Nokia's Lumia 900 launch: Can it crank up the unit volume?

Nokia's Lumia 900 launch: Can it crank up the unit volume?

Summary: Nokia's Lumia 900 launch is respectable, but can the company move enough units to turn the company around.


Nokia's Lumia 900 on AT&T is currently an Amazon best seller. An Easter Sunday quiet launch rebounded on Monday. And perhaps Nokia, AT&T and Microsoft can make Windows Phone devices a player in the U.S. The big question for Nokia watchers revolves around one word: Volume.

Can Nokia make enough Lumias around the world to turn around the company?

When Apple launches a new iPhone it's a short waiting game to see the release noting that the company sold a million units. The unfortunate reality for the rest of the smartphone players is that 1 million units in any market takes a while.

Swedbank analyst Håkan Wranne sums up the volume issue:

The Nokia story is all about Windows phone volumes at the moment and as the company is putting its entire marketing muscle behind the project we feel confident that it will ship decent volumes this year. Whether Nokia will be a long-term success story is anyone’s guess at this point but in the short-term Lumia volumes is the key.

In other words, Nokia needs phones in the field everywhere. The smartphone manufacturing game revolves around scale. If you don't make enough units you're toast. Ask HTC, Motorola, RIM or any other smartphone maker not named Apple or Samsung.

CNET: Review: Nokia Lumia 900 (black, AT&T) | ZDNET: Can Microsoft change the Windows Phone app conversation? | Review: Can the Nokia Lumia 900 win over business users? | The Nokia Lumia 900 will be a hot seller on AT&T (review and gallery)

Wranne said he expects Nokia to ship a "respectable" 27 million Windows Phone units in 2012. In Europe, the Lumia launches seem solid. Nokia just launched the Lumia in China. And Nokia is setting up other markets such as Canada.

If---and that's a big if---Nokia can make a splash in the U.S. it can use that momentum going forward. And the stars are lined up for Nokia. Carriers and retailers want more leverage on Apple and its hefty subsidy costs.

Deutsche Bank analyst Kai Korschelt said that the Lumia 900 launch with AT&T may tell the tale of 2012.

With strong carrier support and growing consumer interest in the device, we estimate up to 680k quarterly unit sales are possible vs. estimated bear case sales of only 140k. Yet we remain concerned about high competitive intensity and lack of general consumer interest in the Windows Phone OS.

Korschelt's assumptions on Nokia units are notable. Here's his rationale:

We estimate AT&T currently sells ~10m smartphones per quarter, of which the iPhone makes up c. 80%, with Android and Blackberry capturing the balance. If we assume the Lumia 900 could convert 5% of iphone sales, 15% of Android and 20% of Blackberry sales, then Nokia could ship ~680k quarterly units at AT&T.

If those assumptions don't play out, Nokia may only ship 140,000 units in the quarters ahead. Certainly, Nokia can poach a few BlackBerry customers. The big wild card is whether Nokia can swipe a few iPhone and Android loyalists.


Topics: Mobile OS, Hardware, Mobility, Nokia, Operating Systems, Smartphones, Software, Windows

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  • Probably not

    At least not according to this:

    Edit: Wow, one link to Ars gets me -4. Couldn't be fanbois trying to suppress information/views they do not like could it? Noooooo.
    • That is more of an AT&T issue

      than an issue with the OS or hardware. And I say that because according to the article you posted that AT&T is the one holding the updates back. Say what you will about Apple one thing you have to give them props for is getting rid of carrier involvement when it comes to OS updates. Microsoft did fail in one thing and that was allowing the carriers to dictate the delivery of any updates.
      • Since the MS fanbois supressed the original post with the link...

        I will post it here too.

        I hope you do not mind
      • It's all about the Ecosystem

        As Stephen Elop will tell you (Google if you are not familiar with him), it's all about the Ecosystem (and the EcoSystem most assuredly includes the Cellular provider i.e. AT&T) . At least until the Lumia 900 is not exclusive to AT&T ( I thought I heard 3 months on that, but I am not 100% sure). So, even if Lumia 900 is great, it could suffer under AT&T part of the Ecosystem. Time will tell.
    • Why only WP7?

      According to the article you shouldn't really buy any phone other than the iPhone at AT&T. Why just single out WP7? It seems to me it is just as much a problem if not moreso on the android side of things.
      • Reading comprehension?

        "It might seem harsh to warn against buying the Lumia 900 on account of poor after-sales updates and upgrades. After all, Android has a similar problem, and it's been very successful. Indeed, Android's problem is even worse; Microsoft has shown with Mango that it is at least possible to produce a widely available Windows Phone update, which is something Google still hasn't pulled off for its operating system. So the situation certainly isn't as bad as it could be."

        "The problem is Microsoft promised something better: the hardware availability and flexibility of Android, with the robust and universal upgrading of iOS. Apple doesn't let anyone, not even AT&T or Telefonica, stand in the way of its iOS updates. That's the standard to aspire to, and it's the standard Microsoft alluded to. Accordingly, it's the standard the company should be held to: being merely "better than Android" isn't good enough."
    • Not like ars technica

      is any pillar of tech truth or whatever.

      Their "reviews' are more opinion then anything else, as in "our opinion matters, yours doesn't".

      If they don't like the fact that the sky is blue, then thats your problem, not theirs.
      William Farrel
      • Shooting the messenger?

        Standard fanboi fare.
    • This is fun

      Fanbois trying to suppress my link to Ars. Here you go:
      • The site showed as infected with malware

        Just saying
      • Spreading FUD much?


        Just saying
      • The link is really irrelevant

        It's NOT a real tech site and the article itself points to AT&T's issues rather than any issues with the hardware OR software. Do you have any other link that backs up the conclusions of the Arstechnica link or is this the only link you can find that fits your theory?
  • Around the World

    That's the significant line right there. Nokia wants a solid showing in the U.S., as do Microsoft and AT&T. However, with the U.S. being a market they are only returning to, their overall success will not be determined solely by their performance in the U.S.
  • Where is the marketing from Nokia/ATT for the 900? Or HTC for the TitanII?

    Didnt see any in the weeks prior to it becoming available and still dont see any now. If Nokia/ATT want to sell these they need to step up and advertise at iphone/android scale. If they dont then MS is going to have to change its strategy and quit depending on 3rd parties for advertising support. With so much riding on windows phone success I think they better be prepared to step in soon. It looks like their partners are content to drop the ball.
    It also sounds like Nokia shorted the supply chain and the retail outlets all sold out in the first couple hours. Youre not going to hit that magical 1M units sold very fast if you start on a holiday weekend when 99% of the ATT stores are closed and then only supply each store with a handful of phones so that they have to turn away eager customers empty handed when they come in. I thought if anyone Nokia would have the logistics down but apparently not so.
    Johnny Vegas
  • Nokia's Lumia 900 launch: Can it crank up the unit volume?

    Yes it can and already has. #1 on AT&T, #1 on Amazon.

    [i]If???and that???s a big if???Nokia can make a splash in the U.S. it can use that momentum going forward.[/i]
    It already has.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • #1 at AT&T because they are replacing the unit made in Mexico.

      Notice pro windows link, i.e. windows phone fans:

      "The problem has cropped up in numerous forums, and while a hard reset provides a temporary fix, the problem is said to recur again after a while.

      Apparently AT&T is replacing affected handsets, so affected users are best advised to return their handsets for a swap sooner rather than later."
  • Interesting

    So...the brand new problem that reviewers and analyst find in Nokia is that is selling the Lumias TOO WELL....Geezzz! Would you ever give a break?
    Mikey Sembello
  • Nokia

    They sell many phones, not only Windows Phone units:

    So they got units for all kind of people. Cheap and expensive phones. They are very big around the world.
  • Lumia sales in Europe poor.

    Lumia sales in Europe are not setting the world on fire.

    In the UK, it has just over taken Symbian, whose sales have dipped themselves.

    Lumia 900 from $49.99 on amazon, depending in contract. Almost giving them away.

    Well, depending on contract, you can get the Samsung Galaxy S2 from free most places in the UK........
  • Groupon UK iPhone 4S for GBP 19.

    Lumia sales in Europe are not setting the world on fire.

    In the UK, it has just over taken Symbian, whose sales have dipped themselves.

    Lumia 900 from $49.99 on amazon, depending in contract. Almost giving them away.

    Well, depending on contract, you can get the Samsung Galaxy S2 from free most places in the UK........



    Today's UK Groupon Deal.

    16Gb iPhone 4S, on GBP34 month contract, GBP ??19. inc accessory pack.