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Is Nokia’s $99 Lumia 900 a threat to Android?

Competitive pricing in a sleek polycarbonate unibody design
March 26, 2012

Nokia’s flagship device, the Lumia 900 smartphone, is set to hit AT&T stores on April 8. After being out of the limelight for so long, does the Lumia 900 offer enough incentives for buyers to put Nokia – and to a certain extent, Microsoft – back on the smartphone map in the US and the rest of the world?

It’s quite telling how both companies are craving to have a bonafide hit on their hands as the Nokia Lumia 900 is positioned at a competitive $100 price point with a two-year contract. Despite its dominant global presence – and ever dwindling numbers in terms of market share and mind share – one would be wise to add that Nokia has never conquered US soil. Similarly, Microsoft needs to prove that their Windows Phone is a worthy competitor to Android and iOS platforms.

Attractive pricing aside, the Lumia 900 does ship with some of the finest hardware that Nokia has ever produced. The sleek polycarbonate unibody look of the phone is complemented by its 4.3-inch ClearBlack Super AMOLED display. The 4G LTE radio and 8MP Carl Zeiss camera should have no trouble gaining adoration from the masses, as they have received from critics.

The Lumia 900 isn’t Nokia’s first Windows phone offering in the US, as that honor belongs to the entry-level Lumia 710 on T-Mobile. While it didn’t break any sales record, the phone’s initial $50 price tag – which subsequently dropped to the magical price of $0 -was given away for free with a two year contract. It managed to get a few sales. Going cheap is no guarantee for success, but the aggressive pricing strategy that is being pushed by Nokia and Microsoft will definitely help in creating momentum for the Windows Phone platform.

Where does this leave Android devices? When it comes to the price that people are willing to pay for Android devices, they don’t seem to be that bothered with the current price structure, where flagship devices often range from $200 – $300, with contract. However, given the speed that manufacturers are churning their Android devices out, sometimes it only takes a couple of months for devices to get discounted to that magical $100 price point. Of course, high-end Android smartphones from second-tier manufacturers are being priced competitively as well. The point is options are a blessing that Android supporters have.

Quite simply, it will take more than the Nokia Lumia 900 to cause a dent in Android’s share. Pricing is a good start, but it would definitely help if they have that one killer feature to really entice users to make that leap of faith, such as a certain 41MP camera. If there’s one platform that is jeopardized by the imminent rise of Windows Phone, we believe RIM’s Blackberry is the one facing the biggest threat.

How about you?