Nokia's Windows Phone Devices Won't Prove Blockbusters: Analyst

Nokia's Windows Phone models won't be smartphone blockbusters, according to an analyst. However, other data suggests a more positive response to the devices.

Despite some positive reviews for their sleek design, Nokia's new line of Windows Phone devices will fail to achieve blockbuster sales, according to an analyst.

"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.

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, at the equivalent of $376, while the Lumia 800 targets the higher end at $584. 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.

Other data, however, hints at more robust sales prospects for manufacturers producing smartphones with Microsoft's software. According to a new estimate from the blog All About Windows Phone, the platform could rack up 50,000 apps in its marketplace in January 2012.

Other studies have suggested an increased developer interest in 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 Research In Motion's BlackBerry OS as a subject of interest-making it the third mobile OS behind Apple's iOS and Google Android.

"Microsoft is enjoying symbiotic success with Nokia," read the summary of that report. "When asked why developers are more interested in Windows Phone 7 now than a year ago, a plurality (48 percent) said it was the Microsoft/Nokia partnership."

Earlier this year, Nokia made the somewhat controversial decision to abandon its homegrown operating systems, most notably Symbian, in favor of Windows Phone. With Microsoft's help, 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.

The stakes of failure are indeed high.

"Microsoft clearly understands the importance of having a viable mobile strategy," Charles King, primary analyst at Pund-IT, told eWEEK Nov. 21. However, it has also "not really paid the money nor taken the time to market [Windows Phone] properly." This has proved a serious mistake in the battle with Apple, widely acknowledged as a superior marketer, and the various Google Android manufacturers with their combined marketing efforts.

As a result, Windows Phone's market share has languished in the year since the platform's release. But Microsoft is pushing to change that, with its most recent "Mango" software update and the beginnings of what could eventually become a substantial marketing campaign.

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