Windows Phone has much to prove, say analysts

Industry feeling guarded on Nokia’s Lumia launch

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Windows Phone has much to prove, say analysts The Nokia Lumia 820 (above) and the Lumia 920 both carry Windows 8.
By  Stephen McBride Published  September 6, 2012

Nokia's Lumia 920 and 820 models punch back in a dual launch intended to counter rival Samsung, who beat Nokia to the line by releasing the world's first Windows Phone 8 (WP8) smartphone at IFA, Berlin.

"The arrival of WP8 is a welcome boon for Nokia and the wider WP ecosystem in general. The ability now to pack better hardware into the devices gives Nokia and other WP OEMs the opportunity to level the playing field against the likes of Apple iPhone and the best that Android can offer," said David McQueen, Principal Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media.

But Nokia is not the only one with the need to gain ground. Microsoft have much still to prove in the mobile platform market.

"This is also a notable launch for Microsoft, which needs to pull out all the stops to guarantee greater awareness and demand for Windows Phone 8 devices, among consumers, business users and carriers," said Tony Cripps, principal analyst at Ovum.

"With a few new stand-out features in the Lumia 920, such as the impressive screen, PureView, OIS and wireless charging, added to a host of peripherals and Nokia's new class of navigation and mapping services, the device is undoubtedly a desirable, impressive piece of kit," McQueen added. "However, it is the ability to translate this message at the point of sale and prove its value proposition to the consumer that will determine the success of Nokia's WP devices and help grow the platform. The company aims to do this through improving its retail execution and simplifying its marketing messages (with versions specifically for the enterprise) while also having its devices in a range of colors to create some level of DNA at retail. Also, while the Lumia 830 does provide some level of segmentation, the issue of incompatibility with WP7 devices means that the WP8 platform will need (again) to seek to drive out cost and move down the smartphone price tiers as quickly as possible."

"Despite recent gains, Windows Phone is not yet performing to Ovum's expectations," Crips said. "This is, at least, partially as a consequence of the strength of the opposition, but partly, we think, as a deliberate move by Microsoft and its hardware partners to avoid flooding the market too quickly with the platform before they are in a position to play up its synergies with other Microsoft products, especially Windows 8 for PCs and tablets, and its business applications. The clear benefits to businesses from the ready integration possible across Microsoft's products set will set a benchmark for BYOD strategies focused on out-of-box device capabilities once Microsoft's full range of new platforms is available.

"As for Nokia itself, the company's focus on improving the imaging capabilities of its smartphones is a reasonable strategy in an age when meaningful differentiation between different makes of smartphone can be hard to identify. This also applies to the design language of the new Lumia 920, which while it follows closely that of its predecessor, remains distinctive and not overly familiar as yet. There could be also a real opportunity here for Nokia and Microsoft to exploit any shortage of Samsung's Android-powered smartphones in the market following the US court ruling against the Korean giant in its patent dispute with Apple, although anything too blatant on that front would seem like a low blow."

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