Lumia Interest Sizzles on Nokia’s October Event Teaser

Nokia has tweeted that it’s doing something having to do with innovation on Oct. 22, but it won’t say what or where. However, there’s heavy speculation that the company set that date to unveil its much-delayed Lumia 1520 phablet.

The phablet is rumored to have a 6-inch 1920 x 1080 pixel HD screen.

Its launch reportedly has been put off several times, and though tech specs purporting to belong to it have proliferated on the Web, nothing has been confirmed.

“It’s our policy not to comment on market rumors and speculation,” Nokia spokesperson Jennifer Lyons told TechNewsWorld.

The Lumia 1520 Buzz

The rumor mill roundup:

  • The 1520 could be the first mobile device to run Windows Phone 8 General Distribution 3 (GD3).
  • It will probably be based on a quad-core 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor.
  • The 1520 will have a 16-MP or a 20-MP Pureview camera.
  • It will apparently target the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which was unveiled earlier this month at the IFA consumer electronics conference in Berlin.
  • The Lumia 1520 reportedly is codenamed “Bandit,” and its release initially was scheduled for later this month in New York, but the launch has been pushed back several times.
  • Other rumors have pegged its launch date as Nov. 8.
  • The Lumia 1520 is expected to be released on AT&T’s network, but a white variant might be available from Verizon, New Cell Phones reports, based on a tweet on the Sina Weibo microblog.

What Is and What Could Be

Nokia reportedly pushed back the Lumia 1520’s launch date because of Microsoft’s pending acquisition of its handset business.

“I think that purchase has played a little into the delay, but it also has a little to do with what mobile OS it’s going to run and on what platform — x86 or Qualcomm,” Will Stofega, a program director at IDC, told TechNewsWorld.

Speculation about who will be the next CEO of Microsoft might also have been a factor, he suggested.

Further, it has been rumored that Microsoft will release Windows Phone 8 GD3 with new firmware from Nokia codenamed “Bittersweet Shimmer” that together will enable new hardware features such as advanced Qualcomm processors and 1080p display resolution, among other things.

This makes it more likely that the Lumia 1520 will be released in October, with Windows Phone 8 GD3.

Market Positioning

Suggestions that the Lumia 1520 will be positioned against the Galaxy Note 3 are probably off the wall.

“You don’t want to go into the market and take on somebody that’s a giant,” Stofega said. “Samsung is trying to push the envelope in terms of volume; Nokia will probably try to differentiate in terms of experience, but also in terms of quality and design.”

The Lumia 1520 “effectively will be a Microsoft tablet once the merger is complete, and given [former Nokia CEO and current Microsoft CEO candidate Stephen] Elop’s interest in it … it will likely be a halo product and be designed to pull traffic and interest to the Windows Phone line,” Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, told TechNewsWorld.

As for the white variant that might be available from Verizon, forget it.

“Typically, AT&T negotiates for exclusivity,” Enderle pointed out.

Windows Phone 8 is slowly picking up steam — IDC predicts it will take more than 10 percent of the worldwide smartphone OS market by 2017, running third behind Apple and well ahead of fourth-placed BlackBerry’s nearly 2 percent.

Nokia’s smartphones are also gaining market share, doing so faster than any other major brand, Enderle pointed out, although that growth admittedly is from a small user base. Their sales have been driven by their optics, with the Lumia 1020’s 41-MP camera being particularly popular, Enderle commented.

Further, phablets are hot, and “Nokia wants a piece of that action, which is why the 1520 exists,” Enderle said.

Nokia “got some good volume in the lower-end brands like the 520,” IDC’s Stofega noted. “Now they have to execute and grow their market while retaining their installed base.”

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