Noted Windows pundit Paul Thurrott has confirmed a few key details related to US Windows Phone launches planned for the coming year which center on AT&T and Verizon Wireless.
Three LTE-based Windows Phone handsets–the Nokia ACE, HTC Radiant, and Samsung Mendel–will ship on AT&T Wireless before the middle of 2012. The ACE is due March 18, 2012.Â What’s unclear is whether these LTE based devices will be accompanied by a software update of some kind. You may recall that the rumored “Tango” release, supposedly due in early 2012, is about low-end phones. So it’s unclear how that jives with LTE, which is obviously a high-end feature. This explains my confusion over theÂ supposed Windows Phone roadmap leakÂ yesterday.
Also, the Nokia Lumia 710 will ship on Verizon Wireless in April 2012. This is not an LTE device, and it’s not clear when/if we’ll see an LTE Windows Phone on Verizon. The Lumia 710 is codenamed “Sword” and will be available in April 2012. (The T-Mobile version of the Lumia 710 will be available for purchase on January 11, 2012, giving the company three months of exclusivity before the device hits Verizon.
While the above seems to correlate with leaked roadmaps, the specific nature of the information points to heavy ongoing internal testing of Nokia Windows Phone devices on US carriers before their respective launches, with T-Mobile USA being the first to launch next month.
With Verizon launching a non-LTE version of the Lumia 710 despite public statements expressing a desire for such a device, the carrier may be extending an olive branch to the Finnish manufacturer after its previous relationship with the manufacturer dissolved into nothing more than Korean ODM rebrands that had very little to do with Nokia in terms of hardware.
The same could be said of AT&T with the Ace and the other planned LTE equipped phones after it passed on Nokia’s last carrier focused smartphone in the Nokia X7, which was meant to be an exclusive phone for AT&T running Symbian^3 and makes sense as AT&T was chosen by Microsoft to promote Windows Phone.