MWC 2012: Nokia adds Lumia 900 and 610 to its Windows Phone portfolio. Transition prospects just got brighter
In addition to that crazy good 41 megapixel PureView 808 Symbian cameraphone, Nokia added two smartphones to its Windows Phone portfolio. The worldwide version of high end Lumia 900, and the cheapest yet – Lumia 610.
Nokia Lumia 900 doesn’t bring anything new to the U.S. AT&T version that was announced at CES. They just replaced LTE radio with dual cell HSDPA+ which should give you 42 Mbps download speeds, if your carrier supports it.
Nokia Lumia 900 is priced at EUR 480 before taxes and subsidies. Which, at 60 Euros more, sounds a tad expensive compared to Lumia 800. After all, we only get a bit bigger display and bigger battery to compensate for it. On the other hand, for many , including myself, the screen real estate is really important. So paying 60 Euro extra for it may not be such a big deal. And the price for Lumia 900 is bound to come down soon, as it already did for 800.
While we are talking about the price, at EUR 189 before taxes and subsidies, Nokia Lumia 610 really impressed me. Of course, Nokia had to make some trade-offs to get there. Lumia 610 comes with only 256MB of RAM and much slower, 800 MHz CPU.
And although Nokia says that its budget Windows Phone is running Windows 7.5, my guess is that it is Tango branch of WP. Nokia just couldn’t say so before Microsoft made its official announcement. With Windows Phone Tango you may not get to run all the apps available in Windows Phone marketplace on Lumia 610, and not all the features in the future WP upgrades will be available for it. But Nokia 610 is still a pretty snappy Windows Phone, and for that low price it should be interesting to many.
When Nokia reported Q4 2011 results, we learned that their new Windows Phone launch did not go so well. They were able to sell less then 1 million of new Lumia devices in 6 weeks they had before the end of the year. And if we look at overall Nokia smartphones sales – this quarter will be much worse. But, maybe, it will not be as bad as I feared.
Stephen Elop was pretty upbeat about how Lumia 710 is doing on T-Mobile U.S. I think he used the words “sales exceeded expectations” for the first time ever when talking about Lumia device. Before today he usually was only “satisfied and encouraged by the Lumia reception”.
By the end of March Lumia 710 and 800 will be shipping in many more markets than before, and for a full quarter. Lumia 900, hopefully, will also show up in AT&T stores. And then there is the upcoming China launch. On April 19th – when Nokia reports its Q1 2012 results, there might be quite a few good things to tell about the progress of the transition from Symbian to Windows Phone.
Of course, Symbian sales will crater as badly as I expect, maybe even below 16.7 million level of the summer 2011. But earnings reports are usually all about expectations. And in April there should be enough to tell about Nokia Windows Phones, that even very bad Q1 results could be overlooked. Maybe even without the empty bragging that afflicted Nokia since last October.
Overall, today I am more optimistic about the state of Nokia transition then I was before coming to Barcelona. With Lumia 610 at the low end and 900 at the high, with 800 and 710 in the middle – Nokia Windows phone portfolio should be enough until this fall. Then Windows Phone 8/Apollo ships, which in itself is a very interesting upgrade. And Nokia is on record, saying that Apollo is the first version of the OS that was developed with full involvement of Finnish engineers.
As Stephen Elop so likes to say, these will be “the first true Windows Phones” … for Nokia. And then the game will begin for real. There is even some hope, that Nokia will be able to bring PureView to its WP flagship.
Anyway, for now Nokia NWP strategy seems to be progressing well enough, to keep Nokia at #3 in smartphone market until this fall. Then, in a few months, we should know whether Elop was right or wrong to bet the company on Microsoft.