Nokia 928 From Verizon Hits In May

Latest Windows Phone will be the first Nokia flagship sold by Verizon Wireless.
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"Later this quarter a new Lumia device is anticipated to have hero status with a leading U.S. carrier." Those are the words used by Nokia CEO Stephen Elop last week during the company's quarterly earnings call with press. It's a clear tease of things to come. Elop also said this hero device marks "the beginning of a season of new product introductions."

That leading U.S. carrier is believed to be Verizon Wireless, and a new report from Bloomberg more or less confirms that belief. Nokia and Verizon have struck a deal to sell the device, wrote Bloomberg, and will reveal their plans next month. Verizon Wireless has scheduled a press conference to take place May 22, during the CTIA Wireless trade show in Las Vegas. It is possible Verizon will use that press conference to make just such an announcement.

The device in question is the Lumia 928, which has not been officially revealed by Nokia. It is believed to be a thinner, more attractive version of the Lumia 920. The 928 will shed the bulky plastic shell of the 920 and replace it with a thinner, aluminum shell. All of Nokia's Lumia smartphones have made heavy use of polycarbonate for their shells. Switching to aluminum would be a significant design change for Nokia (but a welcome one). The 928 will be sold in various colors, including black, white, cyan and red.

[ Verizon's wireless business is going gangbusters. Read Verizon's Earnings Jump, But Policies Draw Ire. ]

The 928 is expected to have a high-end PureView camera and a 4.5-inch OLED screen. It will support LTE and simultaneous voice and LTE data connections -- something that is possible on Verizon's network. The 928 was originally expected to arrive during April, but it now appears that May is the target month. (Some suggest the reason for the change in release date is due to an impending, though minor, operating system update from Microsoft.)

The Lumia 928 is a big deal. It may sound like just another Windows Phone, but this will mark the first time Verizon Wireless has ever offered a flagship smartphone from Nokia. Nokia has made few devices compatible with Verizon's CDMA network over the years, and instead targeted the more widespread GSM networks with its array of devices. To see Verizon and Nokia team up for such a phone is a change that's perhaps a decade or more in the making.

This partnership is also important because Nokia needs all the exposure to U.S. consumers it can get. So far this year, Nokia has released only a couple of entry-level and midrange Lumia smartphones. Nokia shipped only 400,000 devices to the U.S. during the most recent quarter, the bulk of which went to AT&T and T-Mobile USA, its historic partners. Nokia needs to get a flagship device on the country's largest carrier. Verizon Wireless has about 100 million customers.

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