Wireless Smartphone Strategies

The industry’s most comprehensive set of critical market statistics and qualitative analysis, tracking and reporting on smartphones.

November 6, 2012 17:45 Neil Shah

AT&T announced launch availability and pricing of their latest offering Lumia 920 & Lumia 820 with revamped Windows Phone 8 platform enabling cutting edge specs. The smartphone market in the important North America market has so far been a two-horse race and things might change moving forward.

Our Wireless Smartphone strategies (WSS) service believes at $99 price point, Lumia 920 which with its cutting-edge hardware and software capabilities could be easily priced at $200+ subsidized retail. However, now it will hit a very sweet spot in terms of price for the consumers, a superb “value for money” any smartphone can offer this holiday season. Similarly, Lumia 820 is also a solid mid—range offering at $49 price-point.  To put into context, AT&T still has more than 35% of subscribers on feature phones as well as millions of existing potential smartphone owners which may be intending to switch or upgrade to fresher advanced smartphones such as Lumia 920 and $99 & $49 are great first time deals to target those subscribers over next 3-4 months. But this also means that with this pricing Nokia has lowered their pricing barrier for flagship devices, so next iteration should have something more cutting edge so Nokia can price it at levels where Nokia can make more profits and also roll-out a multi-carrier launch such as Galaxy SIII.

Additionally, with aggressive collaborative marketing and promotion from Nokia, AT&T as well as from Microsoft on Windows Phone 8 should help cement Nokia’s position in US and get Nokia phones in as many hands as possible. Furthermore, we believe the flagship exclusive is a brilliant move from Nokia in terms of long-term benefits with focused marketing, aggressive pricing and Lumia brand creation in USA. It might though hurt Nokia’s TAM in important US market for short term but gaining presence at three out of top four tier-1 carriers with Lumia devices is commendable and should pacify investors.

Though on a related note, AT&T also announced HTC 8X Windows Phone 8 pricing which is not as aggressively priced as Lumia 920, as HTC lost the AT&T exclusivity spot to Nokia's flagship and instead went for a multi-carrier launch and might hirt vendor's mindshare.


September 5, 2012 18:56 srobinson

Nokia announced the imminent arrival of two new Lumia smartphones at it's New York event today. The Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 devices integrate many of the things that Nokia and Microsoft having been working on during the last 18 months, including Windows Phone 8 operating system, wireless charging, PureView imaging technology and software to deliver some cool camera effects.

In brief, the key hardware specs of the Lumia 920 are:

- DISPLAY: A 4.5-inch display with a capacitive "Super Sensitive Touch" touchscreen interface that can be operated with/without gloves (utilising Synaptic's ClearPad Series 3 technology). The display delivers "PureMotion HD+", which Nokia claims is the best smartphone display technology around, combining greater than 720HD resolution with a very fast refresh rate. It also includes sunlight readability sensors and smart polarisers that change the colours and tones of the display to make it readable in direct sunlight.

- CAMERA: An 8.7MP CMOS sensor with Carl Zeiss optics, combined with Nokia's PureView imaging technology that first appeared in the 41MP Nokia 808 device a few months ago. The Lumia 920 takes excellent photos and HD video even in poor lighting conditions thanks to two key innovations: firstly an aperture of f/2.0 which allows an enormous amount of light to be captured and allows the use of a large silicon sensor in a thin form factor; and secondly floating lens technology that provides image stabilisation and allows the shutter to stay open longer without creating blurred images. Nokia claims that the Lumia 920 captures 5 to 10 times the amount of light that other cameraphones capture. The key to the image stabilisation feature is tiny springs that are mounted on the whole camera module, not just on the lens.

- BATTERY: The Lumia 920 is powered by a massive (for Nokia) 2000 mAh Li-Ion battery, but the main innovation here is the integration of wireless charging using the Wireless Power Consortium's "Qi" standard. This is a big boost for Qi and the WPC as Nokia brings other partners to the market too, including Virgin Atlantic and the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, who will have charging stations in their business lounges and coffee tables respectively. This will hopefully propel Qi forward to create a single standard, increasing compatibility and reducing fragmentation in the wireless charging landscape.

- PROCESSOR: Qualcomm's 1.5GHz Dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, MSM8960, is at the heart of the Lumia 920. It's a low-power, high-performance processor built on the leading-edge 28nm process node, delivering a stutter-free user experience and long(er) battery life. The modem in the MSM8960 supports 5 LTE bands and 4 HSPDA bands. Qualcomm's stranglehold on the Windows ecosystem is now in its third year of exclusivity.

- MEMORY: 32GB NAND Flash. Nothing sensational here and no memory card slot despite WP8 now supporting removable memory. Also, only one memory capacity option, unlike some of Nokia's competitors who offer higher memory capacity options for an extra $100, over 90% of which is pure profit. Has Nokia missed a trick here?

The Lumia 820 has some subtle differences:

- DISPLAY: 4.3 inch AMOLED display with 480x800 resolution, compared with the Lumia 920's 4.5-inch IPS-TFT with 720x1280 resolution.

- CAMERA: Same resolution 8MP main camera, but an aperture of f/2.2, compared with 8MP f/2.0 on the Lumia 920.

- BATTERY: A smaller 1650mAh battery. Still with wireless charging, this time in an exchangeable shell!

- PROCESSOR: Same.

- MEMORY: 8GB embedded NAND FLASH plus a microSDHC card slot supporting up to 32GB external memory, compared with the Lumia 920's 32GB and no slot.

The Lumia 920 is the culmination and integration of technology that has appeared in multiple Nokia devices recently. It takes the best of the Lumia 900's large display size, with the aesthetically pleasing curved display on the Lumia 800 and the incredible camera technology on the Symbian-based 808 PureView and mixes them up with some cutting-edge new image stabilisation camera technology, 4G LTE support, NFC, wireless charging and of course Windows Phone 8 .... Not bad Nokia!

Read the first impressions from our User Experience Practice of the Lumia 920's appeal to smartphone users here - Will Consumers Switch OS to get a Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 8?

- Stuart Robinson