Nokia Lumia 900 to hit AT&T on April 8. But what about apps, updates?

Nokia Lumia 900 to hit AT&T on April 8. But what about apps, updates?

Summary: Here comes the Nokia Lumia 900 on AT&T. Will that flagship phone -- and possible Microsoft marketing moves -- propel Windows Phone forward?


Nokia officials are confirming that leaks tipping the arrival of the Nokia Lumia 900 on AT&T on April 8 for $99 are correct.

Nokia's flagship Windows Phone (codenamed "Ace") will be arriving in the midst of new questions from both Windows Phone advocates and critics about Microsoft's longer-term strategy and direction for the platform.

AT&T, which has evolved to become Microsoft's premier U.S. phone-carrier partner for Windows Phone, is dragging its feet about providing users with the 8170 "disappearing keyboard" update from Microsoft. Microsoft officials originally were on record saying that carriers could only block one update. More recently -- and not too surprisingly -- Microsoft execs  acknowledged that carriers can decide to deliver as few updates as they want (though if and when they ever do provide them, those updates will be cumulative).

This situation is making for some unhappy early Windows Phone adopters. (Me? I'm one of those stuck on Verizon, which hasn't rolled out this update, or another Windows Phone beyond the HTC Trophy in the spring of 2011. So my expectations as to Verizon's Windows Phone commitments already were low.)

Meanwhile, on the app front, at least one Silicon-Valley-centric pundit is claiming that Windows Phone's 70,000 available apps are too little too late -- regardless of how soon Microsoft reached this milestone vis a vis Apple and Android.

The Windows Phone marketing team knows all too well they need to change the app conversation. On March 26, Microsoft and Nokia announced each company would invest up to 9 million euros ($12 million each) into a newly established mobile app-dev program at Aalto University in Finland over the next three years. The program is designed to help create "innovative mobile applications for the Windows Phone ecosystem and in addition, Nokia platforms, including Symbian and Series 40, to create a new generation of self-sustaining mobile startups."

But there's more coming on the app front, if Microsoft is sticking to its own December 2011 Windows Phone Marketing playbook, that is.

Microsoft has some aggressive plans to promote apps from vendors which compete with those from developers who are not creating Windows Phone versions of their apps. The slides from the U.S. marketing playbook (a few of which I'm including here) mention a $10 million campaign over three years to "ringfence" companies like Pandora which aren't supporting Microsoft's platform.

(Note: "BG" in these slides means "business group.")

Microsoft also has plans to try to turn the app conversation from "quantity" to "quality," especially on the Android vs. Windows Phone front. (RSP = retail sales personnel.)

The company also is lining up more promotional opportunities for top Windows Phone apps and to make use of "app cards" as an enticement to new Windows Phone purchasers.

What do you think, Windows Phone fans and foes? Is Windows Phone on an upward trajectory? Or looking stuck in a distant fourth place?

Update: Here are a few additional details about AT&T's April 8 plans from a blog post by AT&T officials.

The same day that Nokia Lumia 900 launches on AT&T for $99, the HTC Titan II also will launch on AT&T for $199. And the Lumia 900 will be available in white (in addition to blue and black), but the white phone won't be out until April 22.

Topics: Apps, Microsoft, Mobility, Nokia, Operating Systems, Software, Telcos, AT&T, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • I'm waiting until Win 8 tablets come out

    I currently have an iPhone 4 and an iPad 2 so both my devices are getting a little old. I really like what MS has done with WP7 but I want to see what the Win 8 universe looks like. I will not buy the new iPad. I will not buy the iPhone 4S. I will not buy the iPhone 5 if it comes out in the fall. But I also will not buy the Nokia 900.

    For now, my iDevices work just fine. If MS delivers only half of what I've seen so far with Win 8, I will be selling my iDevices and buying Win 8 devices. MS had the lead in the 90s and 2000s. Apple has the lead right now but Apple is getting complacent. The iPhone 4S and the new iPad are major disappointments to me. I think that on a technical and UI useability comparison, MS will surpass Apple in 2012/2013. However, it will be years before MS will be able to overcome Apple's substantial lead. Apple has implemented a lot of barriers to entry in these markets.
    • yes...

      I am of the same thinking as you, i really don't understand why people upgrade their phones just because they can. My sister just took out a contract and moved from an Iphone 4 to an Iphone 4s, yet she doesnt need any of the features offered by the iphone 4s, and can only tell its a 4s if i put them side by side by running siri.....

      If it works, don't replace it. It's why so many people are in debt... they feel social pressure to have the best new devices....
      • That is the unfortunate advantage of iOS at the moment...

        You're right; upgrading an iOS device just because you can IS stupid, especially since the bulk of iOS software features are distributed across the entire platform. On top of that, you can buy an iPhone or iPad and be completely secure in the idea that you're getting those software updates no matter what the carrier says.

        I've got an android phone now, and I HATE that my phone is perfectly capable of running ICS, but AT&T has decided I won't get it. I thought that Windows Phone was going to follow Apple's example of software independence, but it's not looking to be the case. As bored as I am with iOS, it is the safest bet for the masses to get the most out of their investment.
      • @drunken: What's in a version name though?

        "especially since the bulk of iOS software features are distributed across the entire platform"

        Well, not really. I can't get Siri on my iPhone 4 and excuses that my hardware can't handle it are weak considering the Siri app used to be available for the iPhone 4 until Apple pulled it from the App store in order to fuel iPhone 4S sales.

        So what's in a version name? At best, iOS 5 on an iPhone 4 is iOS 4.4 since the major feature that Apple touted is not available. Everyone who claimed that the version number of the iPhone doesn't matter (who cares if it was called 4S or 5?) don't understand that the exact same argument can be made about the OS version number. Who care if the version number on my iPhone says 5.1? What if it said 4.4? What if it said 98.2?

        Owners of older Android phones don't have access to the latest and greatest Android features. Owners of older iPhones don't have access to the latest and greatest iOS features. What's the difference other than an arbitrary sequence of numbers?

        I don't fault Apple, I don't fault Microsoft, I don't fault Google. The upgrade situation is what it is but let's not pretend that the version number that displays on your About screen is what is important here. My version number is 5.1 but I don't have Siri so no, I didn't get the full software update.
      • You got 90% of the 5.1 update features

        Can a lot of Android phone users say that about ICS? Now let's look at phones 2 yrs old for both, and see which got the update.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Yes

        I have been saying that with this whole gadget movement these past couple years. People stand in line to get the latest iPhone or iPad when they have the model right before it just so they can say they have the latest. Same goes with other phones. Most times they see little to no benefit and if they used that phone or gadget another year (at least) a newer and better one will be out.

        I currently have the iPhone 4s and the only reason I have that is because I gave my wife my 3G when I got the 4 but the 3G started to get a bad screen and was crashing a lot so I upgraded earlier than normal so I could give her my 4. But before that I received criticsm for not upgrading from the 3G to the 3GS because it was soooo much better. To me it was not and worth the upgrade. Next time I upgrade will be in a couple years and will most likely be a WindowsPhone.
  • Not fourth...

    I'm not saying that they will come anywhere near ousting Apple or Android from their thrones, but I think they have a shot of overtaking Blackberry's #3 seat.

    I am confused as to why "Bump It" is considered a top app. That thing was garbage on iPhone and Android. Uninstalled after unsuccessfully bumping someone 7 times for a contact.
  • I may differ

    >>However, it will be years before MS will be able to overcome Apple's substantial lead. Apple has implemented a lot of barriers to entry in these markets.
    Those barriers are mostly for Android devices in market. Win8 Desktop (Slate and PC) will has bigger ecosystem and will continue. Win 8 Metro is debatable in many perspectives.
    Ram U
    • Windows 8 tablets makers will face the same hardware/component......

      challenges the Android tablet makers are facing now. The simple fact is no one is willing to invest the way Apple has/and continue to with their iPads. Buying bulk component parts, displays, pre-investing billions into inventory, backup inventory, opening new iPad plants etc....Tim Cook is a supply chain genius.

      How many Windows 8 tablet manufacturers will be willing to match Apple's "retina" display at launch for instance? You'd be lucky if you see one manufacturer with such high quality display, the cost will be just too high for most manufactures. Add in the cost of other components that powers the Intel-based Tablets and Windows licensing for each device, and suddenly you've priced yourself out of the market.

      WOA will actually have a better chance selling than those expensive Intel-Based tablets costing $700 - $800.
  • Nokia Lumia 900 to hit AT&T on April 8. But what about apps, updates?

    This phone is absolutely going to rock! Yes it sucks that the carriers are in control of the updates but the techies find a way around that so you can install them. The apps, its never to late for those. They currently have 70,000 apps which is a respectable number and sounds about right. Compare that to other app stores that have 500,000 apps and you spend more time looking through duplicates trying to find one quality app. This is the point where Microsoft's WP7 goes from gradual incline to sharp incline.
    Loverock Davidson-
  • I already have it and I'm not wowed...

    I worked at a AT&T retail store and we got them from Nokia on Saturday, as a matter of fact 8 of them, as an initiative to invest 25 million to have all off at&t employees switch their current devices for the Lumia 900.

    I switched from a Galaxy S2, and I really miss the apps I had on the Galaxy S2, Microsoft has a lot of ground to cover in terms of apps, but the ones I downloaded have a nice quality on them that sets them apart from Android and iPhone apps.

    I hate the fact that you cannot update it over the air, you have to download Zune on your PC to update it.

    The device itself is beautiful, nice black finish we had blue and black to choose from, I got the black one, it has a 8mp camera, front camera, nice screen to boot.

    I'm still trying to get used to it, it's a very different operating system, and even thought I have a Galaxy S2 as my company device, my personal device is the iPhone 4S, and I can tell you I still prefer my iPhone 4S above all three, I think Windows has a user friendly OS with the device, specially with the tiles, but I still prefer the iPhone.
    • update over the air?

      How often do you update the phone.
      Mayby 3 or 4 times ever

      Windows phone apps do update over the air and also music and pod/vodcasts do update over the air whilst charging.
  • Also...

    If Microsoft is working to anchor Windows Phone to Windows 8, and let's be honest, Windows 8 is going to be EVERYWHERE, then won't that greatly increase the chances of its success? I mean, Devs are going to, for Windows 8, and those apps will be easy to port over to Windows Phone 8. Isn't it possible that we may see a giant explosion in the app catalog?
    • Only if people like it

      If Windows 8 turns out to be popular? Then yes, it helps. But if Desktop Metro becomes as loathed by the general user as it is by corporate IT, then seeing "Windows 8" on the device will be a turn off rather then a turn on (much like putting "Vista" in the name of anything would be a death sentence after that OS came out).
      • Your assumption is faulty, history says so.

        Windows 8 PCs are going to sell, arguments about the pros and cos of the new UI aside. People hated Vista and that didn't stop it from getting out there, and devs writing their software for it in turn. There's no evidence that this won't happen again and again. There are two things that drive a market. Image and price. Apple has one, PCs have the other, and neither one of them are going anywhere.
    • Eyewash for Wall Street

      Any kind of software development must very quickly get down to specifics. When you say that "Windows 8 is going to be EVERYWHERE," the developer has to ask, "Which Windows 8?"

      Will it be the Windows 8 with the Metro UI on Intel-based tablets, the Windows 8 with the classic UI on desktop and laptop PCs, or the thing called WOA, which is Windows on ARM devices, which doesn't support all the things you can do on Intel-based devices.

      In fact the whole "Windows everywhere" meme appears to be aimed more at securities analysts than anyone else. Developers can't even get to step 2 without having to learn all these differences, and the customers are going to see the UI differences right away and they'll be told the differences between the ARM- and Intel-based devices before they buy (or else a whole bunch of the ARM customers are going to be furious when they find out their model doesn't run what they called 'Windows programs.')

      Developers aren't going to be fooled by slogans aimed at Wall Street. They have to guess how many WOA devices will be out there, how many x86-based tablets, how many x86-based desktops and laptops and among those how many with Metro and how many with 'classic', and maybe even how many ARM-based desktops and laptops (zero now, but by 2015?)

      It's even possible that Microsoft will see a giant explosion in the app catalog that no one customer sees, because Microsoft can't afford to confuse everyone by letting them see apps that won't work on their unit. So even though there might be one million apps for Intel-based Metro UI devices, the people with ARM phones and tablets -- and the people running the classic UI on laptops and desktops -- won't see them.
      Robert Hahn
      • No they don't

        "They have to guess how many WOA devices will be out there,"

        If they write WinRT apps, it will work on every single Windows 8 device out there: phone, WOA, Intel slate, and desktop. Microsoft makes it very easy on developers.
      • @Robert Hahn You obviously aren't seeing the big picture.

        Apps/programs written for desktops will work with tablets, and in turn, the bulk of these will work on mobile phones.

        I'm not saying we'll see Adobe CS on a phone, because that would be ridiculous, but all of the HTML5 stuff in the Win8 Market is going to work with the phones as well as the PCs and Tablets.
      • You Don't See an App Count

        Obviously, you can see numbers that are touted. Yet, when you're trying to get an app, you won't *see* 1 million apps. You'll see a few screens worth of app catalog when you browse, and you'll see whether a specific app you're looking for is there, or whether a particular category thins out after a few screens. Have you ever binged "app"? You won't see those 933,000,000 search results they advertise. If you make it to 1000, you've got further than most anybody (if Bing doesn't cut you off before that).
      • Not going for it

        Sorry, the history of "write once, run anywhere" software is so awful that I am not now going to be sucked into it. Any developer who wishes to spend time and money crafting an app for an ARM-based tablet under the assumption that money will also roll in from people running Windows 8 on quad-core Intel machines with 30" monitors has my best wishes for staying out of bankruptcy.

        How many times have we heard this story? CP/M? The P-system? Java? Flash/AIR? It's a seductive song. Problem is, the people who sing it always get beaten in the market by those who optimized for their platform.
        Robert Hahn