Goodbye, Lumia 920: The AT&T Exclusive Superphone Will Probably Flop

The Lumia 920 was supposed to be the savior of Windows Phone. It was going to finally usher Windows Phone into the mainstream. It packs the right goods for the job with forward-thinking features such as wireless charging, NFC, and a gorgeous large screen. But none of that matters now. Like the Lumia 900 before, the Lumia 920 is exclusive to AT&T. And that’s just dumb.

Windows Phone is finally ready to stand tall against Android and iOS. It’s a great platform with many exclusive features and design cues. Even considering HTC’s upcoming devices, the Lumia 920 was destined to be the flagship of WinPhone’s growing fleet, ready to carry the standard into battle. But this exclusive deal with AT&T strips the 920 of its potential impact on the mobile battlefield.

The Lumia 900 is also available exclusively from AT&T. That phone launched with much fanfare earlier this year. AT&T claimed it was the carrier’s largest device launch to date. There was a NYC concert and a lot of video ads. But even with all that noise and a killer price tag of $99, AT&T launched the phone on Easter Sunday. AT&T didn’t care about the Lumia 900. Don’t expect anything different this time around.

Most of us paying attention to the mobile wars are quietly rooting for Windows Phone. It’s hard not to like the system after playing with it for just a few minutes. It features elegance not found in iOS or Android. The front-end allows owners to get in and get out. But the platform still needs help primarily in the app department. Developers haven’t latched onto Windows Phone simply because it’s a smaller market share than iOS, Android or even BlackBerry. The Lumia 920 was supposed to help change that.

Nokia and Microsoft needed to get the Lumia 920 out there. It’s a waste that this phone is only available on one carrier, let alone a carrier that has shown in the past that it doesn’t know how to launch or support Windows Phone devices. This phone should have been available on multiple carriers. But instead someone was paid off. Carriers often pay manufacturers large stacks of cash to carry a phone exclusively.

The Lumia 920 is still a fantastic device. This exclusive deal does not remove anything from the 920 itself. However, with its availability limited to AT&T, there is no way the device will sell in the numbers required to make a meaningful impact for Nokia or Windows Phone. Until Nokia and Microsoft get these devices on more than one carrier, the Windows Phone doesn’t stand a chance to increase its market share.