Nokia announced its Lumia 822 smartphone, the vendor’s first Windows Phone smartphone for the biggest US operator, Verizon Wireless.
While the struggling Finnish handset giant has offered CDMA versions of its Windows Phone devices for China Telecom, the company’s US efforts have been focused on its WCDMA-family products for AT&T and T-Mobile USA.
The announcement came ahead of a Windows Phone 8 press event scheduled for later today, with Microsoft promising “big, cool stuff”.
The Lumia 822 will support Verizon Wireless’ LTE network and, according to Nokia’s US website, will be a “world phone” with GSM/WCDMA support alongside CDMA. It will have a 4.3-inch screen, 8-megapixel camera, and be powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor.
In terms of specifications, the Lumia 822 appears comparable with the Lumia 820, a recently-announced device for WCDMA/LTE networks. AT&T is set to offer this, and its more feature-rich Lumia 920 sibling, next month.
Pricing and availability for the Verizon device has not been confirmed – but early November, and US$99 with contract, has been widely reported.
The US has long been something of a weak spot for Nokia, both in terms of smartphones and for its device range as a whole.
While the company’s Symbian smartphone platform was dominant globally until usurped by Android and iOS, it never achieved traction in this region, with few devices making it into operator portfolios.
Although Nokia has recently renewed its focus on the US, this has yet to come to fruition: in Q3 2012, it shipped just 300,000 units in the North America region (including Canada), half of the 600,000 it moved in Q2.
It noted “lower operator and distributor demand for Lumia, as well as our efforts to prepare the distribution channel for the upcoming sales start of new devices”.
Verizon’s Windows Phone list currently consists of HTC’s Trophy, a Windows Phone 7.5 device. It is also set to offer a WP8 device from HTC, and reports have linked it with an as-yet unannounced Samsung smartphone using the same platform.