With Google's Android and Apple's iPhones hogging most of the market share, partners Nokia and Microsoft need a big hit phone to help their Windows Phone 7 gain a foothold in the market.
The well-reviewed Lumia 900 is widely seen as a strong contender, but the current market makes it hard to predict if the Windows Phone 7 device can be hot.
The latest figures from Nielsen Research on the U.S. market placed Windows in the "other" category, not strong enough for its own listing, part of the 8 percent of sales of devices not powered by Android, iOS or Research In Motion's BlackBerry.
comScore's latest report on the U.S. market didn't list Nokia among the top five original equipment manufacturers and estimated Microsoft's share at 3.9 percent, down 1.3 percent from November.
Could This Be the Magic?
The $99, Lumia 900, will launch Friday night for availability Sunday with great fanfare at a Times Square event in New York City. The phone is 4G LTE compatible and comes with an 8-megapixel camera, but a single-core processor (1.4 GHz Scorpion) at a time when some rivals are already packing quad-core CPUs.
Some analysts are raising flags. Deutsche Bank's Kai Korschelt, in a research note cited by Business Week, said success in the U.S. will depend on carrier AT&T's commitment to the device; without its support sales could be as little as 140,000 per quarter, as opposed to a potential of 680,000.
In an interview with C|Net, Jeff Bradley, the vice president of AT&T's wireless department, said the carrier was making the Lumia 900 a centerpiece of its marketing, saying "Before you walk into the store, you know this is our hero phone."
We asked Ramon Llamas, a senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team who has already had a hands-on look at the Lumia 900, for his take.
"The display is gorgeous," he said of the 4.3-inch, 800x480 pixels Super AMOLED Plus capacitive ClearBlack touchscreen . "It really stands out compared to other phones, especially in that I can see how clear the screen is in direct sunlight." (continued...)
Posted: 2012-04-05 @ 4:23pm PT