Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Nokia Lumia 900 Pre-Orders Begin

Microsoft has begun taking orders for a flagship Windows Phone it hopes will give its mobile franchise a much needed lift.

The Nokia Lumia 900, which features dual cameras in an ultra-slim case, can be pre-ordered for $25 at Microsoft's brick-and-mortar stores around the country. The company has not officially announced a release date for the device, but there's widespread speculation that the phone will ship on March 18.

At his CES keynote with Ryan Seacrest last month, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the Lumia 900, which is geared to run on AT&T's high-speed LTE network, would be "heavily promoted" in all off the carrier's 2,400 U.S. stores, but he did not disclose a ship date or pricing information. Analysts speculate that the phone will be priced at about $99 with a two-year contract.

The Lumia 900 boasts a generous 4.3-inch AMOLED ClearBlack display, an 8-MP camera with a lens from German optics specialist Carl Zeiss, a front-facing camera for videoconferencing, a 1.4-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and 14.5 GB of available storage. It's also less than half-an-inch thick.

Like all Windows Phones, it uses Microsoft's Metro interface and Live Tiles, which display real-time updates from social networks, e-mail, messaging, and other services, directly to the home screen.

Many observers feel the Lumia 900 could be the breakthrough device that the Windows Phone platform needs to boost its anemic share of the U.S. mobile operating system market. Microsoft's mobile share in the U.S. fell to 4.7% in December, according to market watcher ComScore.
Nokia struck an alliance with Microsoft last year, under which it is porting virtually all of its handsets to Windows Phone 7 and beyond. The first entry, the Lumia 710, hit stores in January. It's available for $50 with a two-year contract on T-Mobile through the carrier's website and stores, or at electronics retailers like Best Buy.

The Lumia 710 is similar to other mid-market offerings based on the Windows Phone platform, such as the Samsung Focus Flash or the HTC Radar. It runs on a 1.4-GHz Snapdragon, and features a 3.7-inch ClearBlack scratch-resistant display, a 5-MP camera, and 8 GB of storage. It's available in black or white.

Next in line is the Lumia 800. The 800 is armed with an ultra-bright ClearBlack AMOLED screen that adds cyan and magenta to the standard RGB electronic display spectrum. It's also got Carl Zeiss optics in its 8-MP camera and HD video playback.

Microsoft has said the Lumia 800 would be available in the coming months, but has not provided a precise ship date.

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