The Nokia Lumia 900, Nokia's high-end smartphone bet with Microsoft and its Windows Phone mobile operating system, is selling well in many locations and, in some spots, selling out. However, this rosy picture is being painted by a spokesperson for the Finnish phone maker.
While Nokia announced April 19 that during its (financially painful) first quarter it sold only 2 million Lumia smartphonesmost of them lower-end Lumia units, as the 900 only arrived in the United States on the AT&T network April 8the 900 is now sold out in many locations, according to an email circulated by a Nokia spokesperson.
Addressing what he said were a lot of questions about the Lumia 900 over the last few days, Nokia's Keith Nowak wrote that "the biggest question, and the short answer, is that demand for the Nokia Lumia 900 has been such that, while the Lumia 900 can still be found at some locations, we have also seen reports of stock-outs at locations (and online channels) across the countrydespite regular shipments to restock stores."
Seemingly wanting to quell any suspicions that Nokia is keeping stock low in hopes of sold-out bragging rights, Nowak emphasized, "We are building and shipping devices constantlyso stores are receiving more units to fulfill demand on a regular basis."
However, the Lumia 900 has only been available for a few weeks and there are no independent reports about how many units Nokia has shipped or what the sales figures are at this time.
Nowak also confirmed that the "gloss white" version of the Lumia 900, which debuted in cyan and black, made its official debut in stores April 22.
The buildup to the Lumia 900 has been tremendous, beginning with Nokia's February 2011 announcement that the company had formed a strategic alliance with Microsoft, after years of backing the ailing Symbian OS.
"[We] have the opportunity to disrupt the current trajectory in the battle of ecosystems," Stephen Elop, his CEO business cards still wet, told the crowd at the London event that February morning, after being joined on stage by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. "We have a formidable plan to ensure our collective leadership in the smartphone market and in the ecosystem that surrounds it. Our long-term strategic alliance will build a global ecosystem that creates opportunities beyond anything that currently exists."
With Nokia market share falling every quarter, Nokia raced to design hardware that couldunlike recent past effortsexcite U.S. consumers. Microsoft raced to build out the ecosystem of its newly designed Windows Phone mobile operating system, to the point of paying developers to create and contribute favorite consumer apps, The New York Times reported earlier this month.
When the first reviews emerged, early users found it ¦ nice. The hardware stands out in a lineup, while the OS felt modern and fresh to some but buggy to others. Plus, it was Long-Term Evolution (LTE) compatible but just $99.
"I'll say it loud and say it proud: I love my Windows Phone," Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps wrote in an April 5 blog post, suggesting Nokia tweak its business strategy and go after current Research In Motion subscribers instead of first-time smartphone users.
(Nokia has since told eWEEK that it believes it can go after both.)
Now, Nokia is balancing a hurting bottom lineit posted a net loss of $2 billion during its first quarterwith building encouragement from U.S. carriers, who want a third ecosystem to support and an antidote to the expensive-to-support Apple iPhone.
Who wins the battle for third place, between RIM and Nokia, Pund-IT analyst Charles King has told eWEEK, "may have more to do with the former's perceived weakness than the latter's strength and ambition."
Announcements like Nowak's may help to further such perceptions.
Nokia fans today also put Nokia's name in the air, reporting that the Lumia 710 and 800 will soon receive firmware updates enabling them to tether, or offer a connection, to other WiFi-capable handsets.