Nokia will start selling its new smartphone, potentially its last chance to break into the most profitable part of mobile phone market and secure its future, in November, sources at European telecoms operators said on Friday.
The Lumia 920, which uses Microsoft’s Windows software, is Nokia’s attempt to catch up with Apple’s iPhone and a string of popular phones using Google’s Android software, like Samsung’s Galaxy models.
The new phone, which with its rounded edges and colourful covers look similar to its predecessors, was unveiled on Wednesday and drew a thumbs down from many analysts, who felt it lacked the “wow” factor to make big inroads against rivals.
They were also unsettled by Nokia’s refusal to say when the phone, and the smaller Lumia 820 models, would go on sale, or to give details on the price and operator partners.
Once the world’s biggest mobile phone maker, Nokia fell behind rivals in the fast-growing smartphone market and has struggled to catch up, racking up more than 3 billion euros in operating losses in the last 18 months and forcing it to cut 10,000 jobs, as well as pursue asset sales.
By going on sale in November, the Lumia 920 will hit stores in time for the key holiday sales season.
But it will probably be more than a month after Apple’s new iPhone and will also face stiff competition from Samsung, which last week unveiled the world’s first Windows Phone 8 model, as well as new models from HTC and Google’s Motorola.
An executive at an eastern European telecoms operator said he would start selling the Lumia 920 – which features a high-quality camera and touch screen that can be used with gloves – in the second half of November, adding larger countries would receive the model earlier that month.
“The problem is that Nokia has temporarily destroyed the market for its own phones. Nobody will buy the old Windows phone and until the new Lumia comes, the market is absolutely dead,” the executive said, declining to be named because he was not authorised to speak to the media on the subject.
Industry sources said on Thursday that Nokia had cut the prices of its older smartphones.
Analysts expect the Finnish firm to lose another 700 million euros in the July-September quarter and to sell around 3.6 million Windows phones, down from the last quarter.
In comparison, Samsung sold more than 20 million units of its flagship Galaxy S3 smartphone in just 100 days.
Samsung has become the world’s largest smartphone maker as Nokia’s share of the market has plunged to less than 10 percent from 50 percent during its heyday before the iPhone was launched in 2007.
A Nokia spokesman declined to comment on Friday on when the Lumia 920 would go on sale.