Nokia looks like it’s hoping to turn up the volume of its Windows Phone-based Lumia smartphones in the U.S. by signing another carrier to its cause. Bloomberg is reporting that Nokia and Verizon have struck a deal that will see the carrier offer a forthcoming flagship, the Lumia 928, starting from next month. Neither the deal nor the device have been made public by Nokia or Verizon but Bloomberg said two people familiar with the situation have confirmed the impending launch.
Bloomberg’s report follows previous leaks in which the Lumia 928 was spotted in the FCC’s and Verizon’s systems. An apparent image of the handset was also leaked earlier this month. When approached for comment a Nokia spokesman told TechCrunch it does not comment on rumour and speculation.
If the Verizon deal is true, the Lumia 928 will be the first high end Lumia the carrier has ranged (it does already carry the mid-range Nokia Lumia 822). In the U.S. Lumia devices such as the flagship Lumia 920 have been exclusively carried by AT&T to date. Getting another major carrier — Verizon has some 100 million subscribers — on board with a flagship is vital for the once Mighty Finn to try to capture more cachet, as well as marketshare.
According to Bloomberg’s sources, the Lumia device that will launch on Verizon will have a metal body, a 4.5-inch touch screen, an 8-megapixel camera and wireless charging. Earlier rumours have suggested it will have a polycarbonate body, however, while the internals have generally been expected to remain the same as the Lumia 920.
North America has traditionally been a weak market for Nokia — historically, back in the Symbian days, but also since Nokia’s Windows Phone reboot. But in its Q1 results last week, the region was the only market in which Nokia saw a small increase in sales (up by 9%) compared to last year. Nokia reported selling a total of 5.6 million Lumias globally in the quarter.
Kantar stats we covered earlier this month indicate that Windows Phone as a whole — so not just Nokia devices but also HTC, Samsung etc — has moved up into a distant third place in the US smartphone market, behind the two leaders: Android and iOS, suggesting the platform is slowly building some regional momentum. That momentum may have helped convinced Verizon to take a punt on a Lumia flagship.
[Image via @evleaks on Twitter]