Verizon to launch Nokia's Lumia 822, throwing its support behind Windows Phone

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Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) will launch the Nokia (NYSE:NOK) Lumia 822 smartphone, the carrier's second phone running Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone software. The launch is a boost for Nokia, giving it another avenue to boost U.S. sales after a lackluster third quarter in which it sold 300,000 handsets in North America, half of what it sold in the first and second quarters.

Nokia Lumia 822 verizon

Click here for details on the Lumia 822.

Verizon and Nokia did not give specific pricing or availability for the Lumia 822, but said the device will be part of Verizon's "fall portfolio." According to The Verge, leaks have pegged Nov. 12 as the launch date with a price of $99.99 with a two-year contract. That pricing seems consistent with rumored pricing of $150 for the more high-end Lumia 920, which AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) will launch in November.

The Lumia 822, which has LTE, appears to be another carrier-specific variant of the Lumia 820, which Nokia introduced in September. The 822 has a dual-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) Snapdragon S4 processor, a 4.3-inch screen, 8-megpaixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and a 1.2-megapixcel HD front-facing camera. The Lumia 822 also supports various Nokia services, including its Drive+ turn-by-turn navigation service featuring offline access and pre-loaded U.S. maps, Nokia Music for streaming music, Nokia Transport for metro transit services and City Lens, Nokia's augmented reality service. 

The 822 is part of Nokia's strategy to release carrier-exclusive devices. AT&T will launch the high-end Lumia 920, while T-Mobile plans to launch the mid-range Lumia 810, a device similar in many respects to the 822. Getting greater carrier support--especially from Verizon, the nation's largest carrier--is important, but the strategy of carrier-exclusive devices could limit Nokia's sales.

The Lumia 822 announcement comes just ahead of Microsoft's formal unveiling of Windows Phone 8, scheduled for today at 1 p.m. EDT. Microsoft is banking on improved software and greater carrier support to help it gain more traction in mobile. Microsoft captured 2.7 percent of the global smartphone market in the second quarter, according to Gartner.

Some analysts remain skeptical that Windows Phone can get enough of a following to take share away from other platforms like Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android. "In the smartphone market, characterized by winner-take-all dynamics for ecosystems, we do not see material room for Windows Phone 8," Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Pierre Ferragu told the Financial Times.

In a sign of its deteriorating fortunes, at least in smartphones, Nokia fell out of IDC's top five global smartphone vendors in the third quarter for the first time since IDC began tracking the sector in 2004. Nokia shipped 6.3 million smartphones in the third quarter, allowing it to be displaced by HTC and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM).

For more:
- see this release
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this FT article (sub. req.)
- see this The Verge article
- see this Engadget article

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