Nokia and Microsoft Set Stage for WinPho 8 Device Debut
Microsoft and Nokia are holding an event Sept. 5, and reports point to the arrival of new Windows Phone 8 devices, including the Arrow and the Phi. Windows Phone 8 will represent a fresh start for the mobile OS, but getting there has been a rocky road. Earlier this summer, Microsoft revealed existing Windows Phone 7 devices would not be able to upgrade to WinPho 8.
08/23/12 11:35 AM PT
Nokia may be battered, bleeding and losing money hand over fist, but it's not out for the count. The company will unveil two new Windows Phone 8 devices at a press conference to be held jointly with Microsoft in New York Sept. 5, The Verge has reported.
One device is reportedly code-named "Arrow," the other "Phi." Both are apparently part of the Lumia family of devices that Nokia introduced in the United States in January.
"We sincerely hope so," Maribel Lopez, principal analyst at Lopez Research, responded when asked whether the rumors might be true. "Everyone is waiting to see what this implementation looks like," she added.
"We'll have more details to share on Sept. 5 and encourage you to tune in to the webcast," Nokia spokesperson Chris Hollis told TechNewsWorld. "We don't comment on speculation."
Better Than the Truth?
Leaks and rumors pertaining to the new Nokia devices have been humming around the Internet for weeks.
The Phi will have a 4.7-inch AMOLED screen, Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin suggested. It will have a microSD card slot and be slimmer than the Lumia 800 and 900, but it will have a shorter battery life.
Meanwhile, the NokiaInnovation blog has published a detailed list of what it claims are the Phi's specs. It claims the device has no physical buttons on the front and four physical buttons on the right. It will run on a Qualcomm dual core CPU, have a near field communication (NFC) chip on board, and be LTE-enabled.
A rumor published earlier this month, also in The Verge, depicted a smartphone with a screen size of 4.3 inches that had three Windows Phone buttons. This device wouldn't have the unibody polycarbonate construction standard for the Lumia line, the report claimed.
Microsoft also declined comment. "We'll have more details to share on Sept. 5, and will also have a live webcast which you're invited to watch," company spokesperson Katie Hamachek told TechNewsWorld.
Who Might Do What With Which Device
AT&T will initially carry the Phi device exclusively as a so-called hero device, The Verge reported. It will succeed the Lumia 800 and 900. The Phi will have the polycarbonate body that's standard for Lumias, and it will have a large curved glass display.
The Arrow smartphone will reportedly be a mid-range device that will be offered by both AT&T and T-Mobile. Another smartphone, which will almost be identical to the Arrow, will be offered by Verizon, The Verge said. Its code name is Atlas.
"I'd say Nokia would announce one [new smartphone], two at most," Lopez told TechNewsWorld. "I believe it makes sense for there to be a high-end flagship device and a low end."
CPR for the Ailing?
Whether or not Nokia and Microsoft are doing the right thing by launching two WinPho 8 devices less than a year after their first products running WinPho 7 were released remains to be seen.
Nokia took a beating and sales of WinPho 7 devices have been disappointing, Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu pointed out back in June. Heavy promotion and advertising by carriers, who want a viable alternative to Android and iOS, didn't seem to work. Nokia vowed to soldier on, Wu said.
Earlier this summer, it was announced that Windows Phone 7 devices would not be upgradable to WinPho 8, effectively relegating existing WinPho 7 handsets to dead-ender status.
"Nokia makes great devices," Lopez said. "Microsoft didn't do it any favors by changing from Windows 7 to 8 so quickly." She expressed hope that the new devices that might be released will give Nokia a much-needed boost.