LAS VEGAS - As part of its major push at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, Nokia announced a new high-end smartphone running the Windows Phone operating system: the Lumia 900.
The smartphone, which will make its debut on AT&T "in the coming months," features a 4.3-inch active-matrix organic LED (AMOLED) display (with 800x400 resolution) and 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) support, along with a 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. It runs Windows Phone Mango, the latest version of Microsoft's smartphone software.
"We've recreated the popular polycarbonate unibody design pioneered by the Nokia N9 and the Nokia Lumia 800 for this new, bigger model," read a Jan. 9 note on the Conversations by Nokia blog, referring to two earlier high-end Nokia smartphones. "It's really hard to do it any damage from our experience here."
Nokia is making a huge bet with Windows Phone, having abandoned various homegrown operating systems (including Symbian) in favor of Microsoft's offering. If that bet pays off, the Finnish phone maker could revive its fortunes in the face of significant competition from the likes of Google Android and the Apple iPhone.
If the bet fails, and users fail to gravitate toward Nokia's latest offerings, then the company is in significant trouble. However, not all its chips rest on a single high-end device: the Lumia 710, a midmarket device with a 3.7-inch screen (also 800x400 resolution) and a 1.4GHz Snapdragon processor, is slated to appear on T-Mobile Jan. 11. In that instance, Nokia and the carrier are marketing the device based on price-$49 with a two-year contract-as opposed to any high-end specs.
Shortly after Nokia unveiled the Lumia 900, analysts leapt to judge its market prospects.
"This device signals several things: firstly, that Nokia's serious about the U.S., launching arguably the flagship Lumia device in the U.S. before the rest of the world," Jan Dawson, an analyst for research and consulting firm Ovum, wrote in a Jan. 9 statement. "Secondly, that Nokia has the clout with Windows Phone to allow it to be first to market with an LTE device; and thirdly, that AT&T is now seriously into the business of offering LTE phones."
Microsoft and its hardware partners are expected to unveil a number of next-generation Windows Phone devices at CES. Even before Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took the stage Jan. 9 for his keynote address, his company announced the HTC Titan II, a 4G LTE-capable device also on AT&T. Of all those companies flashing mobile hardware powered by Microsoft, however, few have more riding on the platform's success than Nokia.