LAS VEGAS—Nokia is launching its comeback into the U.S. market by launching its new high-end Lumia 900 smartphone on AT&T's 4G LTE network.
The Lumia 900, like all recent high-end Nokia devices, runs the Microsoft Windows Phone 7 operating system, with Nokia betting the house on the platform after its two previous software initiatives—Symbian and MeeGo—fell flat.
"We believe that the industry has shifted from a battle of devices, to a war of ecosystems," said Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, explaining his firm's decision to stand wholeheartedly behind Microsoft, a company in which Elop was once a senior executive.
Nokia Stephen Elop holds up the company's new Lumina 900 smartphone at a CES press event Monday (Jan. 9).
"Lumia is aimed at the heart of our strategy and the need to engage in this war of ecosystems," he added, saying the phone would be available imminently, but without announcing a release date or price point.
"We're going after this market and we really want to make a difference," said Elop, throwing down the gauntlet to Nokia's competitors and signaling the firm's intent to finally crack the North American market in 2012.
Nokia already has a strong base in Europe, and says it plans to also pursue more significant market opportunities in China and Latin America.
Joining Elop on stage, Elop's former Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer called the Lumia "a fantastic system," and predicted the collaboration between the two firms would really "pay off."
AT&T Mobility's CEO, Ralph De La Vega also gushed over the Lumia 900, saying it combined "the best of Nokia's past with a terrifically bright future," and saying it was "built around people, not apps."
With its large battery capable of 1,830 milliamp hours of power, Nokia said the phone would be a true differentiator on AT&T's LTE network.
Despite staking its claim on the high end, Elop also reminded the audience that Nokia's lower end ASHA line of handsets were thriving in 76 markets globally, and that consumers were really responding to it.
Nokia is also touting what it believes to be its superior mapping capabilities, especially its Nokia Drive application developed for the firm by Navteq, acquired by the Finnish phonemaker several years back.
"We own it, which is great... This is an opportunity for significantly achieving differentiation for Nokia," Elop said. -- Additional reporting by David Benjamin, EE Times. contributor
I'm a user of Nokia phone...I like Nokia because the products are very rugged and reliable. But if I want to buy a latest smart phone (available in India) for my use, I would rather buy "Galaxy Note" from Samsung than a Nokia Lumia 800...I haven't seen Lumia 900, but based on Lumia 800 experience, I agree with @eewiz, being late in the tough market, Nokia should come out with something more innovative.
The success of the alliance will not be solely depending on how great Microsoft Mobile 7 is. It requires leveraging the goodies from both companies to create the greatest. Nokia is famous in mobile phone market. In addition, they are really good at human technology that they have created a fantastic Man-Machine Interface for their mobile phones for years. Only by building a strong relationship with Microsoft and leveraging their technologies, Nokia will thrive again.
One thing positive for Nokia is its big market presence in many developing countries like India and China. It can leverage that base with new products BUT has to compete on price, features and service. These are tough markets where smartphone business is still a high end market. Nokia can change that, just like it did in the early days of mobile market in these countries.
@pjduncan: I have an Android smartphone and an Android tablet, both of which work quite well with Google Navigation. It is not the greatest navigation tool but works. There are more than 20 navigation tools for the Android market and I tried one of the open source tools. You need to download maps of areas you need to navigate with which can be several Gigabytes.
And beyond that Microsoft will have to address the stigma that their OSs are too bloated to ever compete in a resources constrained environment (the primary constraint in this case being battery capacity), not to mention the frequent crashes and reboots MS users have gotten accustomed to. Hmm. Late to the party, underpowered, bloated OS, proprietary OS--We'll see if they can get off the ground.
Lumia 900(single core CPU)--Too little too late. If they want to take the market back from Apple and Google, then they should come with something as innovative as iPhone was, at its release time. Not just me too features.
Maps could create a differentiation, but the problem is Google and Apple,with its c3 acquisition, is far ahead of Nokia.
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