Nokia of America Exec Says ‘Plenty of Life Left’ for Lumia 900, Do You Agree?

One thing we discussed at GearFest was the state of Windows Phone. There was quite a bit of enthusiasm when the Mango update arrived and breathed new life into the OS. Then came the partnership with Nokia, and it started to feel like Microsoft would see reasonable success – and the release of the Lumia 710 and 900 phones in particular just added to the feelings of excitement for the future of the platform.

Then came the announcement that Windows Phone 8 wouldn’t support ANY device currently available – including the brand new flagship Lumia 900. For many who recommended devices to others or bought them themselves [Judie raises hand], it felt like a slap in the face: it seemed we had just gone through the Windows Mobile to Windows Phone 7 reboot, and here we were looking at ANOTHER ‘scorched earth’ updates.

NeoWin spoke to Nokia America Leadership Team member Matt Rothschild, noting:

When it comes to the Lumia 900, Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 7.8, there is a lot of conversation about the device hitting a dead-end. We asked this to Matt and he responded that “there is a lot of life left in these devices” and that they “are continuing to invest in this product” and the “platform has a long way to go”. Matt was not holding back on the Lumia 900 and stated that there is “absolutely great innovation coming to this product” and “you will continue to see new news about” the Lumia 900 which could be new software updates, apps, or something else; Matt did not specify what the new items would be but that there is more coming down the pipe.

Matt provided an interesting perspective about all the new items coming to the Lumia devices, he actually claims that it’s not the lack of news about the devices, it’s that there is so much news that they do not want to “overwhelm [the reps] with new information”.

I have a few thoughts about this:
1. We know from specs that MOST features are NOT coming to existing devices. All that we are REALLY getting with 7.8 is a ‘fresh coat of paint’, virtually speaking.
2. Very few phones will get 7.8, and Nokia will only make ‘great innovations’ for the Lumia 900. For anyone else – Windows Phone really IS a dead issue until the launch of Windows Phone 8. Accessories are dead, software is dead, and support is dead.
3. Adoption rates remain low, and the app market is also rather thin. For people looking for a new phone to invest in FOR TWO YEARS … why would they choose Windows Phone now?
4. Microsoft made a huge gamble by abandoning existing devices; do you think they REALLY want Nokia focusing on ANYTHING but Windows Phone 8? Really?

Another question that always comes up – does the current $49 price change things? NO! As we have been through time and again, the upfront cost differential between the $50 Lumia 900 and a $200 iPhone 4S or Samsung Galaxy SIII amounts for about $1.50 a month over the course of the contract. And considering the contract costs for a smartphone are about $60 a month, the price of phone is really a minor issue.

We know from recent market share data that Windows Phone share is ~1.3% of the market – which basically means that in spite of Mango and the Lumia phones and LOADS more marketing, there is fairly stagnant adoption of the platform. Microsoft made a big gamble as I said, and all of it is based on the confluence of Windows 8-based platforms. There is simply no room for continued support on anything but a marginal legacy basis.

What do you think? Do you see any future for these products? Or is this just some PR spin trying to stave off the total death of the platform prior to the Windows Phone 8 release? Let us know in the comments!

Source: NeoWin via WMPU

Categories: Gear Bits, Rants and Raves

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2 replies

  1. I see a future for WP8. There’s some life for the current WP7 devices, but they’re pretty much dead. If I could get a Lumia off-contract, it would be somewhat worth it. To renew for two years? No – that’s just foolish at this point.

    I think MS is investing quite a bit in the platform, but it’s hard to get momentum going. The popular apps are coming (finally) and hearing from developers, native code support is going to make a huge difference for WP8. However, I couldn’t recommend that people buy a new WP7 device on contract at this point, even though I really like the platform.

    I’ll admit I’m holding out a little hope that MS will throw some of the non-hardware-dependent features towards 7.8, but it’s pretty small hope. The new start screen isn’t really enough to get that excited. Getting Wallet and some better support for BG apps would be nice and I don’t get why that would require the increased hardware specs. Of course, we’ll have to wait to see what happens after WP8 is released and MS releases the 7.8 version. By that time, I’ll likely have purchased a WP8 device. The specs and changes really are a big improvement.

    I’m just waiting. My WP7.5 devices are running well. The more recognized apps are (finally) coming. I don’t know what MS will finally include so there could be some life to carry people through until their next upgrade. I think that the whole Lumia 900 and no upgrade announcement was poorly handled, but as you noted, market share is low so now would be the time to do it. I agree that it’s pretty much a slap in the face to their user base, but there’s always the chance that MS/Nokia could choose to make things right for those who bought a device prior to their “no upgrade” announcement.

  2. I’ve gotten into this discussion with a number of folk a number of times and they seem to think I’m “complaining excessively” about how this has been handled. I always remind the commenter that this is not the same as other devices being abandoned for new models. There are some key differences. Among them:
    * This was a flagship device. Flagship devices are usually NOT abandoned by the next major release (but lesser devices often are). In this case, the hardware is incapable of drivin the next OS version. OK, fine. Why release it then and refer to it as a flagship? It would have made more sense to include the next-gen harware before releasing this device. Now all they’ve done is create a PR problem.

    * The Lumia 900 was released less than 2 months before the announcement! With development cycles being what they are (plus Nokia being ready to talk about Win 8 devices right at the announcement) this means that MS (and possibly Nokia) had to know it was dead before it was ever released. It also means that Lumia users are NOT near the end of their contracts. Anyone who thinks that Lumia 900 users will get decent support for the entire next 2 years is kidding themselves.

    * The move to Windows Phone 8 is also a change in development platforms. This means it’s not just a lack of new features, but the whole programming platform is being abandoned. That means few, if any, new apps going forward. People seem to forget that moving to a new OS release usually doesn’t mean that you lose app support, but in this case, you do! I keep hearing “well Apple often shortchanges older phones on neew OS features”. So what? This isn’t about feature support. It’s about the fact that app support has basically been killed by this move. Not a good thing.

    * The Lumia 900 was been specifically advertised as the “end of the beta test”. If it was the end, then what is Windows 8? That campaign was clearly an outright “lie” (in practice, if not intent).
    * Unlike the Android and iOS app markets, the WP app market is still horribly thin in many areas. This means current users don’t necessarily have access to all the types of apps they might want. The onoing hope in the platform was that eventually, those apps would materialize. That is unlikely to happen now. The limited market is all you get (for the most part). Growth will slow if not completely stop very soon. Why would anyone develop for a dead platform, especially since that platform has a very small marketshare?!?
    I think that anything coming out of MS and Nokia right now is just PR spin and I’m not buying it. Even if they give away the device for free it isn’t worth it to get locked into a contract on a device whose whole platform just got end-of-lifed. No thanks!
    Overall, I like the Lumia 900 despite it’s limitations, but I feel slapped by MS and I am questioning whether or not to even give WP 8 a roll. That platform might do well, it might not. I’m not certain, but even if it’s great, I’m not inclined to to trust MS to support any device I might buy going forward. Why should I when their current line is “Don’t worry – this is only a one-time thing.” What? What was WinMob then? I still use my Lumia 900, but I went back to my iPone 4s as my daily driver. At least I know that will be supported for at a few more years!