Nokia Sets for New Lumia Launch, Analyst Still Skeptical

Andrew Klips  |

Finnish smartphone maker Nokia Corp. (NOK) is aiming to make a comeback with the roll-out of its new Lumia models. The company said that retailers and operators in several countries will be releasing their plans to sell the new phones that utilize Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Phone 8 software.

Investors have been frustrated by Nokia’s lack of details; only previously saying that the new Lumia lines will be out before the end of 2012. The Espoo, Finland-headquartered company showcased the Lumia 920 and 820 in New York earlier this month, but shares ducked lower as omitted launch information kept investors on edge that Nokia would miss the key holiday sales season.

Tempers may moderate as some retail info is starting to trickle in now.

It looks like Italy will be amongst the first recipients of the new phones. According to an emailed release by Nokia today, the phones will be offered in Italy by Telecom Italia SpA, Vodafone Group Plc, 3 Italia SpA, and Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA in the middle of November. The Lumia 920 will be priced at 599 euros ($771 US) and the Lumia 820 at 499 euros ($643 US).

Details are also anticipated to be coming from other European countries and Australia in the near future on availability and cost.

Nokia shares have been under pressure for years now as its bank account continues to dwindle along with its market capture. Google’s (GOOG) Android and Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone control about 85 percent of the market. Nokia is only picking-up 6.6 percent of the scraps left-over. Before 2007 (and the introduction of the first iPhone), Nokia and its homemade operating system held over 50 percent of the market.

In February 2011, Nokia discarded its own operating system to incorporate Microsoft’s as it fights to recapture some of its glory.

BMO Capital analyst Tim Long doesn’t think it will happen. Earlier this week, he cut his NOK rating to “underperform” from “market perform” and maintained his $2 price target. Long told investors that he has concerns about Microsoft’s latest product “becoming a meaningful player in the smartphone segment.”

With talks of suspending its dividend for the first time ever, debt at junk status and leaking corporate coffers, the new phones could be a hurrah for Nokia as we know it. Looks like Research in Motion (RIMM), Finnish-style.

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