Not long after all of the pomp and fanfare surrounding the long awaited announcement of the Nokia Lumia 900 earlier this week, the mailing list for Windows Phone developers has confirmed that AT&T’s flagship Nokia Windows Phone smartphone will be launching in March, sooner than originally expected taking into account AT&T’s own vague Spring timeline. Windows commentator Paul Thurrott previously confirmed that the phone would launch on March 18th when it was known as the Nokia ACE.
As previously confirmed, the Lumia 900 is exclusive to AT&T and features either improvements or additions to the Lumia 800 in a larger 4.3 inch ClearBlack AMOLED display, LTE radio, Windows Phone Tango for LTE support, front facing camera, 1.4 GHz processor, 8.0 megapixel camera with 1080p video capture and dual LED flash, 16GB internal memory and Bluetooth.
The phone was designed with both AT&T and the US market in mind as it features a front facing camera and LTE support while the 800 features neither of those and Nokia expects it to drive Windows Phone sales in the US to drive its own comeback in the US market, where the brand has suffered significant marketshare loss after the launch of the iPhone in 2007. For historical context, the last Nokia phone to have significant sales and attention in the US market was the N95 sold in the months before the June 2007 launch of the Apple iPhone.
Not long after the launch, Nokia tried to court US carriers again with branded versions of its international models such as the E71 and E73 in an ultimately futile effort to compete with Apple before suffering another blow in the form of Android, which pushed Nokia’s smartphones aside in the wider US market, save for dedicated fans of Symbian.
Now with the attention given to Nokia and Windows Phone after this week, both Nokia and Microsoft are expecting the new partnership to payoff in a big way. Judging by the positive reception during CES, the Lumia 900 may turn the fortunes around of both Nokia and Windows Phone, provided the actual phone lives up to the initial critical praise.