And the Lumia 710 shall lead them. T-Mobile and Nokia today announced the first Nokia Windows Phone in the U.S.: not the flashy Lumia 800, but its lower-cost sibling, the Lumia 710. I got some time with it and spoke to Nokia and T-Mobile execs about the companies' strategy.
First, the phone: the Lumia 710 is a medium-sized, slab-style cell phone with cropped corners and a curved back. It isn't really a rectangle, but it also isn't as radically shaped as the Lumia 800. Below the 3.7-inch, 800-by-480 LCD screen there's a large physical button, and there's a 5-megapixel camera that records 720p video on the soft-touch back. The phone comes in black and white.
Nokia used pretty classy materials for a $49-with-contract phone, although the 710 doesn't measure up to the Lumia 800's polycarbonate body. The bright, sharp screen is Corning Gorilla Glass, and the phone feels solidly built. Turned off, the black model has the usual problem where it will blend in with a line of other black slab phones, though.
The Lumia 710 runs Microsoft's Windows Phone Mango OS with a few exclusive additions. Nokia's Drive GPS software offers free driving directions, both on and offline, in 2D and 3D. App Highlights helps point out useful apps among the 40,000-plus in Microsoft's store, and T-Mobile TV offers several dozen streaming TV channels.
"Lumia is the first real Windows Phone," Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said. "We are signaling our intent right now to be today's leaders in smartphone design and craftmanship, no question about it."
And while the 800 may not make it to the U.S., "We will be introducing a portfolio of products into the United States in early 2012," Elop said.
Those U.S. phones may include "LTE and CDMA products" as well as "WCDMA and HSPA" phones, Elop said. That means every U.S. carrier is on the table, including Verizon and Sprint. Nokia hasn't made a phone compatible with either of those carriers' networks since 2005.
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