To say that tomorrow is a big day for Nokia would be an understatement. At an event in New York, Nokia will unveil the Lumia 820 and 920 smartphones running on the upcoming Windows Phone 8 platform. While companies unveil devices fairly frequently, Nokia has a lot riding on the success of both the devices the company is unveiling and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 platform, and reactions to Nokia’s event tomorrow could make or break the company once heralded as an icon in the mobile phone industry.
Back in February 2011, Nokia and Microsoft announced their unlikely partnership to skeptical reviews. After all, Microsoft’s Windows Mobile products were never very well received by consumers, and Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android devices ruled the smartphone roost, while Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 platform had failed to gain much market share, despite being available for several months.
Today, a year and a half after the Nokia/Microsoft partnership, the mobile landscape hasn’t really changed that much. Android and iOS have continued to gain at the expense of RIM’s BlackBerry platform, and Windows Phone has struggled to reach 5% market share. Meanwhile, sales of Nokia’s Symbian-based phones have fallen flat as the company focuses its efforts on Windows Phone, making it very clear the company’s future success is tied to the success of Microsoft’s mobile platform.
Consumers and analysts have shown interest in Windows Phone 8, with some analysts expecting the platform to rapidly catch on with customers at a time where Android and iOS are battling each other in the courtroom. The IDC projects that Windows Phone will command as much as 20% of the mobile market by 2016, growing fairly rapidly at the expense of Android and BlackBerry. If that happens (and, frankly, that’s a big if at this point), Nokia’s large bet on Windows Phone will have paid off. Conversely, if Windows Phone 8 fails to take off, it’s difficult to see much of a turnaround for Nokia, which could follow RIM into the land of the irrelevant.
Indeed, all eyes are on Nokia tomorrow, where the company will unveil the Lumia 820 and 920 Windows Phone 8 smartphones for the US market. The phones themselves aren’t expected to be released until mid-November, giving the company time to build a marketing campaign to try to sell customers on the Windows Phone platform. Of course, it’ll have to do so at the same time that Apple is promoting and selling its next iPhone, slated to launch at the end of this month.
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