Nokia has released today its preliminary Q4 2012 numbers and, while the Devices and Services division made a welcome return to profit, shipments of its Lumia smartphones grew at a slightly slower rate than we expected.

Key Devices and Services Q4 2012 data points included:

  • 86.3 million total handsets shipped were an improvement on 82.9 million the previous quarter, but still a little short of our expectations;
  • 4.4 million Lumia Windows Phone devices were an improvement on 2.9 million units the previous quarter, but also slightly short of our forecasts;
  • Shipments of 9.3 million Asha devices were shipped, which was a healthy improvement on 6.5 million the previous quarter;
  • Operating margin for the devices division of 0% to 2% was slightly above our own expectations and Nokia’s previous guidance of around -6%
  • Operating margin outlook for the devices division in Q1 2013 is in a range around -6% to +2%.

In summary, Nokia is doing a good job to control costs and regrow profits, but there is still some way to go for its smartphone division to be nursed back to full health.