One Last Roll of the Die for Nokia with the Lumia Line

Nokia Corporation has had a hard time of it lately. One the premier mobile phone provider, it has seen its fortunes overtaken by the likes of Apple and Samsung in recent years.

Now, fresh from partnering with Microsoft and its new Windows Phone 8, Nokia is releasing the first fruits of the partnership with the Lumia line in its effort to revive its smartphone business.

AT&T and Verizon are releasing Nokia’s new smartphones partially to reduce their dependence on Apple Inc.’s iPhone and Android-based phones – the big two in the market.

AT&T Inc. – the second largest carrier in the U.S. started selling Nokia’s latest Lumia – the 900, while the biggest U.S. carrier Verizon has started taking pre-orders for its customized Lumia 822 from November 13. Moreover, T-Mobile USA, one of the top 4 U.S. carriers, will likely offer the Lumia 810, before the holiday season ends.

Nokia allows carriers the opportunity to have their own customized Lumia models, and by so doing, to differentiate themselves from their competitors. This is similar to Android, where the carriers have modified the OS to produce unique smartphones.

The main cause of concern is the few apps for Windows Phone 8. Whereas the Android and Apple ecosystems have over 700,000 apps each, the Microsoft Store has a comparatively sparse 120,000-odd apps. Until the number of major apps grows significantly, this will be a major disadvantage vs. iOS and Android.

Nokia reported poor results in the third quarter of 2012, with the company shipping only 6.3 million smart devices, which include only 2.9 million Lumia series phones. Compare this to market leader Samsung’s 98 million phones sold in the third quarter and Nokia has some work to do.

To regain their former glory and gain major market share, they will need to move many more units in the coming few quarters. With HTC (WP8X and WP8S models) and Samsung (Ativ S model) jumping into the market (good for Microsoft, by the way), it will tougher than ever for Nokia to do so.