AT&T, Nokia pushed Microsoft to add LTE to Windows Phone for Lumia 900

AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and Nokia (NYSE:NOK) spurred Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) to add LTE support to its Windows Phone platform and provide it for Nokia's flagship Lumia 900, according to a CNET report.

As the companies eagerly await the launch of the device, which will go on sale April 8 for $99.99 with a two-year contract, more details are emerging about how the Lumia 900 came into being. AT&T and Nokia pressed Microsoft to add LTE to its roadmap last year before it was ready to do so.

"It certainly wasn't something they [Microsoft] planned for," Jeff Bradley, AT&T's senior vice president of devices, told CNET. "When you have a plan and [are] working to execute it, and someone comes in and tells you to come up with a new plan, it's tough." According to the report, Nokia lent research and development support to the effort to make sure the phone had top-of-the line specs, including support for the next-generation network technology. (AT&T will also launch the LTE-capable HTC Titan II Windows Phone April 8 for $199.99 with a two-year contract)

AT&T has said it plans to make the launch of the Lumia 900 its biggest phone launch ever, beyond even the iPhone. The effort is critical to Nokia and Microsoft, which are both working to ignite sales of Windows Phone devices, which have so far been sluggish.

Meantime, the first formal reviews for the Lumia 900 have started to roll in, and they are largely positive, though there are also some vocal critics of the device. "Should you get the Lumia 900? That depends on your own personal needs of course. And if you just don't care for Microsoft's fresh take on mobile user interfaces, this clearly isn't the phone for you," wrote Kevin Tofel at GigaOM. "But if you're even remotely interested in what a solid Windows Phone can do, you should at least look at the Lumia 900 to experience the unique Metro user interface for yourself. Right now, I can't think of a better Windows Phone to try out or buy. I'm so impressed with what Nokia has put together that I'm considering adding a Lumia 900 to my own collection at the full $449.99 price."

"Even at twice the price, the Lumia 900 would be a creditable challenger to Android phones from the likes of Samsung, Motorola (NYSE:MMI) Mobility and HTC," wrote Rich Jaroslovsky for Bloomberg. "It may not be enough to restore the mobile fortunes of Nokia and Microsoft, but for $100 it's a premium product at a value price, and well worth considering."

Others, however, were less impressed, and placed the blame on the Windows Phone operating system itself, such as poor scrolling within apps, poor rendering of Web pages and clunky multitasking experience. "I think Nokia made a lot of the right decisions, but it's almost impossible to move beyond some of Windows Phone's shortcomings this late in the game," wrote Joshua Topolsky at The Verge. "Try as I might to envision the Lumia 900 as my daily driver, the math never added up. There's just too much missing, or too much that feels unfulfilling."

For more:
- see this CNET article
- see this GigaOM post
- see this The Verge article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Nokia post

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