Nokia World 2011 brought Nokia’s first Windows Phone devices to center stage. The lower end device, the Lumia 710, sports a 1.4GHz processor, a 3.7″ 800×480 pixel display, a 5MP camera with 720p video recording, and a 1,300mAh battery. It is expected to retail for around 270 EUR. The higher end device, the Lumia 800, is essentially the N9 running Windows Phone 7. It also sports a 1.4GHz processor, 3.7″ ClearBlack display, 8MP camera, and a 1540mAh battery. The Lumia 800 will ship for around 420 EUR. Both devies will ship later this year to France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK, Hong Kong, India, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan. Noticeably absent, the United States.
Alright alright, hold on a second. Nokia does have a pretty aggressive rollout plan over the next two months. WP7-Nokia devices will shortly launch in several strategic countries. However, Nokia smartphones have never been strongly adopted in the US. That is a significant issue. The American market is one of the most important international markets and Nokia is not making it a priority to appease US carriers and consumers.
Granted I can not ignore Nokia’s comment on the United States launch.
Nokia also announced its plans to introduce a portfolio of products into the US in early 2012 and into mainland China in the first half of 2012. In addition to the existing products, which include coverage for WCDMA and HSPA, Nokia also plans LTE and CDMA products to address specific local market requirements.
Clearly Nokia is working hard to gain traction in the United States. However, enough is enough. How many times can Nokia delay rollout in the US. The N9 was an extremely appealing device when it was announced. A couple days later it was confirmed the N9 would never come to the US. This comes when many American journalists were particularly interested in the N9. Nokia had a chance to reclaim some market share and they balked.
Many of the most successful smartphone launches occur in the United States. Look at the iPhone. Apple has always focused on the US market and has consistently recorded blockbuster sales in the US. Why? Regardless of where you fall on the iPhone debate it is clear Apple does an exceptional job marketing their US product launches. The success the iPhone gains in the US trickles down to Apple’s international markets. The hype is built in the US and spreads across the world. Nokia is trying to build hype world-wide and then attack the US market. A strategy they tried with symbian powered smartphones. A strategy that failed.
By the time Nokia launches a WP7 device in the United States several dual-core, LTE android devices will hit the market. Moreover, I wouldn’t be surprised if 4G WP7 devices ship by then as well. In 2012 it could be too late for a newcomer to shake up the market. There is no doubt in my mind that Nokia builds extremely good hardware but the question remains, when will US consumers finally get their hands on that hardware? Whenever it launches, it better be impressive. And whenever it launches there better be several carrier-subsidized choices available.