Nokia’s first Windows Phone landed here in the States late last year, but part of me was hoping for something a bit… flashier than the Lumia 710. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop fulfilled that desire when he showed off the LTE-friendly Lumia 900 at this year’s CES, and now we have an officially release date to go with it.
AT&T has confirmed to CNET that their new flagship Windows Phone, the Lumia 900, will officially hit the company’s sales channels on April 8.
At $99 with a two-year contract, the Lumia 900 is a hell of a deal — it features a 4.3-inch ClearBlack AMOLED display, a 1.4GHz single core processor, 512MB of RAM, and an impressive 8-megapixel rear camera with Carl Zeiss optics. Oh, and expect it to come in black and blue at launch, with a glossy white version coming on April 20 (no word on that striking magenta, unfortunately).
OK, so the spec sheet may look a little underwhelming compared to the sort of hardware you see paired with Android. That’s not really the point though — the thing about Windows Phone is that it really doesn’t require the latest and greatest hardware in order to give users a buttery-smooth use experience. Even on relatively low-powered devices like Nokia’s budget-conscious Lumia 610, Windows Phone doesn’t feel dramatically less responsive than it does on more robust hardware (though there are a few limitations in place).
Though we haven’t had too much hands-on time with the thing, Nokia and AT&T seem to have have struck quite a balance between performance and price. I expect you’ll hear quite a bit about it too, especially if you’re an AT&T customer. Given the device’s reported status as a “Hero” device, you’ll also have to deal with the fruits of a very pricy advertising and promotions campaign. Nokia has reportedly shelled out $25 million to get their new flagship in the hands of AT&T’s front line forces, so prepare to get an earful from your salesperson if you’re planning to pick out a new smartphone some time soon.
Nokia’s clearly attempting to tackle their long-standing visibility problems — they’ve been puttering away in the U.S. market for quite a while now, with none of their devices ever reaching critical mass. Sure, part of that is due to some questionable choices when it came to device releases, but by then they were already flying under just about everyone’s radar anyway.
Of course, this isn’t the only big launch that Nokia has to deal with — the Finnish phone giant is preparing to debut a trio of Windows Phones in China in just a few days. Only time will tell whether or not this aggressive push will play out the way they hope, but a combination of solid hardware and low prices are bound to get more than a few people tempted to take the plunge.