AT&T to launch Nokia's Lumia 900 April 8 for $99

AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) confirmed it will launch the Nokia (NYSE:NOK) Lumia 900 smartphone April 8 for $99.99, delivering the high-end, LTE-capable device at a relatively cheap price point. 

Click here to watch Nokia's introductory video to the Lumia 900 for AT&T.

The gadget, which is Nokia's most high-end device phone so far running Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone software, will be a key test for Nokia in its attempt at a comeback in the U.S. market. AT&T, Nokia and Microsoft all have a great deal at stake in making the phone a hit with consumers. The news on the Lumia 900's price was first reported by CNET.

AT&T hopes that the Lumia 900 will become one of its premier LTE devices and spark adoption on its LTE network, which now covers around 74 million POPs, far fewer than Verizon Wireless' (NYSE:VZ)  200 million. (AT&T expects to reach around 150 million POPs covered by LTE by year-end.) Nokia is hoping that the Lumia 900 can follow on the relatively strong success it has seen with the more low-end Lumia 710 at T-Mobile USA, and is banking on AT&T to provide strong marketing support. Microsoft, meanwhile, wants a hit to galvanize interest in the Windows Phone platform, which despite a growing catalogue of around 70,000 applications and widespread acclaim is still receiving tepid interest from consumers.

The Lumia 900 has a 1.4 GHz processor, presumably from Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), which has supplied the silicon for all of Nokia's Windows Phone devices thus far. The device also sports a 4.3-inch AMOLED ClearBlack display, 8-megapixel rear camera with Carl Zeiss optics and a front-facing camera that can capture wide-angle shots. Additionally, the gadget will come pre-loaded with AT&T's U-verse Mobile service, Nokia's turn-by-turn navigation Drive application and the ESPN sports hub app.

To help foster application development for Windows Phone, Nokia and Microsoft agreed to jointly support a three-year, $24 million initiative called AppCampus. The program will fund grants for startups by students and entrepreneurs at Aalto University in Nokia's native Finland. Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS each support around half a million apps.

"This will serve as an accelerator program for developing innovative mobile applications and new user experiences," Nokia Executive Vice President Kai Oeistaemoe told Bloomberg in an interview. "The entrepreneurs are going to be mentored by veterans in the mobile industry and given insight and coaching on how to commercialize their ideas without having to give up equity in their companies or take debt."

AT&T also confirmed it will launch the LTE-capable HTC titan II Windows Phone April 8 for $199.99 with a two-year contract. The Titan II has a 4.7-inch screen and 16-megapixel camera.

For more:
- see this release
- see this CNET article
- see this FierceMobileContent article
- see this IDG News Service article
- see this Bloomberg article

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