Nokia Lumia 920: Great Phone, Wrong Marketing

Sep. 6.12 | About: Nokia Corporation (NOK)

Finally, the highly anticipated day came and Nokia (NYSE:NOK) announced its new phone to the public. The phone itself was great; however, Nokia disappointed the investors as it failed to provide a release date and a list of the release partners for the phone. The phone is expected to come to the US market "sometime" in the fourth quarter, and many countries might end up waiting until the next year in order to obtain this phone.

First, let's talk about the phone. The Nokia Lumia 920 will come with many great features including the wireless charging. Instead of plugging the phone to an outlet, the users will be able to put their phone on a pad that will charge their phone. In addition, the phone will come with an upgraded offline GPS system, the new Nokia Transport and the new Nokia Drive. The phone's 8.7-megapixel camera will be equipped with a Carl Zeiss lens which will be able to compensate for things like shaky hands taking photos. Many investors were expecting the phone to have a 40-megapixel camera as per the company's Pureview technology. The company's curved screen is able to modify and adjust the amount of lighting in order to remain visible under different conditions, such as under the sunlight. The company's City Lens technology is very similar to Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) glasses that are still in production. The user will be able to point his or her phone to a restaurant and read the reviews about it on his or her phone.

The phone comes with a lot of unique features not available in other phones. The phone definitely beats the competition. I don't agree with the analysts arguing that the phone lacks the "wow" factor. If Apple came up with a new iPhone with this many new features, the analysts would be over the clouds about these new features. I am not saying Lumia 920 is better than iPhone 5 as we have yet to see either of the phones in action; however, it is clear that Lumia 920 offers a lot of features above and beyond the competition.

The phone looks great with many innovative features, and it renews my faith in Nokia; however, the company disappointed many investors (including me) when it failed to announce details about when and where the phone would get released. For example, the company didn't mention any countries or carriers in the conference. This worries the investors, because Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) tends to release its new phones within days of announcing them, and the company is able to sell many phones while the hype is still there. By the time Nokia releases its new phones, the hype might not be there anymore, or the hype might change direction in favor of the competition.

I would expect a cash-burning company like Nokia to hurry up and release the phone in multiple markets as soon as possible rather than dragging its feet. I understand that Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone 8 will not be in the market for a while; however, Nokia could have been more specific about the release dates of its new phones.

Over the years, Nokia has developed one of the most comprehensive distribution channels in the world. The company has been able to distribute its phones in almost every country in the world. Having enjoyed such a distribution power, the company should push to release Lumia 920 quickly in as many countries as possible.

You would expect that when a company puts all its eggs in one basket (Lumia models powered by Windows Phone 8) and bets its very survival in this basket, it would do a better job of promoting this phone. Imagine this: if Apple was announcing Lumia 920, there would have been much more hype about it than there is right now. Apple would have made a lot of noise about the phone and every single unique feature it has. More importantly, Apple would have released the phone soon after announcing it.

What's going to happen now? The new phones will hit the market in a few months, and Nokia investors will pray that it receives a lot of attention from the consumers. It will be interesting to see how Apple's announcement goes next week. If the iPhone 5 gets announced and it has a lot of revolutionary improvements over the iPhone 4s, Nokia's phone might get buried under the iPhone 5. If the iPhone 5 only ends up having minor improvements over the iPhone 4s without the "wow" factor, this might work in Nokia's favor.

At the end of the day, this holiday season will determine how long Nokia will be around for. If the company gains some market share, and perhaps return to profitability in the holiday season, this will allow the company some breathing space in the near term. If the product fails to gain attention from the consumers, this could be the end of Nokia as we know it, because the company put all its eggs in this basket. Microsoft and Nokia will have to try very hard to gain attention of customers in this holiday season. I will continue to be long in Nokia and I will see this to the end.

Disclosure: I am long NOK, AAPL, MSFT, GOOG. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.