Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) plans to launch a Nokia (NYSE:NOK) Lumia smartphone running Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone 8 by year-end, according to a Bloomberg report.
The report, citing an unnamed source, said Verizon will not be a part of the media event Nokia and Microsoft are holding Sept. 5 in New York City, where Nokia is widely expected to unveil its next range of Lumia smartphones. However, the report said that Verizon will release a device later, which would be its first Windows Phone since it launched the HTC Trophy in May 2011. The report noted that Verizon's 2010 launch of the widely-panned Kin social networking phones from Microsoft strained relations between the two companies, but that they have since mended ties.
Verizon, Nokia and Microsoft declined to comment, according to Bloomberg.
It has been widely assumed for the past few months that Verizon would eventually become a partner for Nokia's Lumia line. AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile USA have been the only two carriers to push Lumia phone so far; Nokia sold 4 million Lumias globally in the second quarter, but only 600,000 smartphones--likely all Lumias--in North America.
Verizon has, in the past, pledged to do for Windows Phone what it did for Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android in terms of spurring mass adoption. Microsoft commanded just 2.7 percent of the global smartphone market in the second quarter, according to research firm Gartner.
In July, Richard Kerris, vice president of Nokia's worldwide developer relations, told Neowin that it "won't be long" before Verizon supports Lumia. Nokia is rumored to be preparing up to three new smartphones for its September event, which coincides with the beginning of its annual Nokia World conference in Helsinki, Finland.
Meanwhile, Nokia is trying to supplement its Lumia strategy by pushing its Asha line of phones in markets like China and India. The gadgets, which sell for around $39, are not high-powered smartphones but have basic Web browsing and social media functionality and are part of an effort to appeal to young, savvy customers in emerging markets. Nokia's feature phone business brought in $2.86 billion in the second quarter, or 49 percent more revenue than its smartphone business.
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