Nokia today unveiled its long-awaited line of Windows Phone 7 devices to much fanfare. But at least one analyst warns that the phones simply aren't good enough to dethrone popular smartphones such as the iPhone 4S or the Samsung Galaxy II S.
Nokia showed off two Windows Phone 7 devices for the European and Asian markets, the Lumia 800 and the Lumia 710. The Lumia 800 has respectable, if not outstanding specs: 3.7-inch screen, 16GB of internal memory, 512MB of RAM and a 1.4GHz single-core processor. It has an 8-megapixel camera, but no backward-facing camera. The lower-end 710 has the same processor as the 800, with 8GB of internal storage and 512MB of RAM, and a single 5-megapixel camera.
At least one influential analyst believes that the devices simply aren't enough to compete against popular higher-end phones. Know Your Mobile quotes John Delaney, Research Director at IDC, as saying:
"Given Nokia's recent reverses in the smartphone market, Lumia clearly faces something of an uphill struggle. We don't think the Lumia 800 is an iPhone or Galaxy killer. Those two franchises still have very strong momentum, and there's nothing unique about the new phone that looks powerful enough to stop them in their tracks."
Delaney does compliment the design of the new phones, saying that the Lumia 800 is "slim, sleek and simple, and the smooth matte finish makes it feel very pleasing to hold."
He warns, though, that the devices also face trouble because there are fewer apps available for Windows Phone 7 than iOS or Android.
It may be that Nokia isn't aiming for the high end of the market, and so it's not concerned that the new devices won't unseat the iPhone 4S or the Samsung Galaxy II S. Without a contract, the Lumia will sell for around $580 with no cellular contract, compared to around $700 for an iPhone 4S.
And despite Delaney's comments, the market research firm Strategy Analytics says that in Western Europe Windows Phone 7 will grab 12.3% of the market in 2012, says Mobilebloom.
The next several months will tell a lot about whether Windows Phone 7 will be able to compete against iOS and Android. If the new devices don't sell well in Europe and Asia over the next several months, there may well be trouble ahead.