Nokia Lumia 1520 to cost $199 with contract on AT&T

Smartphone release was listed by Microsoft as Nov. 15, but AT&T isn't saying

On Nov. 15, AT&T is expected to begin selling the Nokia Lumia 1520, with its 6-in. HD display, for $199 with a two-year contract, or $549 without a contract.

The Microsoft Store began taking pre-orders of the Windows Phone 8 device for a brief time on Wednesday -- offering it in black, white, yellow or red -- but then removed the offer and inserted a page saying that the 1520 is "is currently unavailable." Computerworld grabbed a screenshot of the page offering the Lumia before it was taken down.

Screenshot of the Lumia 1520
Screenshot of the Nokia Lumia 1520 smartphone on the Microsoft site.

The Microsoft site included full pricing and specifications for the phone, but an AT&T spokeswoman told Computerworld via email that the carrier still hasn't announced pricing or availability. Phonearena.com, among other sites, posted a story early Wednesday mentioning the Microsoft Store pre-order offer.

Nokia recently announced the 1520 for the U.S. and other markets along with another 6-in. smartphone, the Lumia 1320, which will initially be available next year in China and other Asian and European markets.

Nokia is joining other vendors that are making more touchscreen phones with large displays of 5 inches or more. These larger devices account for 22% of all smartphones shipped, research firm Canalys recently said. Samsung leads in the market for large-screen smartphones, often called phablets.

Equipped with features that rival those of almost any other smartphone, the 1520 will play a key role in Nokia and Microsoft's effort to push the Windows Phone platform's global market share beyond the 3% mark. Currently, Windows Phone devices are a distant third in the smartphone market, behind Android phones, which dominate the field, and Apple's iOS phones. Microsoft is in the process of purchasing Nokia.

The 1520 comes with a quad-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and works over five LTE network bands. The full HD display is 1920x1080 pixels with a 368 pixel per inch density rating. It weighs 7.26 oz., which is heavy for a smartphone.

The rear camera is 20 megapixels with image stabilization, while the front camera is 1.2 megapixels. A large 3400 mAh battery is included.

AT&T's version of the 1520 will have only 16GB of internal storage, compared to 32GB for models sold outside the U.S. However, a microSD slot will accommodate another 64GB of storage. Also, the model sold by AT&T won't support wireless charging as international models do.

Both the 1520 and the 1320 also have a new Windows Phone 8 version called General Distribution Release 3 (GDR3), which includes a new features that will also be available to users of existing Lumia devices.

The GDR3 improvements include driving mode, which automatically blocks calls and texts sent to the phone while the user is behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. Another new feature allows a user to lock the screen in landscape or portrait mode to prevent it from rotating from one to the other as the phone is shifted. GDR3 also offers better storage management, with a view that shows which apps are taking up space. The update was announced Oct. 14 in a Windows Phone blog.

This article, "Nokia Lumia 1520 to Cost $199 With Contract on AT&T," was originally published on Computerworld.com.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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