Nokia Debuts First Windows Phone-Based Smartphones5:08 PM EST Wed. Oct. 26, 2011
Nokia unveiled its first Windows Phone 7-based smartphones Wednesday in a move that has high stakes for Nokia's efforts to remain a force in the mobile phone market and for Microsoft's efforts to become one.
Nokia debuted the Windows Phone-based Lumia 710 and Lumia 800 at the company's Nokia World event in London. The new handsets are the fruit of a strategic alliance Microsoft and Nokia struck earlier this year to develop a new mobile device ecosystem based on the Windows Phone mobile OS to compete against rivals Apple and Google.
"Eight months ago, we shared our new strategy and today we are demonstrating clear progress of this strategy in action," said Stephen Elop, Nokia president and CEO, introducing the new devices. "We're driving innovation throughout our entire portfolio, from new smartphone experiences to ever smarter mobile phones."
Today the smartphone market is dominated by the Apple iPhone and mobile phones from manufacturers such as Samsung and HTC that run on Google's Android mobile OS. Google Android devices were used by 43.7 percent share of all U.S. smartphone subscribers in August, according to market researcher ComScore, followed by Apple with 27.3 percent, RIM with 19.7 percent and Microsoft with 5.7 percent.
And Nokia's handsets, which once dominated the worldwide market, are no longer among the top five in the U.S., according to Comscore's numbers. In April Nokia shifted responsibility for software development for its aging Symbian mobile operating system to Accenture, allowing it to focus on its Windows Phone efforts.
Microsoft's failure to make a significant dent in the mobile computing market is widely seen as a major threat to its future prospects given the rapid growth of mobile computing relative to desktop computing where Microsoft still dominates. Microsoft has put a lot of marketing resources behind its efforts top make Windows Phone a success, including paying Nokia "billions of dollars" to develop and promote the Windows 7 handsets.
The Lumia 710 and 800 run on Windows Phone 7.5, the latest release otherwise known as Mango that Microsoft shipped to manufacturers in July. Elop described the two devices as the first real Windows Phone smartphones made by any manufacturer.
The 0.49-inch thick Lumia 710 has a 3.7-inch touchscreen with 480 X 800 pixel resolution, a single-core 1.4-gigahertz Qualcomm microprocessor, a 5-megapixel camera, 512 MBs of RAM and eight GBs of storage with no microSD card slot. The Lumia 800 offers 16 GBs of storage, an 8-megapixel camera and 25 GB of free storage on Microsoft's SkyDrive service for storing images and music. Both phones will run on 3G networks.
Nokia is rolling both phones out in a number of European countries, including France, Germany and the U.K., in November, followed by Russia, India, Hong Kong and other countries by the end of the year. Neither device is slated to be available in the U.S. until sometime in 2012.
The Lumia 710 will be priced at 270 Euros ($375) while the Lumia 800 will have a price tag of 420 Euros ($584).
Nokia also debuted the Asha (Hindi for "hope") line of handsets designed for India and other developing countries.