Nokia unwraps first Windows Phones: For outside the U. S. for now

Nokia unwraps first Windows Phones: For outside the U. S. for now

Summary: Nokia has unveiled its first phones running Windows Phone from Microsoft. The handsets look very competitive, but aren't coming to the U. S. this year.


The partnership between Microsoft and Nokia is interesting on many levels. Nokia is looking to Windows Phone from Microsoft to kick-start the company's smartphone business, presumably both outside and inside the U. S. A big reason that Nokia has seen its market share plummet is due to a near total lack of exposure in the hot U. S. smartphone market, and both companies are looking to the partnership to address that to the benefit of both.

Nokia was expected to unveil its first Windows Phone handsets this week in London at Nokia World, and yesterday showed off the first two phones. My colleague Mary Jo Foley has all of the details on the two phones, along with some information about Nokia's plans that disturbs me. The phones look really nice, but it seems Nokia's launch plans are pre-Microsoft partnership business as usual. From Mary Jo:

... the Lumia 720 is going to be available first (later this year) in Russia, Taiwan, India, Hong Kong and Singapore. The Lumia 800 is going to be available first in six European markets this fall, and Russia, Taiwan, India, Hong Kong and Singapore before the end of the year.

While I was hoping that Nokia would hit the ground running in the U. S. with Windows Phone, it seems to be business as usual. I suspect the situation confronting Nokia with Windows Phone is the same that smacked HP in the face earlier this year with the aborted launch of the Pre 3.

Folks were surprised that HP launched the Pre 3 in the UK but not the U. S., but I was told that was due to the inability of HP to strike a deal with a U. S. carrier for the Pre 3. I don't know if that's the case with these Nokia handsets, but logic dictates that the company would surely launch in the U. S. if it could strike a deal with a carrier.

This leaves the value of the Nokia/Microsoft partnership in question. If U. S. carriers aren't willing to come to the table, Nokia's not going to make a dent in this market. Such deals are a requirement for the way the smartphone business works in the U. S., as customers require a carrier subsidy for the most part. We'll have to keep a close watch on Nokia's Windows Phone products to see if (and when) we might get them in the U. S. They look pretty darn nice, as Nokia makes good hardware.

Topics: Telcos, Banking, Microsoft, Mobility, Nokia, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • If U. S. carriers arenâ??t willing to come to the table...

    You need to do some research before saying that, you are obviously wrong, but I am too lazy to point out why.
    • Which demands this response

      I'm too lazy to tell you why you're wrong, but rest assured you are wrong. So there.

      Maybe when you get less lazy or whatever.
    • RE: Nokia unwraps first Windows Phones: For outside the U. S. for now

      +1 was stated in other articles
  • Nice looking phone.

    That's a nice looking phone. Wish it was coming here to the states. At least now I know I'll be getting the Radar.
    I like coffee.
  • RE: Nokia unwraps first Windows Phones: For outside the U. S. for now

    This is the norm for Nokia though, has been for years. When did the US ever see any flagship N series phones? N71, N82, N85 etc... We didn't. Luckily they worked on compatible AT&T GSM bands so all you had to do was pay 500-800$ and you could have a wonderful N-series Nokia that worked in the US.
  • RE: Nokia unwraps first Windows Phones: For outside the U. S. for now

    You bring up a good point James. Its kind of unsettling how our choice of phones are dictated by our carriers. As an American I embrace freedom of choice whenever possible.

    I know its more expensive, but I'd prefer we buy our devices outright and be able to use them on any compatible carrier we choose.
    • Apple clearly has a lot of power over US carriers

      It would be interesting to know what role Apple has in ensuring that flagship Nokia WP7 phones are delayed or simply never released here.
      • RE: Nokia unwraps first Windows Phones: For outside the U. S. for now

        @toddybottom My guess is not much. Verizon is still releasing and heavily promoting the Galaxy Nexus and Droid RAZR, and AT&T, and Sprint still have lots of Android models, as well.<br><br>Apple's main strength is its ability to extract large subsidies from the carriers, allowing them to get $549 for the iPhone 4 or $649 for the base 4S. That's about $100 more than other manufacturers can get. Also, they don't allow any carrier branding at all.
  • RE: Nokia unwraps first Windows Phones: For outside the U. S. for now

    Nokia released a good phone, but I too wish they would release in the U.S. markets. Although I won't expect Verizon to jump on any of these phones for another year. AT&T will probably be the first to get them when they are released.