Nokia Lumia Gets Lukewarm Reception

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Microsoft and Nokia’s hopes of a spectacular turnaround in their mobile fortunes may take longer than expected

Europeans are not rushing out to buy Nokia’s Lumia 800 smartphones, the devices upon which the hopes of Microsoft and Nokia are pinned.

The Lumia handset is the first flagship device from the Finnish mobile phone maker to feature Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system. Both companies are pinning their hopes on the phones to restore their respective fortunes in the mobile sector.

Lukewarm Response

They may have to wait a little longer, according to a survey by brokerage firm Exane BNP Paribas. The study found that only 2.2 percent of potential European mobile customers intend to purchase the handset, and sales figures for the handset have been dramatically reduced in the brokerage’s estimates.

“With only 2.2 percent of surveyed buyers firmly intending to purchase the Lumia, Nokia’s first flagship Windows Phone is … far behind the current blockbusters, Apple’s iPhone 4S and Samsung’s Galaxy S II,” analyst Alexander Peterc was quoted as saying in a note.

The bad news was compounded by Exane BNP Paribas slashing its sales estimates of the Lumia to just 800,000 units. This is a far cry from its initial “ballpark estimate” of two million users. The brokerage said this compared poorly with the 3.5 to 4 million sales of Nokia’s previous flagship device, the N8 smartphone based on the Symbian operating system, during its first quarter.

The brokerage firm came up with these figures after it surveyed 1,300 consumers in the five markets where the Lumia 800 was on sale in the week starting 5 December. It apparently narrowed the sample to 456 users who admitted the intention to purchase a smartphone in the next month.

It is worth noting that Exane BNP Paribas is not alone in predicting poor sales for the Lumia. In November, James Faucette, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities said he expects the Lumia to fail to achieve blockbuster sales.

“With no breakthrough innovation, we believe Nokia’s new phones are unlikely to get traction in a highly concentrated high end,” Faucette wrote in a research note, quoted by The New York Times. With that in mind, he set Nokia Windows Phone sales for the quarter to 500,000 units, down from his previous projection of two million.

Early Days

The Nokia Lumia 800 and 710 smartphones arrived with much fanfare at the Nokia World event in London in October. The actual commercial launch of the handsets took place in November in the UK amid a blanket of both TV and other forms of advertising.

While the Lumia 800 has been met with mostly positive reviews, there are concerns over its high price, especially in light of the fact that the device must convince Android and iOS users to return to the Nokia fold.

Official sales figures have yet to be released but Nokia responded to the downbeat prediction of Lumia sales in a statement:

“We have only started our journey to regain smartphone leadership, but we are pleased with the early results,” Nokia told Slashgear. “The Lumia 800 is getting good traction in all six European markets where it has already launched. Initial feedback from India, Hong Kong, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan – where the Lumia 800 start selling this week – has been very encouraging.”

Nokia meanwhile is set to unveil its Lumia 800 Windows phone plans for the North American market at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show in January.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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