AT&T confirms talks with Nokia to offer Windows Phones in 2012

By Tom Warren, on 17th Nov 11 12:27 am with 19 Comments

New Nokia Windows Phone?

AT&T confirmed on Wednesday that it is in talks with Nokia to offer its Windows Phones in the U.S. market for 2012.

Glenn Lurie, head of AT&T’s tablets unit revealed that the carrier is working on the final details of the agreement to bring Nokia devices to the United States. “We look at every promotional period separately and decide what we’re going to spend our dollars on and what we’re going to put our efforts in,” Lurie said in an interview with Bloomberg Business Week. “But nothing to announce there on that yet.” Nokia’s re-entry to the U.S. is being carefully planned behind closed doors and involves a massive marketing effort to ensure its Windows Phone is a big hit.

Rumors of a new Nokia Lumia handset for U.S. markets stepped up a gear this week after Nokia’s French general manager hinted that the company was planning a device above the Lumia 800. Nokia was forced to comment on the rumors, neither confirming or denying the company’s plans to produce a Windows 8-based tablet. An unannounced Nokia Lumia Windows Phone also made its way into a promotional video on Nokia’s YouTube page on Wednesday. Nokia was quick to remove the material (see image above) but the unannounced Nokia Windows Phone appears to sport a 4-inch screen and could hint at Nokia’s plans for the rumored “Ace” AT&T Windows Phone.

Nokia is understood to be preparing its U.S. Windows Phones for an announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show in early 2012. The Finnish handset maker is working with AT&T to launch its Nokia Lumia Windows Phone at CES 2012. Microsoft is planning to support Nokia’s re-entry into the U.S. market with a large presence at CES 2012. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans have indicated to WinRumors that Nokia is in talks with several U.S. carriers to provide an LTE compatible handset as its first U.S. Windows Phone device. AT&T is expected to be the primary launch partner of any Nokia Windows Phone devices in the United States. Nokia is also in talks with other U.S. carriers to bring its Windows Phone devices to market on rival networks.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know! If you look back at one of the key things that enabled Microsoft and back in the 80s IBM (The Nokia of PCs) to beat apple then was the fact that you could customize your PC. A slew of miscalculations on Apple’s side helped a lot also. But think about it, hell back then you could even build your own PC from scratch. Even till this day, people can still do that if they choose to! In fact for many years serious PC users used to pride themselves on having a custom built white box.

    I am not saying Microsoft and Nokia should let us build our own phones (although that might be a novel idea that no other OEM has considered yet) but, I think it’s important to understand what the end users who rejected Apple’s restrictions and premiums back then can teach the Windows Phone and Nokia Teams today.

    I think Microsoft is taking steps towards that in its own way; however, why not differenciate even furhter with Nokia? Why not let us interchange individual hardware components. Like the Camera for example. Why not allow Nokia to build upgradable, pluggable cameras into their phone? The base 710 or 800 could ship with a 5MP camera but through some hardware wizardry we should be able to snap the default built in camera out and slip in a better camera! Hell even better, why not let me pop out my awesome screen and slip in an even better screen? The possibilities are truly endless. They could be the only platform that not only enables app developers to build cool looking software and additional features but also hardware makers could get excited and see a potential for business to them through the relationship between the 2 companies. Think about companies like Creative with Sound Blaster or Logitech with all the peripherals they brough to the market thanks to the strategy Microsoft used with the IBM “Compatible” model! Today the world of smartphone accessories is limited to covers and protectors and headsets mainly. This could open up a whole economy of products made for Nokia “Compatible” devices. I understand that with USB and BT and other modern technologies the advantage IBM harnessed back then is not doable today, but don’t get stuck in the details. Look at the strategy as a whole.

    I think Nokia and Micorosft need to think hard about this. Otherwise the differenciation is mainly in software and that’s not what won the PC vs Mac battle back in the 80 and 90s. Microsoft till today after all its improvements is still widely considered a B grade software shop. I mean that in a good way. Many others probably even rank them as a C grade or maybe even lower but those are people who still associate Microsoft with BSDs and ancient quality problems that plagued them in the 90s and early 2000s.

    Services such as Zune, Xbox Live, SkyDrive, Office Live, etc take a long time to mature profitability wise and sometimes never do! In some cases they could remain loss leaders. At the end of the day, if I can get the best of breed hardware and the first class software on one device then I am a pretty happy camper. Whether I buy it packaged as such or upgrade my way to it, what difference does it make?

    It’s worth thinking about…

    • Anonymous

      Microsoft beat Apple by licensing their software which lowered the price. Apple was (and still is) all about hardware. They wanted to make money off their hardware and the software was just a way to sell the hardware. Their price point was too high and even though the software was considered superior, the additional cost didn’t justify the purchase for most people and companies. I think Apple learned a bit from those mistakes. Initially Apple overvharges for their hardware. However, when the competion catches up to their products, they lower the prices. The iphone is basically the same price as any other premium smartphone. So far, no other tablet has been able to compete with ipad (although the prices seem to dropping now and we will have to see Apples response). The computers are still overpriced, but not the same degree as before. They are a few hundred dollars more as opposed to near $1000 back in the 80′s. 

      I don’t think your idea of custom phones will work. The parts are too compact and integrated into the boards. If you ever read the teardown articles from ifixit, you would see how hard it is to replace any component. Just like people don’t build laptops, I don’t think we will see phone components sold separately.

    • Anonymous

      I won’t discuss the first point. I never said that point was the only reason, If you read what I wrote again, I said “one of the key reasons” was the flexibility and the longevity PC users could get out of the same hardware basically, so I think we’re agreeing there.

      As to why my idea won’t work. Sure I totally get what you’re saying. Today there is no such requirement being presented to any engineer from Nokia, Samsung, LG, HTC or any other OEM. Their requirements are make the hardware specs look better and make the cost lower. I am over simplifying I know.

      Your point about the iPhone being sold at the same price point is exactly why this idea would work. The iPhone is most certainly the most expensive smartphone out there to the carriers. The carriers have figured out that consumers are not willing to spend more than $200 once every year or two to widely adopt a product. The killer app for apple in the smartphone play was the original iPhone. Every iPhone since has been scafolded by carrier subsadies. Which should tell you something. If the device is going to be sold at $200 no matter what, why not go for something unconventional. The reason why an OEM embeds as many components as possible is to lower cost. But what if the carriers have shown a willingness to eat the cost. They do with the iPhone. So why not make a device that is superior in quality and offers something different such as upgradable components. Camera, Screen, GPU even, etc.

      What I am agreeing with you on is that today in the current model that was defined by apple to sell more pre-packaged hardware and that lets you choose any flavor you want as long as its vanilla or chocolate basically, the other OEMs regardless of whether they’re baking WP or Android they’re trying to come up with different versions of vanilla and or chocolate. It takes vision and guts to make a move like the one I am proposing. It certainly won’t happen by following the current model.

    • RommelS

      The idea of having removable parts or interchangeble parts will make a phone bulky, let alone make consumer carry different things with them. Granted MS has filed a patent on an interchangable parts for their phones, however, the design concept has to be a slider type phone that would allow you to replace the keyboard with another controller or device.

    • Anonymous

      @10f65b9752f6cc849fdcc38543d2e021:disqus why does it have to be bulky? I don’t get it! If you upgrade your camera for example why would you carry your old less powerful camera with you? Not sure we’re talking about the same concept here. I am not talking about interachangeable components on the fly. I am talking about being able to get more out of your hardware.

      If you’re a software company and want to beat a hardware company that bundles the software and marries it to the hardware, you go after ways to make that pre-packaged approach a weakness.

  • Anonymous

    Once again, people on Verizon get the shaft.

    • Anonymous

      Not necessarily. Verizon reps were present at Nokia World.

    • Anonymous

      Ask verizon why? I mean it’s clear why to me. They’re in love with Android. But nevertheless as their customer, you should ask them why…

    • Anonymous

      Oh I have. Others have too. They just don’t care cause Android is their cash cow. It sucks.

    • s b k

      Sprint is similar to VZW in this aspect. Users have been commenting on the fourms and sprint facebook page, begging to get more than one WP7 to Sprint.

  • oolong2

    Hopefully they won’t force an ugly AT&T logo on the front….

    • Anonymous

      hey let’s hope they don’t even try to give it a unique at&t only name like the Focus and many other devices from OEMs like HTC and LG were forced to do in the past…

  • Jubbin Grewal

    Seriously, what about Sprint, Verizon, and T-mobile? Don’t people always go around bashing AT&T’s network? Seems like AT&T are the only want who want Windows Phones, and Microsoft’s okay with that for now!

    • RommelS

      I just spoke to someone at T-mobile this afternoon because I needed a SIM replacement. I asked the guy that assisted about what would be the next Windows Phone after the Radar, and he stated that sometime next year, T-mobile will have the Nokia 710 …although I think this news has been around for some time now.

  • Anonymous

    That actually looks like it might just be worth the wait.

  • Keith Franklin

    I want a top end phone on T-Mobile not another one on AT&T

  • Justfortherecord

    Why do OEMs think AT&T is a good carrier? They are terrible.

    • Anonymous

      Money. Its all a numbers game. They have the most subscribers and are willing to pay the most money.  Customers get screwed with lower model phones or none at all for months. I really wish AT&T and Nokia were not in talks. 

    • J A

      All carriers have where their coverage is strong and where they are weak. I have had AT&T for ages now without any issues that some peple mention. The reason why they get all the great phones before any other carrier in the US is simply because GSM is a worlwide technology and catered to first before anything else such as CDMA. And in the US AT&T is the premier GSM carrier. Pretty simple.