Optical/IP Networks

OS Watch: Verizon Commits to Nokia, Windows 8

Verizon Wireless is reconfirming its commitment to Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), even if its name wasn't mentioned at the handset maker's Windows 8 launch this week. (See OS Watch: Nokia Lowering Prices on Smartphones.)

Nokia sells its current line of Lumia smartphones through GSM operators AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and T-Mobile US Inc. , but it's counting on broadening its wireless operator partnerships in order to push its new crop of devices based on Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s latest operating system.

The problem is, Nokia didn't mention any operator partners, nor price nor launch details, at its event to unveil the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820. A Verizon spokeswoman, however, tells The Wall Street Journal that it plans to release phones running the latest version of Windows in the fourth quarter. (See Nokia Lights Up Windows Phone 8 Devices.)

Verizon has also said in the past that it will only launch Long Term Evolution (LTE) smartphones this year, which would seem to suggest Nokia's flagship phone, the 920, will support Verizon's bands, even though its spec sheet suggests otherwise. (See Nokia's Lumia 920: Will It Support US LTE? and Verizon Goes All Out for LTE Smartphones .)

Nokia should announce more details about its new phones soon, but its secrecy -- and devices that some thought were disappointing - caused its stock to slip 16 percent after the big unveil. (See Analyst Labels Latest Lumia Launch as 'Tepid'.)

In other mobile OS news:

  • Moto's un-Google-like Droids: Verizon isn't abandoning its favorite OS, Android, however. The carrier announced new Motorola phones based on the OS this week as well, but as Computerworld points out, the handsets are surprisingly un-Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)-like even though the Android maker now owns Moto. For one thing, they're shipping with Ice Cream Sandwich, not Google's latest OS version Jelly Bean. And, Moto's applied its custom user interface, so they won't have a pure Google experience. But, as Heavy Reading analyst Gabriel Brown notes, it could be the case that these products were in development before Google came along. So it may be the "new Motorola," but truly new devices won't emerge for a while. (See Verizon's New Droids Last Longer, Browse Faster and Google Closes $12.5B Motorola Deal .)

  • Amazon favors services over software: Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) became the latest company to launch an Android tablet this week, but its CEO isn't a big fan of the category. Jeff Bezos, the Amazon chief, told attendees at the Fire launch event that "customers are smart. Last year, there were more than two dozen Android tablets launched into the marketplace, and nobody bought 'em." His company's first tablet, the Kindle Fire, was the bestselling Android tablet last year, and he's hoping to continue its streak by lowering the bar on price and focusing more on services. Amazon introduced four tablets on Thursday, ranging in price from $159 to $499 for the Long Term Evolution (LTE) version. (See Amazon Lights Up AT&T's LTE in New Kindle Fire.)

  • Android takes half the U.S. smartphone market: Android may not be winning the tablet wars, but it's the leader in smartphone OSs. New data from comScore Inc. suggests that Android has now overtaken more than half of U.S. market share for smartphones. The analyst firm said that 52.2 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers were Android users, while only 33.4 percent were using Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s iOS. BlackBerry trailed in third at only 9.5 percent, followed by Microsoft's old OS at 3.6 percent.

  • Firefox: The Open OS alternative?: Mozilla is positioning its Firefox OS, backed by Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), as the open OS alternative in a proprietary world. The nonprofit foundation is building its mobile OS on HTML 5, a Web protocol that will work across any device with little to no customization needed. The group is still working out the standards for development, but Telefonica said it's first looking to build up its user base in Latin America. (See An Alternative to iOS & Android? and Operator-Backed Firefox OS Gives HTML5 a Boost.)

    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

  • krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:21:36 PM
    re: OS Watch: Verizon Commits to Nokia, Windows 8

    The Nokia Lumia 920 that was shown will not work with Verizon Wireless.  Even if they altered the LTE bands that it supports to work with Verizon Wireless, that would not meet the specifications they require.  The phone supports GSM, W-CDMA and LTE.  What happens if someone leaves the Verizon Wireless coverage area or goes to a Verizon Wireless area that doesn’t have LTE?  They cannot use the EV-DO or 1xRTT network Verizon Wireless has.  With LTE roaming non-existent right now, even if there was an LTE network from a competitor, it couldn’t use it.  Nokia would need to make a Verizon Wireless specific that has legacy CDMA support in it.

    The Nokia USA listing for the Lumia 920 lists no bands or supported technologies like the global site lists.  In the past Nokia has had variants, so they could global could be a Lumia 920-1 and the US could get the Lumia 920-2.    When there are variants, the US gets the -2 variant.  There have been times where -3 has been used but usually a different region or some other change, like T-Mobie bands in the US.

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