AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) plans to roll out its largest marketing effort for a phone when it launches the flagship Nokia (NYSE:NOK) Lumia 900 next month, making the launch bigger than even Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone.
Click here for AT&T's introductory video for the Nokia Lumia 900.
The confirmation from AT&T that the Lumia 900 will be its biggest launch ever will likely ratchet up expectations for the Windows Phone device, which Nokia and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) hope will be a hit. "At all levels, this is a notch above anything we've ever done," Jeff Bradley, AT&T's senior vice president of devices, told CNET, noting that includes the launch of the iPhone.
Both AT&T and Nokia declined to say how much they are spending on the campaign, but the marketing blitz will be strong and sustained, AT&T insists. AT&T will launch the LTE-capable Lumia 900 April 8 for $99.99 with a two-year contract. According to CNET, the companies plan to roll out a massive TV advertising campaign for the device, it will be the centerpiece of AT&T's retail stores and AT&T sales representatives have been thoroughly trained on the device. Additionally, the gadget will launch with a number of unique accessories, further demonstrating the carrier's commitment to the Lumia 900.
"Before you walk into the store, you know this is our hero phone," Bradley said. The companies are counting on the sleek design of the Lumia 900, its high-end specs, including LTE, and the improved Windows Phone software to help drive sales.
However, though Microsoft has built up its application library to 70,000 apps, it still trails Apple's App Store and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play for Android, which each have more than 450,000 apps. AT&T and Nokia have trained sales reps to help customers hunt down specific Windows Phone apps or find ones comparable to those available on iOS and Android.
Despite widespread praise of Windows Phone, it still has not caught fire with consumers. Microsoft captured just 1.9 percent of the global smartphone market in the fourth quarter, according to Gartner, compared with Android's 51 percent and iOS' 24 percent.
With no new iPhone on the horizon for the spring and with Android smartphone vendors still rolling out Google's latest software update, Ice Cream Sandwich, Nokia and Microsoft have a window to try and build momentum behind the Lumia franchise and Windows Phone more broadly.
Nokia also just announced its intentions to launch Windows Phones in China starting next month with China Telecom, which it hopes will further expand its market share and Windows Phone's reach.
- see this CNET article
- see this ZDNet article
AT&T to launch Nokia's Lumia 900 April 8 for $99
Nokia brings Windows Phone to China in bid to grow market share
Nokia, T-Mobile see strong demand for Lumia 710
Nokia's Weber: We'll 'absolutely' drive U.S. Windows Phone price points down
HTC, Nokia see bright future for Windows Phone adoption