Last year, execs from Nokia and Microsoft announced they would team up to produce a new line of smartphones powered by the Windows Phone OS and manufactured by Nokia. Now those same smartphones are finally hitting shelves in Europe and the US. So what's the verdict?
Well, it's a mixed bag.
According to Nokia, the Lumia 900, the flagship of the new Lumia line, is already sold out of online shops in the US – a "function of demand," Nokia says.
But a much-discussed report from Reuters has it slightly differently. Far from thriving, in Europe Nokia is still struggling to keep up with competitors such as Apple and Google, whose Android operating system has posted steady gains for months. "No one comes into the store and asks for a Windows phone," an executive at a European operator told Reuters. That same carrier has sold the Lumia 800 and 710 since December, Reuters reports.
"Nokia have given themselves a double challenge: to restore their credibility in terms of making hardware smartphones and succeed with the Microsoft Windows operating system, which lags in the market," the executive added.
The Lumia line has received a lukewarm reception from critics. Reviewing the budget Lumia 710, one writer called the device "a decent phone that gets the most common smartphone tasks done." But for Nokia, "a decent phone" is not enough. Instead, the company needs an innovative, next-generation device that can siphon some of the spotlight away from the iPhone. (Interestingly, RIM faces much the same problem with its BlackBerry line.)
In related news, in February it was revealed that Nokia had become the largest Windows Phone 7 vendor in the world, topping former title-holder HTC. According to Strategy Analytics, 2.7 million Windows Phone handsets were shipped globally in the fourth quarter of last year, a 36 percent increase from the quarter before. Of those 2.7 million handsets, 900,000 were sold by Nokia.