Yesterday, Nokia and AT&T have officially confirmed the upcoming availability of Nokia’s Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 handsets on the network of this wireless carrier in the United States.
While this was good news for those looking for a new Nokia Windows Phone 8 device, a downside was also unveiled: Lumia 920 will be available exclusively on AT&T.
This is not the first carrier that got exclusivity on Nokia’s flagship device, as EE in the UK announced a similar move earlier this week, but it might spell trouble for the Finnish giant.
The availability of Nokia’s previous Windows Phone handsets in the United States has been tied to carrier exclusives before, and that did not pan out as expected for the company.
We’re referring here to the Lumia 900, which landed earlier this year at AT&T
with LTE connectivity inside, and which registered good sales, but did not help Windows Phone as much as expected.
, on the other hand, is a better device in many respects, and might fare better than its predecessor, yet being tied to one network alone will certainly prevent it from becoming one of the top devices in the country.
While many of AT&T’s users might indeed flock to this device, those outside the network might not be tempted that much to switch carriers only to grab the phone, as ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley notes
In fact, some suggest
that Nokia actually signed Lumia 920’s death sentence when agreeing to have it available exclusively on AT&T, given the fact that no other device that was launched only on one network managed to grab significant share in the US in the past several years, except for the iPhone.
But Nokia Lumia 920
is not the Apple iPhone, and Windows Phone 8 is not iOS. And there’s also the matter of image that Nokia is currently working on after losing huge market share since dumping Symbian.
Motorola and Verizon did manage to bring Android to a whole new level with the famous DROID series, yet they did not bring the iPhone to its knees either, despite that great marketing campaign the carrier put on display.
To ensure that Lumia 920 is indeed the successful handset it needs to be, Nokia should have launched it on multiple carriers at the same time, the same as Samsung did with its Galaxy S series and will do with the Galaxy Note II as well.
Of course, there is also the possibility that Nokia will bring a Lumia 920 variant to carriers such as Verizon
or Sprint (the same as it is rumored
to plan doing with Lumia 820
), a move that would make perfect sense and which would help it boost sales from the start.
A multiple-carrier release of the high-end Windows Phone 8 device will help Nokia take advantage of the holiday sales, something that won’t happen if only AT&T has the smartphone on shelves in early November.
Lumia 920 is a great mobile phone, many have said ever since Nokia unveiled it. In fact, some people even compared it to Apple’s new iPhone 5
and found it better in terms of looks, color options
and performance capabilities.
Yet the chance that it will be sold in millions of units from the get-go, the same as Apple’s device, is a slim one, especially with that AT&T exclusivity in effect.
Let us know how you feel about the Lumia 920 and whether you would be willing to grab one if that involved switching to another carrier.