to his assertion that their quality is so amazing that the Lumia 900 cannot be matched and that everyone else is "cloners and duplicators".

RE: Wild demand?
By Skywalker123 on 5/13/2012 5:26:02 PM , Rating: 3
"I don't understand what it is about smartphones that brings out the worst in people, but it's depressing."

Take your meds and lie down.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

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