Nokia's tight Windows Phone 8 release window just got tighter

Summary:Nokia is already feeling the pressure. But for Windows Phone 8 -- the company's last short-term hope -- its already tight release window just got tighter. Enter the big dogs.

Nokia could -- and likely will -- announce its next wave of Windows Phone 8 devices at Nokia World in September, according to a Bloomberg report.

For Nokia, relevance is everything. Right now, it has about zilch -- and that's me saying that in a good mood. 

Screen Shot 2012-08-06 at 13.13.13
Windows Phone 8. Image credit: CNET.

September will be a busy month for the mobile market.

So far we have Samsung poised to announce "something big" for September 1 -- hopefully not its ego -- and a rumored Apple announcement pegged for September 12 , where the highly-anticipated iPhone 5 will likely be paraded in front of a small, hand-picked selection of the media.

Slap bang in between the two announcements, we have Nokia pitching its latest and greatest on September 5--6, said the report citing a "person with knowledge of the matter."

(It wouldn't such a bad guess considering Nokia did exactly that last year at Nokia World 2011 in London.) Plus, the date was pushed forwards by a couple of weeks from its initial September 25-26, likely due to pressure from other manufacturers' product launches -- though this is my own personal conjecture.

Timing is absolutely crucial; it goes without saying.

Microsoft is putting a load of its eggs in the Nokia basket. The Finland-based phone maker -- (note how I no longer call it a "giant") -- sold only four million Lumia smartphones  in the past quarter, say compared to Samsung selling 10 million Galaxy S III smartphones in one month -- and that was just one model. It needs to position itself at a time in the late-calendar year to park its smartphones in store shelves to reap the greatest rewards, even if the goods aren't actually that appealing.

ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley reports that despite a release-to-manufacturing (RTM) timetable  thought to be poised for around September , the  developer SDK for Windows Phone 8 has yet to be released . Developers have already a squeezed timetable to get their apps ready for the new release, but Microsoft is hardly giving much room for manouver.

Considering the mobile operating system won't be ready until September, the likelihood of its release next month are slim-to-none. Nokia's plan: announce, but don't launch. To make matters worse, it would have to sandwich its announcement in between the two largest players in the market. 

Knuckling down: Nokia has a window of a few weeks to make a difference. Ahead of the Christmas sales where manufacturers aim to knock out a few gadgets and devices ahead of the holiday rush, Nokia is pushing for a round-about release date of mid-to-late September or early October.

The trouble is that everyone else is, too. Nokia could easily find itself drowned out in the hype and excitement of the bigger and stronger brands. Apple and Samsung continue to dominate market share rankings, and Windows Phone, despite its 277 percent growth in share in the past year , remains merely a blip on the radar. Even RIM's BlackBerry has more share than Microsoft. Symbian has more share, for crying out loud. Symbian.

As strange as it sounds, despite my little knowledge of the situation compared to Foley, Microsoft reporting legend, the closer to Windows 8's launch it can get -- the better. At least by then the hype of the iPhone may have died down, and the price factor could bridge the gap between Samsung's semi-expensive models and Apple's just-plain-expensive models. It could even slipstream off the back of Windows 8's launch -- the two operating systems share much of the same visuals -- boosting the phone's initial sales figures.

In the meantime, Nokia's third-quarter will remain "difficult, difficult, lemon difficult" (along with ZDNet's Andrew Nusca's comments , how fitting?), but whether or not Nokia is too far behind to catch up with the top dogs remains a question on many analysts' minds.

Nokia said it does "not comment on speculation," so we'll just have to sit tight, get the popcorn on, and wait for the fireworks. Nokia's next move could surprise us, or condemn itself to the pits of eternal sales damnation. 

And there goes my good mood. 

Topics: Nokia, Mobile OS, Windows

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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