Sound Off: Will Nokia's Lumia 900 from AT&T be a hit?

Nokia Lumia LTE 900 AT&T

AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) said it will launch its largest smartphone marketing effort ever when it debuts the flagship Nokia (NYSE:NOK) Lumia 900 April 8 for $99.99 with a two-year contract. The marketing push by AT&T for the Lumia 900 will be the carrier's biggest ever, even bigger than AT&T's push for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone. Nokia and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) clearly have a lot riding on the LTE-enabled smartphone, which could help spark consumer interest in Windows Phone if it is a hit.  FierceWireless surveyed industry analysts for their opinions on the device and whether AT&T's marketing efforts will pay off. Here is a selection of their thoughts:    

I'm cautiously optimistic. One phone at one carrier is not going to be enough to move the needle for Microsoft or Nokia. But, you have to start somewhere, and the Lumia 900 has a distinctive design, performance is snappy and the price is right. People who have tried the Windows Phone platform tend to like it, so the real challenge is getting them to try it, especially since Microsoft is unlikely to fully close the app gap with Apple."
 --Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart 


Microsoft needs a 'halo' device to generate buzz and interest in the market place around Windows Phone.  Nokia wants the Lumia 900 to be that device and spec/design wise it is possible that will be the case. In all of this, however, it is important to note that Windows Phone is at the beginning of the consumer adoption cycle. It is a platform that is maturing not one that is mature. Microsoft, with regards to Windows Phone, is basically where Apple was in 2007-2008 in terms of platform maturity. What is happening with Nokia and the Lumia 900 is a good start, but it is still just that a start. So whether it meets expectations is all dependent upon what the expectations are of both AT&T and Nokia/Microsoft. I expect the device to do well but I think if it can generate more interest around Windows Phone and Nokia in general than it will be a success in my opinion."  
--Creative Strategies Analyst Ben Bajarin 


The Lumia 900 has all the ingredients for success one could reasonably ask for. However, and at the risk of sounding like a politician, the answer to the question of whether the Lumia 900 will succeed depends on how we define success. You can bet that Nokia, AT&T and Microsoft have a hard number in mind. But for the rest of us, the definition is subjective. We know the retail price point is very attractive and will likely be unique in AT&T's lineup for some time. It's a lot of phone for short money, but that's one factor.

Beyond it, what we understand of the marketing and promotional efforts--from ad campaigns to in-store positioning to seeding devices with retail reps--suggests that Nokia and AT&T have wisely addressed all the points of execution required to make this at least a qualified success. So at a minimum I think it will achieve the objectives of getting Nokia back into the consumer conscience in a way they'd like to be and [will be] giving AT&T's portfolio something relatively unique to push...for a while.  Pardon the pun, but there's a window of opportunity here with the Galaxy S III and iPhone 5 waiting somewhere in the wings, not to mention high stakes devices that LG, HTC and the rest--possibly including RIM--have in the queue. Like Apple, Samsung has taken to advertising independent of the operators, so depending on when these products show up, the airwaves will get much more crowded."
--CCS Insight analyst John Jackson


Clearly, one of the major changes that Nokia has made as it has moved to this new organization is recognition about the importance of the carrier in the U.S., the power of that distribution and the difference it can make to have a smartphone featured as a hero offering--and to have the promotional support of the carrier behind in. Certainly, the first generation of Windows Phone devices form Samsung, HTC and LG did not have a tremendous impact at AT&T or T-Mobile. There's an opportunity here in putting a lot of effort behind one handset as opposed to group of handsets and a new operating system. That said, AT&T will also be promoting the [HTC] Titan II at the same time adjacent to the Lumia 900. To the extent that handset [the HTC Titan II] does well, certainly Microsoft benefits and Nokia would argue it indirectly benefits. Nokia has repeatedly said it believes that a rising tide for Windows Phone will benefit its fortunes."
-- NPD Connected Intelligence analyst Ross Rubin


From Nokia's perspective, this is what they worked for more than a year: to really come with a compelling solution that would give consumers a reason to take a look at the Nokia brand again in the U.S., and to really drive the Nokia brand forward. This is one of the first times we've seen in a very long time where Nokia is introducing a flagship device in the U.S. This is not going to Europe, this is not going to Asia. They're bringing this product to the U.S. market in a big way. For a long time, this has been what Nokia has been criticized for. 

It looks like they have AT&T's backing behind this device, which is significant. All initial looks at the device says it's going to be a very competitive device. It has everything it needs to be a table stakes device. Nokia has put some of their own software twists on the device that is going to separate it very clearly from other Windows Phone devices. Coming in at $99 price point, it is going to give a lot of lower-end devices a run for the money."
--Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg


Is this do or die for Windows Phone? No. I think Windows Phone has shown nice progress even before the Lumia 900. I think what Microsoft and Windows Phone have now apart from the 900 is that the consumer is ready for a phone that is more than just a phone.  That was a problem Microsoft had with Windows Mobile. It's a different era right now. People are looking for very capable phones. 

 When it comes to AT&T and the Lumia, it's going to be a dance that they have to do. They have it at $99 and that's an extremely attractive price point. But it's set at $99. People might look at a $200 phone and say this $200 phone is going to be a lot better. How does AT&T do that and get that message across? A lot of people buy technology on price. There are so many phones that win or die at the point of sale. What Nokia and AT&T are trying to do with the Lumia 900 is make sure that the phone doesn't fall down at the point of sale."
--ABI Research analyst Kevin Burden
Sound Off: Will Nokia's Lumia 900 from AT&T be a hit?