Verizon to launch 'multiple' Windows Phones in Q4, commits to Nokia
Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) will release "multiple" smartphones running Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone 8 software in the fourth quarter. The nation's largest carrier also said it is committed to working with Nokia (NYSE:NOK). The comments give Nokia and Microsoft a badly needed boost in the smartphone market.
"We'll sell multiple Windows Phones in the fourth quarter," Verizon CMO Tami Erwin told CNET. Additionally, Verizon COO Marni Walden told CNET that Nokia will be in the mix at some point, but she did not say whether Verizon will launch a Nokia Lumia Windows Phone in the fourth quarter. "We continue to have healthy conversations with Nokia," Walden said.
The news comes just after Nokia unveiled its latest Lumia phones, the 920 and 820. Both will support LTE networks, which is a prerequisite for all of Verizon's smartphones. Verizon executives have said in the past that they want to spark consumer support for Windows Phone in much the same way the carrier did with Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android via the original Motorola Mobility Droid phone.
AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), T-Mobile USA, MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS) and U.S. Cellular have all expressed varying degrees of support for Windows Phone 8. Microsoft and its handset partners will need strong carrier support to increase Windows Phone adoption; Microsoft captured 2.7 percent of the global smartphone market in the second quarter, according to Gartner.
Meanwhile, analysts and investors continued to digest Nokia's Lumia announcement. Investors were displeased that Nokia did not provide pricing or carrier partnership details for the new phones, though Nokia said they will be available in key markets in the fourth quarter. Verizon's only Windows Phone right now is the HTC Trophy, released in 2011.
"People were looking for something that would dazzle," RBC analyst Mark Sue told Reuters. "Most investors will view it as evolutionary, not revolutionary. Nokia has made some good progress, but investors were looking for quantum leaps. We didn't get that." Nokia's U.S.-listed stock closed down 16 percent to $2.38 on Wednesday.
In an interview with The Verge, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said the company will continue to invest in its older Lumia 900, 800 and 710 products. He said the company plans to bring its new City Lens augmented reality application to those existing devices.
Nokia also had to deal with a kerfuffle over a promotional video it produced for the Lumia 920. The video emphasized the phone's "PureView" image stabilization technology, which produces steadier video. However, The Verge noted that the video was actually shot with a professional filming rig, and not the 920. Nokia eventually admitted that the original video was a simulation.
"Of course, hindsight is 20/20, but we should have posted a disclaimer stating this was a representation of OIS only," the company said in a blog post. "This was not shot with a Lumia 920. At least, not yet. We apologize for the confusion we created."
Nokia then posted a new video on YouTube showing an actual side-by-side comparison of video taken with and without the Lumia 920.
Finally, according to Reuters, Nokia is cutting the price of its mid-range Lumia 800 smartphone by around 15 percent this week, and it also made smaller price cuts to other Lumia models. Nokia did not officially disclose the price cuts, but said they were a normal part of its business. Indeed, in July Nokia cut the price of its Lumia 900 at AT&T from $99.99 to $49.99 with a contract.
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