Nokia Lumia Wont Enter the World Quietly

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2012-03-29 Print this article Print


AT&T, meanwhile, is making sure that the Nokia Lumia doesn't enter the world quietly. The company plans a launch that will supposedly exceed the hype surrounding the launch of the iPhone. That's a lot of hype.

The next question is, will it matter?

After all, the conventional wisdom is that the iPhone is the King of the Phones, and nothing else will ever challenge it. But the fact is that there are many more people out there who don't use iPhones than those who do. As popular as the iPhone is, it's still in the minority.

What AT&T is doing is giving people a real choice in high-end phones, offering it at a significant price break, and it's aiming at the audience that wants a very good smartphone at a reasonable price. The choices now are the iPhone 4, a more expensive Android device or the Lumia, which costs nearly the same as the iPhone 4 but is by all accounts a better, faster device.

Does this mean that the iPhone will be knocked off its perch? Probably not.

The iPhone 4S and eventually the iPhone 5 will still be the cool phones to have, and if the coolness factor is what matters most to you, then there's no substitute. In reality, the Lumia 900 is competing with the dozens of Android devices out there, all relegated to slightly different niches due to the irreconcilable fragmentation that has overtaken Android.

Of course, Android phones are still selling by the gazillions every day, but unless something is done€”such as Google getting a handle on fragmentation€”the future is a sort of smartphone Tower of Babel. This helps Microsoft a great deal, since Android is the real competition. But it's not enough to make Nokia and Windows Phone the 500-pound gorilla in the smartphone business.

The real answer to dominance by Nokia is the unassuming Nokia 400 series phones, which will probably never see the light of day in the United States. The 400 series devices are decidedly low-end smartphones that are aimed at markets Apple will never see. As popular as Apple is in the United States, Western Europe and some parts of Asia, it's simply too expensive for the rest of the world. But the rest of the world is Nokia's strength.

There's no question that the Nokia Lumia 900 will sell well. T-Mobile appears to be selling a lot of the less expensive Lumia 710, and with time Windows Phone 7 will become an accepted alternative in the smartphone market in the United States.

It will probably never dominate, but it will be an important player.


Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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