Microsoft and Nokia have a problem. The iPhone is perceived to be the best smartphone on the market, and for folks who don’t agree with that notion there’s Android. Where exactly does Windows Phone into that equation? It doesn’t. That’s why the two companies have decided that they’re going to flood the market with a total of 85,000 handsets to get themselves some much needed attention. Assuming there’s a neat 50/50 split between the Nokia Lumia 710 and the Nokia Lumia 800, which go for 270 EUR and 420 EUR respectively, that’s 29.3 million EUR worth of handsets being handed out to developers, bloggers, and “cultural influencers”. According to Mary-Jo Foley from All About Microsoft, 25,000 devices will be given to developers; BusinessWeek says the remaining 60,000 will be given to people who have some sort of “influence” or “klout” or whatever you kids call street cred these days.
Is this going to work? Will the “word of mouth” marketing technique give Windows Phone more than the low single digit market share it current has? It’s far too early to tell at this point since Nokia’s Windows Phones have yet to hit the market. What worries us is what Nokia is going to do in North America. Let’s be honest for a moment, as big as the markets are in Europe and Asia, it’s the developers in the land of cheeseburgers and milkshakes that make the applications that people want. If Microsoft can get those guys to acknowledge Windows Phone as being a credible alternative to what’s currently on the market, then the rest should sort itself out. Also, just look at the Nokia Lumia 800, it doesn’t bear any resemblance to anything else currently on the market. It’ll definitely turn some heads.
We wish Nokia and Microsoft the best, and are eager to see how Windows Phone matures. Right now it’s a fairly decent platform, but it’s Apollo, which will probably be called Windows Phone 8, that we’re really waiting to sink our teeth into.