Nokia Windows Phones are coming this year ... if you live outside the United States. Nokia announced its two Lumia devices today at Nokia World 2011 in London and said that the devices will be almost immediately available in most Western European countries and in Asian-Pacific countries sometime later in November. Yet, the Lumia devices will be announced with a new "product portfolio" in the U.S. in early 2012.The much-anticipated
What gives, Nokia? The product release schedule sounds a lot like the Nokia of old. The one that hardly exists in North America smartphones. We know that Nokia is counting on the U.S. market to bolster its hype cycle for the new Lumia devices and that phone makers and Microsoft are going to throw huge marketing dollars behind it. If there are Nokia Windows Phones ready to ship from the factory in Finland, how can the company justify missing the lucrative U.S. holiday shopping season?
Ample Carrots For ConsumersIn a conversation with Nokia's head of North America Chris Weber in London last night, he said that he has his marketing budget for Nokia devices in the United States. It will be ample. Microsoft is very invested in creating a U.S. market for Windows Phone through Nokia.
The campaign will likely mirror what Microsoft did with the Xbox 360 and Kinect. Basically, throw money at marketing until a product becomes successful. Microsoft, and by extension Nokia, are committed to Windows Phone and are reasonably excited by it. The two companies have developed a large developer base, are creating a distinctive product and application ecosystem that will serve the duo well in mobile channels. Nokia has worldwide brand loyalty that will bring Windows Phone to the reaches of the globe and certainly increase sales.
Missing Out On Mind Share by Skipping the Holiday Season?
Nokia needs the U.S. market to start paying attention to it and specifically to Windows Phone. Excitement in the U.S. is like a great big ball of worldwide marketing hype as bloggers and social media spread the word of the next great product. Nokia understands this and plans on tapping into those channels with creative marketing programs (more on that later).
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to how consumers purchase mobile devices. The carriers subsidize devices from the OEMS and then sell them on contract for cheaper rates. Hence, every holiday season a fresh new round of two-year contracts start and people are locked into their devices for at least the next 18 months. The next round of shoppers will see what smartphones their friends are carrying and it will inform their decision. By shipping in early 2012, Nokia misses that cycle in the U.S. and it could have very detrimental effects as the window for popular mind share closes. History is filled with great, people, devices, technology and ideas that were born a minute too late and never became relevant. That is the predicament for Nokia in North America.
Disclosure: Nokia paid for ReadWriteWeb's travel and accommodations to Nokia World 2011.