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News of a new Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) product dominates the landscape for weeks before its release. This month, every tech player is going to have to fight the hype surrounding the suspected September 12 debut of the iPhone 5, and Nokia’s (NYSE:NOK) Windows Phone 8 is at the front line. On September 5, Nokia and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) are rumored to launch the Lumina 820 and the Lumina 920, the first phones based on the Windows Phone 8.
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This is a moment of life or death for Nokia, says CCS Insight Director of Research Ben Wood. “The phones need to have a wow-factor, which generates the kind of buzz that Samsung, Apple, and others have been able to generate with new phone launches. If it fails to get that reaction at the time of the announcement, that does not bode well for the future of the portfolio.”
Nokia might be able to create that buzz with features like PureView, which should enhance the photo capability of the Lumina 920’s 8-megapixel camera, which otherwise pales against the Nokia 80’s 41-megapixel camera. Word of a wireless charging pad could also gain Nokia ground against the iPhone. Nokia saw growth in August, but phone sales are only half of what they were in 2010. Nokia’s stock price reflects this depressing fact:
According to Francisco Jeronimo of IDC, in order for Nokia and the Windows platform to grow, they are going to need to offer more diverse options. “It is very important to see a wider choice of smartphones based on Windows Phone at a lower price point,” said Jeronimo. “Nokia has started growing the portfolio and lowering the price with the Lumina 610 and 710, but much more is needed.”
Now that Nokia is more involved in the development of Windows Phone 8, CEO Stephen Elop says, “we are just getting started with products that are great in the market right now.”
Much of Nokia’s success will hinge on general adoption of the Windows Phone 8 operating system. With the recent launch of Samsung’s ATIV S, the Windows platform is bringing some friends to the fight against Apple and other competitors. HTC and Huawei are also both expected to launch smartphones using the Microsoft OS. Regardless, in the very near future we will know whether Nokia has a major positive “Catalyst for a Stock’s Movement”.
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