Nokia (NYSE:NOK) is struggling to get retail attention from AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) for its Lumia 900 Windows Phone smartphone four months after the gadget went on sale, as both the handset maker and carrier look ahead to the launch of Windows Phone 8, according to a Bloomberg report.
Nokia Lumia 900
According to Bloomberg, which cited unnamed sources, Nokia is set to introduce new Windows Phone 8 smartphones at its Nokia World event starting Sept. 5. Nokia declined to comment, according to Bloomberg. That launch would come one week before Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is reportedly scheduled to unveil the next version of the iPhone. Samsung Electronics has also scheduled an event for Aug. 29, where it is expected to announce a new Galaxy Note device.
Though it is common for carriers to focus on newer products as smartphones age, AT&T--which has recently been heavily promoting the Samsung Galaxy S III--had promised to make the Lumia 900 launch its biggest ever for a smartphone. The device had a splashy coming-out party in New York City in April, but the marketing has since faded. AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel told Bloomberg that sales representatives are aware that the Lumia 900 is an "important device" in the carrier's lineup and that sales of the device have pleased AT&T.
In order to goose Lumia sales, a range of Nokia employees have been working with sales representatives at wireless carriers in order to familiarize them with the Nokia devices, according to Bloomberg.
"The challenges are really around how fast can we build that awareness," Jo Harlow, Nokia's executive vice president of smartphones, told Bloomberg. "I don't want to characterize the retail sales associates as if it's an insurmountable challenge, because it's not, it's just work, day-to-day work to ensure they have all the information they need, that they have used the device, that they are able to tell the whole story."
Nokia reported shipments of 600,000 devices in North America in the second quarter. Since Nokia's Lumia phones are the only devices the company is pushing in the North American market, it's reasonable to assume that Nokia sold 600,000 Lumia smartphones in the United States and Canada during the quarter. Worryingly though, Nokia sold the same number--600,000--in the North American market in the first quarter of this year. In mid-July the price of the Lumia 900 was cut in half from $99.99 to $49.99, though both AT&T and Nokia downplayed the significance of the move. Nokia is also selling the Lumia 710 through T-Mobile USA in the United States.
AT&T, T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and U.S. Cellular have all voiced support for Windows Phone 8 and plan to launch devices this fall. For Microsoft, getting strong and sustained carrier support (and marketing) for the new version of the platform will be crucial to generating interest among consumers. So far, AT&T and T-Mobile have been the biggest U.S. supporters of Windows Phone, though Verizon has said it wants to do for Windows Phone what it did for Android several years ago in terms of sparking consumer desire.
Report: Nokia seeks revenue-sharing deals with carriers for Lumia smartphones
Fitch hits Nokia with further downgrade, questions product portfolio
Nokia's 4M Lumia sales offer bright spot in Q2
Report: Microsoft's Windows Phone will capture 4% of U.S. market this year
Nokia, AT&T cut Lumia 900 price to $49.99, downplay significance