Can a monster-sized Nokia phablet jump-start Windows Phone?

Nokia and Microsoft apparently believe that bigger is better, because Nokia is said to be readying a whopper of a phone -- a six-inch "phablet" with a 1080p display. Will this beast of a phone help Microsoft jump-start its smartphone OS?

The Verge reports that the phone, which is codenamed "Bandit," will have a 1080p, 6-inch screen, and be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core processor. Its camera will have a 20-megapixel resolution at a minimum. To accomodate it, the phone will have a small hump on its rear, like the Lumia 925 does to accomodate its camera. The phone's screen will be so large that it will apparently display an extra column of Live Tiles.

The Verge's report follows a series of rumors about a large Nokia phone. Last month, the NDTV Gadgets blog reported that the Chinese tech publication ICTech had posted photos of the 6-inch phone and said that Nokia had already begun mass production of it. And as far back as April, the Financial Times reported that "Nokia intends to launch a number of flagship devices later this year, including a supersized tablet phone."

Can such a device help Windows Phone gain market share? Yes and no. At the moment, high-end phones aren't Windows Phone's sweet spot. Kantar Worldpanel ComTech analyst Mary-Ann Parlato says that Windows Phone is primarily attractive to budget-conscious first-time smartphone buyers, upgrading from feature phones. Clearly, an expensive device like a 6-inch phablet won't help with that demographic.

But groundbreaking technologies tend to create their own markets, and the "Bandit" could be one of those. Screen sizes of phones have been gradually getting larger, and a 6-incher like Nokia is readying would certainly draw attention. Beyond that, the publicity and buzz such a device would receive would help publicize the Windows Phone operating system itself. In one sense, Windows Phone's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness: It breaks the app-centric design of Android and iOS, and replaces it with an information-centric one. People need to get used to it, and the Bandit may well help with that.

So releasing such a large-screened phone would be a good move for Nokia. It will likely help Windows Phone, but given that the operating system has a 3.3% worldwide market share, Windows Phone will need more help than that alone.

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