Nokia has unveiled a new addition to its Windows Phone-based Lumia line-up with the 900 model at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The device will be the first LTE-capable smartphone using the Windows Phone operating system, indicating that the new 4G network is just about ready for mass market adoption and migration from 3G.
The Lumia 900 is being positioned by Nokia as a high end model, with the soon to be launched Lumia 710 at the lower end.
The Lumia 800, previously viewed as the high end model, will occupy the market space in between the Lumia 900 and 710.
While Ovum chief telecom analyst, Jan Dawson, has not viewed the lower powered Lumia 710 as "the best advertisement for Windows Phone on Nokia", since it lacks certain features to help it stand out among other Windows Phones, but he feels that the Lumia 900 rectifies that.
“The Lumia 900 represents Nokia's first serious step into the US with its Windows Phone line,” he said.
Stand-out hardware features of the Lumia 900 include a 4.3-inch AMOLED display and an 1830 mAH battery to meet the consumption demands of LTE.
In addition to a high quality primary camera that uses Nokia’s Carl Zeiss optics, the Lumia 900 is the first Windows Phone with a front-facing camera and allow users to make video calls over the high speed 4G network.
Nokia has announced a spring launch of the device in the U.S. exclusively on AT&T's LTE network, indicating that the vendor is serious about recapturing market share in one of the world’s key smartphone markets.
When contacted about the launch details for the Lumia 900 in Australia, a Nokia Australia spokesperson was unable to confirm the local availability of the smartphone.
A big question mark still hovers around how premium, US-centric content for the Lumia 900, such as AT&T U-verse Mobile and ESPN sports hub, will be adjusted and/or changed for the Australian market if Nokia does go ahead and launch the device domestically.
Nokia's announcement at CES is notable in that it demonstrates the clout the vendor has with Microsoft and its Windows Phone platform, which has enabled Nokia to not only incorporate new hardware features such as the front facing camera, but also to be the first to market with an LTE-enabled Windows Phone.
Dawson also sees the Lumia 900 announcement as a sign that telcos such as AT&T are becoming serious about offering LTE phones in the U.S.
“The device will get significant marketing support from Nokia and AT&T, and therefore has the best opportunity of any Windows Phone launched to date to do well in the market,” he said.
While Dawson is cautiously optimistic about the device, he believes it is too early to say whether the Lumia 900 “will be a blockbuster,” as the exact timing and pricing were not announced at CES and could affect its success in an already fiercely fought smartphone market.