Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) will hold a media event in New York City on Sept. 5 in what is widely expected to be an unveiling of Nokia's first Windows Phone 8 smartphones.
The event coincides with the start of Nokia's annual Nokia World event, which will take place in Helsinki, Finland. Nokia used the event last year to announce its first Windows Phones as part of the Lumia line.
Earlier this week Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said the company would unveil its Windows Phone 8 smartphones in the "relatively near term." Nokia is likely going to unveil more than one new Lumia smartphone.
To drum up interest, and perhaps ratchet up the suspense, Nokia's Chris Weber sent out a message on Twitter that said "Samsung take note, next generation Lumia coming soon. #nokia." Weber is now Nokia's head of sales and marketing and was formerly Nokia's president for the Americas region, and was responsible for Nokia's push back into the U.S. market.
Samsung Electronics overtook Nokia as the world's largest handset maker by volume in the first quarter, according to analysts, and held onto that position in the second quarter. Samsung has had major success with its Android-based Galaxy smartphones, but also makes Windows Phones.
Nokia sold four million Lumia smartphones worldwide in the second quarter, double what it sold in the first quarter, but still not enough to make up for its declining Symbian smartphone sales. 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.
AT&T Mobility (NYSE: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.
According to research firm Gartner, Microsoft captured 2.7 percent of the global smartphone market in the second quarter, up from 1.6 percent in the year-ago period, but still tiny compared to Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS.
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