With Nokia finally having unveiled its U.S. Lumia 900 Windows Phone, analysts have already begun to question whether the device will be able to reverse the company's reportedly ailing fortunes.
Nokia Circling the Drain
Following speculation that Nokia's Lumia 800 failed to meet the company's targets, fresh rumours of a Microsoft take-over have emerged.
Whispers of a Microsoft buy-out emerged in January after reports erupted suggesting Nokia's opening Lumia 800 and 710 Windows Phones had failed to improve Microsoft's diminutive share of the smartphone market. The claims reached peaked after a Forbes interview with influential Russian tech blogger Eldar Murtazin emerged suggesting Nokia and Microsoft emerged suggesting the two companies had held talks about a Microsoft take-over in November, 2011.
Though quickly reported as false by both Microsoft and Nokia, rumours of a take-over originally arose in June 2011. The reports suggested that Microsoft was set to buy the smartphone division of Nokia, allowing the Finnish Phone giant to re-focus its efforts on developing feature phones for emerging markets.
"Help me Lumia, You're our only Hope"
Unveiled at 2012's Consumer Electronics Show the Lumia 900 adds slightly improved spec and 4G LTE connectivity to Nokia's arsenal and is set to be the company's first high-end U.S. Windows Phone. Since being unveiled numerous research bodies have indicated that the device's performance may decide the company's future.
As noted by Ovum's chief telecom's analyst, Jan Dawson, the company has invested significant resources on the device, even going so far as to call it the company's "flagship" Windows Phone.
"The Lumia 900 represents Nokia's first serious step into the US with its Windows Phone line," commented Dawson. Continuing: "It offers a large and high quality screen, LTE connectivity, a front-facing camera and a number of other features not seen either on T-Mobile's 710 or on the Lumia 800 which has already launched in Europe."
Nokia's emphasis on the new Lumia was later reiterated in the company's CES public statement: "The introduction of the Nokia Lumia 900 with AT&T is another significant milestone in the ongoing rollout of Nokia's global smartphone strategy," commented Chris Weber, president of Nokia Americas. "The Nokia Lumia 900 is designed specifically with the US in mind and the announcement of this collaboration with AT&T, in addition to other recent announcements, signifies a new dawn for Nokia in the US."
Jeff Bradley, senior vice president of devices for AT&T - the network carrier exclusively offering the Lumia 900 - later added: "Together, we are working to supercharge the ecosystem around the Nokia Lumia 900 and the Windows Phone platform."
Nokia Remains Defiant
Despite the sea of negativity surrounding its future, Nokia representatives have reiterated constant optimism, maintaining that its Windows Phone devices were selling well.
Earlier in 2011 Nokia released a statement denying the poor sales rumours surrounding its recently released Lumia 800 smartphone.
In its statement a Nokia spokesperson clarified that according to its own sales figures, the Lumia 800 was one of the company's most successful device launches to date.
"According to the earliest data we have, in less than a full week of sales in a lead market like the UK, we can surmise the following," said a Nokia spokesperson. "The UK is our first market to be enjoying the Lumia launch with a full range of marketing and retail training.
"Lumia 800 sales in the UK are off to an excellent start. Based on earliest data the sales start of the Lumia 800 is the best ever first week of Nokia smartphone sales in the UK in recent history."
Later adding: "Based on Net Promoter Scores - which measure a consumer's willingness to recommend the product to a friend - the Lumia 800 has received the highest NPS score of any Nokia device we have launched in recent history in the UK.
"Given our deliberate, sequenced rollout across countries and with future launches ahead, this is a critical metric for long-term success. By our measures, we have gained significant smartphone sell-out share in the channels in which we are operating in the UK.
"In short 'The level of pre-orders, as well as reaction in shops, leads us to be very positive about the launch of the Nokia Lumia 800.'"
Though no firm sales figures were given, Nokia's latest statement conformed to a previous report from network carrier Orange. Just after the Lumia's release, Orange confirmed that Nokia's Lumia 800 Windows Phone had attracted the most "attention" it's ever seen for a Nokia device.
Despite its defiance, analysts have remained divided regarding the Lumia 900's fate. "The device will get significant marketing support from Nokia and AT&T, and therefore has the best opportunity of any Windows Phone launched to date to do well in the market. However, that's not to say it will be a blockbuster: the exact timing and pricing will be major factors too, and those have not been announced yet," commented Ovum's Jan Dawson on the device's prospects.
Unfortunately, it's unlikely analysts or fans will learn any real information about Nokia's current status before the company's next quarterly financial statement. At the time of writing Nokia had not responded to the International Business Times UK's requests for comment on the negative sales projections.