Nokia and T-Mobile could announce a Windows Phone device for the U.S. market next week, if an event invitation sent to media is any indication.
That invite for the Dec. 14 event in New York City suggests "something exciting in the works," and is otherwise bereft of detail. Nonetheless, the combination of carrier and manufacturer suggests that a Windows Phone could indeed be in the unveiling.
Nokia's latest Windows Phone devices, the Lumia 710 and 800, are both handsomely constructed. The Lumia 710 is priced as more of a midmarket phone, while the Lumia 800 targets the higher end of the price range. That certainly makes them more expensive than many midrange Android devices on the market, although carrier subsidies and other incentives will presumably lower that buy-in cost.
Earlier this year, Nokia abandoned its homegrown operating systems, including Symbian, in favor of Windows Phone. Both the Lumia 710 and 800 run the latest variant of Microsoft's smartphone platform. With that software in place, the Finnish phone maker hopes to retain its global presence in the face of fierce competition from both Apple's iPhone and Google Android devices.
But Nokia also has a negligible presence in the U.S. market, something the company desperately wants to change. Part of that strategy will, inevitably, involve partnering with carriers, such as T-Mobile, to release new devices here. The only question is whether the T-Mobile smartphone set for unveiling next week is either of the Lumia models, or else something entirely new.
Adding potential fuel to the rumor mill, Nokia is also reportedly pushing through the first system update to its Lumia 800, tweaking email and other features such as power efficiency. According to Phone Scoop, another update will arrive for the high-end Windows Phone device in "early 2012."
Renewed interest in Windows Phone is driving more developers to the platform, at least according to a recent estimate from the blog All About Windows Phone, the platform could rack up 50,000 applications in its marketplace in January 2012.
Other studies have suggested an increased developer curiosity about Windows Phone, following news of Microsoft's alliance with Nokia to create new devices for the platform. According to Appcelerator and research firm IDF, which surveyed 2,160 Appcelerator Titanium developers earlier in November, Windows Phone has eclipsed RIM's BlackBerry OS as a subject of interest-making it the third mobile OS behind Apple's iOS and Google Android.
But other analysts have taken a more negative view. "With no breakthrough innovation, we believe Nokia's new phones are unlikely to get traction in a highly concentrated high end," James Faucette, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities, wrote in a research note quoted by The New York Times Nov. 22. With that in mind, he set Nokia Windows Phone sales for the quarter to 500,000 units, down from his previous projection of 2 million.