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Summary:

Nokia is hitting both the high- and low-end markets with two new handsets. The Lumia 620 is $249 before subsidies and are smartly aimed at new smartphone owners. The full-featured Lumia 920T comes to China Mobile, the largest operator in world, which has no iPhone.

Lumia 620

Nokia introduced two new smartphones on Wednesday, the Lumia 620 and Lumia 920T. These represent the opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to handsets: The low-end 620 carries an unsubsidized $249 price tag while the 920T will retail at more than $700 minus any carrier subsidies. Yet, both together represent what may be Nokia’s best chance to gain market share on its peers.

The budget-priced Lumia 620 is aimed at the first-time smartphone buyer and perhaps that’s a good audience to target. Most who have a smartphone have already invested in either iOS or Android apps for their phone, making it a barrier to switch. Some surely will give up their iPhone or Android for a Windows Phone, but so far, relatively few have based on market share and sales figures.

Consider a feature phone owner that hasn’t bought apps tied a platform, however. At $249 retail, a carrier could easily subsidize the cost down to nothing and the new smartphone owner would have a capable, easy to use device with apps and a media ecosystem in Windows Phone.

The device has a 3.8” ClearBlack display with 800×480 resolution, 8 GB of internal storage with expansion up to 64 GB, 5 megapixel auto-focus camera supporting 720p video capture, and a 1 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor. Also included are radios for NFC, GPS, Bluetooth, and dual-band Wi-Fi.

There’s little here that a first-time smartphone buyer would be missing. And while smartphone penetration in the US and a few other regions is already past the halfway mark, there are plenty of countries where feature phones are still in the majority. It’s here that the Lumia 620 — and Windows Phone — has opportunity.

Lumia 920T launchThe other big opportunity is China, the world’s largest smartphone market, and that’s where the Lumia 920T comes in. This is the first Windows Phone 8 device on China Mobile — the nation’s biggest operator with 703 million subscribers — and the first Windows Phone device that supports the TD-SCDMA 3G interface. This alone helps the Lumia 920T stand out as Apple’s iPhone doesn’t yet support this 3G standard.

Nokia’s new Lumia 920T likely shares much of the same parts and functionality of its flagship 920, with the addition of the TD-SCMA support, of course. A dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro chip with slight variations and a different GPU will power the 920T.

Nokia hasn’t announced any other official specs, but much of what buyers like in the original 920 should be there. That phone has a 4.5-inch 1280 x 768 display, 8.7 megapixel camera with optical image stabilization, Qi wireless charging and every radio or sensor one would want in a modern smartphone. AT&T currently sells the 920 for $99 with contract in the US, but the audience is limited due to the lead in mind share, if not market share, that iOS and Android have. While Android is a big seller in China, the lack of iPhone on China Mobile should help Nokia.

Since Windows Phone and Nokia were both late to the current smartphone era, I see more opportunity now with this strategy of a low-cost Lumia for areas still dominated by feature phones and a China flagship variant that doesn’t yet have to compete with Apple’s iPhone.

If this doesn’t work to build sales momentum, however, I’m not sure where else Nokia can find new Lumia opportunities going forward. And in many respects, that’s a shame because the Lumias are a solid line of smartphones that are plagued more by their timing than their actual features and functions.

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  1. The 620 is the best WP phone Nokia has made so far (few minuses and good price) ,yet it could be better if it was thinner,did at least 1080p video recording (if not a higher res cam) and having a much thinner bezel wouldn’t hurt. The SoC seems to be dual Krait clocked down to just 1GHz (they mention once in the press release S4 Plus and all listed Plus SoCs are Krait based) , if so not sure why they don’t highlight that, it’s quite nice for such a low end device.
    Nokia phones are all well above 10mm thick when just about everybody is well bellow.The 920 has no SD is fat with a 2 gens old design and way heavy.
    So if this fails … what Nokia can do is make a good phone ,they haven’t done that yet.It’s one thing to not push forward much and quite another to get so many things wrong.
    Everybody else makes thin and not too heavy phones,if you can have a sim slot you can have a microSD slot too,Moto found a way to have a thin bezel so it just isn’t all that impossible.A great new look would help too,but it has to be new so consumers at least know it’s a new product not the same 2y old one.
    Sure some of the Lumia phones have pluses too,wireless charging (ruined if charger not included) and video stabilization on the 920 are nice but not when you have too many minuses.They are already hadicapped by the OS

    1. Timo Pitkäranta jjj Thursday, December 6, 2012

      Everyone else also make phones that crack and need awkward covers which make them look ugly and fat, well fatter than Nokia devices. This one got micro SD slot expandable up to 64 GB. exchangable covers, exchangable battery, so what’s your point?

      A Good phone thin and light smartphone with no features (iPhone 5)
      A Good phone ugly smartphone with lots of features (SGS3)

  2. kevin, an avid reader since the JKOTR days. OT but just have a quick question. i seem to recall you posting a rubber thing that keeps the headphone in place to prevent it from tangling. cant seem to find it. can you please point me to the right direction?

    1. Always good to hear from the long-time readers, jt! :) I think this might be what you’re looking for: http://gigaom.com/mobile/say-goodbye-to-knotted-earbud-cords-for-10/

      1. exactly what i was looking for! thanks! :-)

      2. Interesting product but way too much work, I like this one better http://www.cordcruncher.com/

      3. This is also a pretty simple and lightweight solution to that problem: http://www.wishbros.com/

  3. Andreas Tsouchlaris Wednesday, December 5, 2012

    Reblogged this on Paradigm Shift and commented:
    “If this doesn’t work to build sales momentum, however, I’m not sure where else Nokia can find new Lumia opportunities going forward. And in many respects, that’s a shame because the Lumias are a solid line of smartphones that are plagued more by their timing than their actual features and functions.”

  4. I’ve been saying for a while that Nokia is the underdog and has a chance of being number one again. Reasoning is that Iphone looks set for a massive fall with the lack of wow factor in Iphone 5 combined with the Nokia / Microsoft alliance. In any case the Samsung S3 outsold Iphone in Q3 showing that all phones no matter how great they once were can fall from #1 position.

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