Nokia joins Microsoft Windows Phone 8 league: Will it gain

Telecom Lead America: Mobile phone major Nokia has launched Nokia Lumia 920 and 820, the first devices based on Microsoft  Windows Phone 8 platform from Nokia.

Though the company announced the new range, Nokia did not disclose the country specific launch plans and the price.

The launch is happening in the U.S. at a time when Samsung, the market leader in smartphone segment in America, is likely to face ban for some of its products.

Nokia said both phones will be available in pentaband LTE and HSPA+ variants and are expected to start shipping in select markets later in the year. Nokia will announce pricing and specific roll-out dates country by country when sales are due to begin.

Tony Cripps, principal analyst, devices and platforms, Ovum, said the decision to unveil its second generation Lumia devices in the US is extremely significant for the Finnish handset manufacturer, which has always struggled to make an impact in the country, even before the advent of Apple iPhone.

Crawford Del Prete, executive VP WW Products and chief research officer, IDC, said low light photography has been a weak point for smartphones. Nokia has addressed this with PureView to create real customer value. By applying its rich expertise in imaging Nokia has created a best of breed experience for everyday use.

Analysts said this is a notable launch for Microsoft, which needs to pull out all the stops to guarantee greater awareness and demand for Windows Phone 8 devices, among consumers, business users and carriers.

Ovum said despite recent gains, Windows Phone is not yet performing to its expectations. This is, at least, partially as a consequence of the strength of the opposition, but partly, as a deliberate move by Microsoft and its hardware partners to avoid flooding the market too quickly with the platform before they are in a position to play up its synergies with other Microsoft products, especially Windows 8 for PCs and tablets, and its business applications. The clear benefits to businesses from the ready integration possible across Microsoft’s products set will set a benchmark for BYOD strategies focused on out-of-box device capabilities once Microsoft’s full range of new platforms is available.

As for Nokia itself, the company’s focus on improving the imaging capabilities of its smartphones is a reasonable strategy in an age when meaningful differentiation between different makes of smartphone can be hard to identify. This also applies to the design language of the new Lumia 920, which while it follows closely that of its predecessor remains distinctive and not overly familiar as yet. There could be also a real opportunity here for Nokia and Microsoft to exploit any shortage of Samsung’s Android-powered smartphones in the market following the US court ruling against the Korean giant in its patent dispute with Apple, although anything too blatant on that front would seem like a low blow.

The Nokia Lumia 920 is the flagship Windows Phone 8 smartphone, including the latest advances in Nokia PureView imaging innovation. Using advanced floating lens technology, the camera in the Nokia Lumia 920 is able to take in five times more light than competing smartphones without using flash, making it possible to capture clear, bright pictures and video indoors and at night. It also compensates for hand movement while the photo is being taken.

Jo Harlow, executive vice president of Nokia Smart Devices, said the Nokia Lumia 920 also comes with Nokia City Lens, the latest addition to the Nokia location suite.

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