Nokia pins US 're-entry' hopes on Lumia 900

The Finnish smartphone maker hopes to stage a US comeback with the Lumia 900, Nokia's first 4G-equipped Windows Phone handset, but acknowledges it faces a tough battle
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor

Nokia has unveiled the Lumia 900, a 4G Windows Phone smartphone that it hopes will help it reclaim lost market share in the US.

Nokia Lumia 900

Nokia is hoping its 4G-equipped, Windows Phone-based Lumia 900 will help it regain share in the US. Image credit: Nokia

The Finnish handset maker announced the LTE-equipped device ahead of CES 2012 in Las Vegas on Monday. The Lumia 900 uses the Mango — Windows Phone 7.5 — version of the Microsoft operating system. It includes Nokia's bespoke Music and Drive apps, both of which are on the Lumia 710 and 800, which have been available in the UK since November.

At a press event, Nokia described the introduction of the Lumia 900, and the launch of the Lumia 710 smartphone in the US on Wednesday, as its "re-entry" into the US market.

"We believe that the industry has shifted from a battle of devices to a war of ecosystems, and nowhere is that more evident than in the US," Stephen Elop, Nokia's chief executive, said at the event. "Across our portfolio, Lumia is aimed at the heart of our new strategy and our need to engage in this war of ecosystems."

In October, Elop described the Lumia range as the "first real Windows Phone" and said its arrival marked a new dawn for the company, after it had fallen "years behind" its rivals. A lot is riding on the handsets as Nokia transitions from self-developed mobile OSes to the Microsoft platform.

Elop acknowledged that the device will launch into a competitive marketplace in the US. "Clearly, there are strong contenders already on the field," he said. HTC and other phone makers sell Windows Phone-based products in the US, and they are set to release competing handsets, such the Titan II. 

Lumia 900 features

The Lumia 900 — which will be an exclusive on the AT&T network at launch in the US — is the first Windows Phone handset from Nokia with 4G capabilities. The device is unlikely to appear in the UK any time soon, as British operators do not have the infrastructure or spectrum licence agreements in place to offer higher-speed LTE services.

The smartphone provides business features — including PowerPoint, Word, Excel, SharePoint and Lync support — via the Microsoft Office package native to Windows Phone Mango. It has 14.5GB of internal storage and a 1-megapixel forward-facing camera for video calls or for videoconferencing use with Microsoft Lync on Windows Phone.

Windows Phone devices do not currently include support for hardware with microSD slots. The Lumia 900 does, however, come with additional storage in the form of Microsoft's SkyDrive, which provides up to 25GB for free.

The 4G handset, which is available in black or cyan, has a multimedia emphasis, with features such as a 4.3-inch AMOLED ClearBlack display, 1.4GHz Snapdragon processor and an 8-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash and Carl Zeiss optics.

Nokia did not reveal pricing or a US release date for the Lumia 900, saying only that it will arrive "in the coming months". In addition to the US announcement, the company said it plans to start selling the Lumia 710 and Lumia 800 in Canada for the first time soon.

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