Nokia's Lumia 920

In an effort to consolidate its position as the third biggest player in the smartphone ecosystem, Finnish handset manufacturer Nokia has unveiled two devices running on Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 platform.The move comes less than a week after Samsung pipped Nokia to the post with a view of the first Windows Phone 8 device to be seen.

The Lumia 920 comes with a 4.5in HD display, while the smaller Lumia 820 has a 4.3in display. Both run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 1.5GHz dual-core processor and Nokia will be releasing versions of the devices specifically made for the enterprise sector. Both handsets are due to be launched during 4Q12 but no pricing has yet been given.

David McQueen, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, called the 920 handset a “desirable and impressive piece of kit” but warned that Nokia’s marketing efforts will determine the success of the devices and the Windows platform in general. Indeed, the firms are facing an uphill struggle, as a major challenge they face is establishing the optimum pricing strategy.

“The issue of incompatibility with WP7 devices means that the WP8 platform will again need to seek to drive out cost and move down the smartphone price tiers as quickly as possible,” he explained.

The launch is particularly notable for Microsoft, as the firm is aiming to generate awareness and demand for Windows Phone 8 devices among not only consumers and carriers, but also business users. The Windows Phone 8 shares common software with the Windows 8 OS, which is expected to be used widely among businesses when it is launched next month.

Tony Cripps, principal analyst for devices & platforms at Ovum, said that the Windows Phone platform is not yet performing to the research firm’s expectations. While this is partially due to the strength of the opposition, Cripps suspects that it could also be a deliberate move by Microsoft. He argued that the firm may be avoiding flooding the market prematurely with the platform before it is in a position to play up its synergies with Windows 8 and its business applications.

“The clear benefits to businesses from the ready integration possible across Microsoft’s products set will set a benchmark for BYOD strategies focused on out-of-box device capabilities once Microsoft’s full range of new platforms is available,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Google’s newly acquired smartphone business Motorola Mobility, has launched three new additions to its Razr smartphone range: the Razr M, Razr HD and Razr Maxx HD. The devices run on the Android 4.0.4, Ice Cream Sandwich OS, and will be upgradeable to Android 4.1, Jelly Bean, in the coming weeks.

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