Consumers may not have to wait long to get their hands on the flashy Windows Phone, a hit at CES.
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Nokia's highly anticipated flagship handset for Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system could arrive in U.S. stores sooner than many observers expected, according to an industry watcher.
The Lumia 900, which generated considerable buzz at this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, could arrive on March 18, according to Paul Thurrott, who maintains the SuperSite for Windows blog and made his assertion during a video interview.
At his CES keynote with Ryan Seacrest, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the Lumia 900, which is geared to run on AT&T's high-speed LTE network, would be "heavily promoted" in all of the carrier's 2,400 U.S. stores, but he did not disclose a ship date or pricing information.
Impressed by its slick look and feel and high-end specs, many observers feel the Lumia 900 could be the breakthrough device that the Windows Phone platform needs to boost its anemic, 1.5% share of the U.S. mobile OS market.
The Lumia 900 boasts a generous 4.3-inch AMOLED ClearBlack display, an 8-MP camera with a lens from German optics specialist Carl Zeiss as well as a front-facing camera for videoconferencing, a 1.4-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and 14.5 GB of available storage. It's also less than half-an-inch thick.
Like all Windows Phones, it uses Microsoft's Metro interface and Live Tiles, which display real-time updates from social networks, e-mail, messaging, and other services, directly to the home screen.
Nokia struck an alliance with Microsoft last year, under which it is porting virtually all of its handsets to Windows Phone. The first entry, the Lumia 710, hit stores this week. It's available for $50 with a two-year contract on T-Mobile through the carrier's website and stores, or at electronics retailers like Best Buy.
The Lumia 710 is similar to other mid-market offerings based on the Windows Phone platform, such as the Samsung Focus Flash or the HTC Radar. It runs on a 1.4-GHz Snapdragon processor, and features a 3.7-inch ClearBlack scratch-resistant display, a 5-MP camera, and 8 GB of storage. It's available in black or white.
Next in line is the Lumia 800. The 800 is armed with an ultra-bright ClearBlack Amoled screen that adds cyan and magenta to the standard RGB electronic display spectrum. It's also got Carl Zeiss optics in its 8-MP camera, and HD video playback. Microsoft has said the Lumia 800 would be available in the coming months, but has not provided a precise ship date.
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