As a lot of people are putting their hands on Nokia's (NYSE:NOK) Lumia 920 for the first time, they are sharing their experiences with other people on the internet. So far, the reaction has been very positive. Many people, including me, criticized Nokia for its marketing efforts, which could be described as "weak" at best. On the other hand, it looks like Nokia will let Lumia 920 speak for itself as the encouraging words on the phone continue to spread like wildfire.
ZDNet's Matthew Miller has been using the phone for a few days and he describes his initial experience with the phone as great, and goes on to say that "I have to say the sensitive display, wireless charging capability, Nokia Music service, Nokia Drive software, and camera performance have been great so far." On a negative note, he also says that in the beginning, the phone doesn't feel much different than how Lumia 900 felt in his hands. CNET allows users to rate the phone. So far, 10 people rated the phone and 9 of the raters gave it 5 stars. PC-Tablet's Mary Rose rated the phone with 4.5 stars. Some people who chose to wait for Lumia 920 rather than buying another brand reportedly said that the phone was well worth the wait.
Techno Buffalo's Todd Haselton joined those that gave the phone positive reviews when he checked the phone out. Mr. Haselton says: "I really think Nokia has a winner here. The Lumia 920 is an improvement on the Lumia 900 in nearly every way, but it doesn't ditch anything. You still get the great polycarbonate body, only in even more colors this time, a faster processor, Windows Phone 8, a beautiful display, NFC and more."
As someone who believes in the effectiveness of word of mouth, I find this highly positive. Lumia 920 never made as much noise in the media as Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone or Samsung's Galaxy series did; however, the reaction to this phone is overwhelmingly positive. I would rather Lumia 920 to get 9 positive and 1 negative review than it to get 70 positive and 30 negative reviews. Lumia 920 reminds me of the pro-wrestling segments from 1980s. Back then there were "bad guys" and "good guys" in wrestling. The bad guys would come to the ring with a microphone, give a lengthy speech about how they were going to destroy their opponent. Finally, the good guy would come out and destroy the bad guy without saying much to the audience. The good guy would just "speak in the ring" rather than to the microphone. It looks like Lumia 920 is taking on this role.
As Nokia launches its new phone in multiple countries, the media continues to speculate about a possible Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) smart phone. As I said before, I strongly believe that Microsoft keeps this idea in its back pocket in case things don't work out for Nokia. I seriously don't think Microsoft will stab its partner in the back by building its own phone. Besides, the company lacks much experience and patents in this field; thus, it wouldn't be wise for Microsoft to jump the gun here. If Nokia failed, I wouldn't mind Microsoft buying the company's mobile device segment and go from there, but at the moment, it is too early for Microsoft to build a smart phone. The speculators say that Microsoft is in talks with a number of Asian manufacturers to test the Apple model. Apple stays away from the manufacturing side as the company only focuses on designing its products. This allows the company to maintain high margins while letting other companies worry about the manufacturing side. Nokia gets its supplies from other companies, but ultimately the company builds its own phones in its own production plants. When or if the time comes, Microsoft can pick either the "Apple model" or it can simply acquire Nokia and go from there. For the time being, I don't think Microsoft will be building a phone.
In fact, a story that was published at Bloomberg's website on Friday is mostly in line with an article I wrote months ago. Bloomberg's story also implies that Microsoft's phone building efforts will be part of the company's back-up plan rather than the Plan A.
In less than 2 weeks, Lumia 920 will be in markets in the US. Once that happens, it will be all about marketing efforts. Many consumers aren't happy with the restricted supply of iPhone 5 in addition to some software issues, such as the ones in Apple Maps. This is a great chance for Nokia to capitalize the negative sentiment around Apple. The company's marketing efforts should focus on Lumia 920's strengths over the phones of the competition, and once enough copies are sold, the word of mouth will spread very quickly. When a product is so well that it speaks for itself, marketing the product shouldn't be too difficult.
Disclosure: I am long NOK, MSFT, AAPL. 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.