Can Nokia’s Lumia Be a Mass-Market Success?

nokia-lumia510-phoneThe Chinese version of Nokia’s (NYSE:NOK) flagship Windows phone, the Lumia 920T, sold out during its recent Shanghai debut, adding to the current debate over whether there is a mass-market for the struggling Finnish phone manufacturer’s new product line.

How successful has Nokia’s Lumia been?

While Nokia’s limited early supply of Lumia 920Ts made it difficult to gauge the demand in China, the phone sold out within two hours of its release. The phone also topped Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) China’s top-five list last week, but dropped off after it once again sold out. Nokia, which  secured a contract with the country’s largest wireless company, China Mobile (NYSE:CHL), in early December, has helped boost the phone’s popularity with its low-cost offer. While the phone costs $738, or 4,599 yuan, without a contract, the device can be bought for as low as 1 yuan with a 2-year service contract that amounts to $62 per month. However, prices could drop as the company’s competitor, China Unicom (NYSE:CHU), is reportedly offering a similar deal.

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The Lumia 920 also made headway in the United States, climbing up Amazon’s top-selling cellphone chart over the past week. The black model of the phone debuted at number three, dropped out of the top-40 as Amazon’s delivery time spanned to two weeks, and subsequently rose to number 14 on the list. As the electronics publication BGR reported, these standings make the Lumia, the second-most popular phone carried by AT&T (NYSE;T) on Amazon after the Samsung (SSNLF.PK) Galaxy S III. However, it should be noted that the Lumia 822 has done poorly at Verizon (NYSE:VZ), and the phone has been discounted by the carrier.

CHEAT SHEET Analysis: What prospects does Nokia’s Lumia smartphones have?

One of the core components of our CHEAT SHEET Investing Framework requires that companies consistently produce successful products or services. While Nokia’s first phone running Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows operating system does not have the popular support to compete with Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone, the Lumia is experiencing moderate success, although the company has not yet released any sales figures. However, as the phone’s movement on Amazon’s top-40 chart shows, AT&T may have an incentive to “build up a third rival for the Apple and Android ecosystem,” according to BGR. But Nokia’s position depends heavily on the release of Research in Motion’s (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry 10; after all, AT&T does not need to support two minor operating systems.

As for China, the Lumia’s early success could help China Mobile find a mass-market hit without Apple and the necessary marketing and subsidy costs associated with carrying the iPhone.

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