Being an aggressively devoted Apple (AAPL) iPhone fan, I will not lie that my interest in any other phone is non-existent and to the point that I am one of those "that's because you don't have an iPhone" people. It may be the strikingly similar appearance, or all of the hype in the news, but recently I find myself strangely drawn to Nokia's (NOK) new Lumia 900 that was just launched.
Admittedly, there is probably no chance I will switch over to a Microsoft (MSFT) Windows phone, but the projected popularity of the Lumia 900 has at least caught my attention. Topping the Amazon.com (AMZN) cell phone bestsellers list twice (for both of its colors) is pretty impressive, so clearly there must be something about this phone that has buyers drooling.
Aside from aesthetics, Nokia has priced the Lumia 900 at only $49.99 on Amazon with a new two-year contract with AT&T (T). That price almost seems unfair, especially since I just had to pay $150 just for a replacement iPhone 4 (that's just 4, not 4S) that was under warranty because the screen was smashed (Apple's one year warranty will give you a free new phone if yours malfunctions, but if there is "cosmetic damage" you have to buy it).
With that low a price, there is a slim chance anyone is going to want to buy a Motorola (MMI) Razor Maxx, and maybe even, dare I say, the iPhone 4S, which are both priced at $199.99. Based on price alone, Nokia is definitely going to benefit. Right now consumers look for affordability and quality, both of which are offered by the Lumia 900. Samsung probably saw this potential competition because it lowered the price of its Samsung Galaxy S II to $49.99 as well.
Launching the Lumia 900 on Easter was probably not the best idea, which is more than apparent all over most news stations and blogs, but there are two ways I'm looking at that fault, really poor planning, or sneakily smart. Obviously, like most other people think, launching a new product on a day when 90% of the stores its sold in are closed, is probably not a good idea. Additionally, considering the number of religious people in America, it probably did not make them too happy. You have to keep the people happy to keep the investors happy.
Adversely, the thought also occurred to me that launching the new phone on Easter Sunday was a genius marketing idea. Yes, it is a bit odd, but the release date alone caused so much buzz about the Lumia 900 that it has caught the interest of many, including myself.
Microsoft made a good decision pairing up with Nokia, since the Lumia 900 is predicted to have high sales. Windows phones have been trying to compete with the iPhone and Androids for a while, but it looks like now they may have a fighting chance. Although Apple did try to halt the sales of the Nokia Lumia 900, stating that it was copying Apple's "beautiful designs," it was launched anyway, and now makes me wonder if Apple is threatened by the competing smart phone.
Amongst the smart phones, there is one that I have been expecting to become categorized as "old school" soon, and it looks like its finally starting to happen. The BlackBerry, made by Research In Motion (RIMM), gets credit for being one of the first smart phones, for being convenient to work from, and of course, for the ever-popular BBM. But who has time for buttons and track balls when you can do whatever you need to with the flick of your finger?
Research shows that BlackBerry went from leading to struggling, which really cannot be argued. It does have one major benefit, though; it is the only smart phone that is allowed to be used by the U.S. government. Nearly half a million federal workers, including President Obama, are still using BlackBerrys due to their superior security. Some agencies are now changing their policies and allowing usage of other smart phones, though, which is likely to reduce its government market share.
Nokia and Windows' only other major competition besides Apple is the Google (GOOG) Android. Google Androids and Apple iPhones have a combined 80% market share, making them the two top smart phone producers. It's going to be long haul for the Windows phone, which occupies less than 4% of the market share, but its outlook for an increased market share is good.
I am confident in Nokia's potential in the market, especially since it's expected to take out RIM's market share. It also has an advantage similar to Apple's advantage, customer loyalty. I predict that any Windows user is more than likely going to opt for a Windows phone, just as Mac users prefer iPhones. The majority of opinions about Nokia right now are recommending to buy, which I agree with, along with Microsoft and AT&T.
Nokia should maintain its quality and innovation, and continue to stay on top of all of the new features that smart phones are capable of. It is a strong company with a strong operating system, so I expect total revenue to increase greatly.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.