informa
/
Commentary

Verizon To Back Windows Phone 8, Sprint Undecided

Verizon Wireless will be one of several U.S. carriers offering a Nokia-made Windows Phone 8 device later this year.
Windows Phone 8 Preview: A Visual Tour
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Windows Phone 8 Preview: A Visual Tour
Verizon Wireless will offer a Windows Phone 8 smartphone made by Nokia, according to sources cited by Bloomberg. It will sell the device by the end of the year. Scoring a distribution deal with Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest mobile network operator, is important for Nokia and Microsoft in their quest to gain a stronger foothold in the lucrative U.S. market.

Nokia and Microsoft have announced a joint press conference, to be held Sept. 5. They are expected to debut Windows Phone 8 and new Lumia hardware. Bloomberg's sources said the Verizon Lumia device likely will not be revealed at the Sept. 5 event.

Verizon Wireless currently offers just one Windows Phone device, the HTC Trophy. The Trophy was first released in May 2011, more than a year ago. Verizon has been waiting for Windows Phone to support LTE 4G, a feature that Verizon has mandated for all smartphones moving forward, before restocking its supply of Windows-based devices.

It's been much longer since Verizon Wireless offered a new device from Nokia.

The bulk of Nokia's devices use the international GSM standard. GSM is used by AT&T and T-Mobile USA in the U.S., while Sprint and Verizon use Qualcomm's CDMA standard for their 3G networks. Nokia has offered CDMA devices in the past, but never a CDMA flagship smartphone.

[ Read Nokia Taunts Samsung Ahead Of Windows Phone Launch. ]

Verizon hasn't confirmed Bloomberg's report, but the carrier has said in the past that it will support Microsoft's platform moving forward.

Meanwhile, Sprint is still on the fence about Windows Phone. When asked if Sprint will support Windows Phone 8, CEO Dan Hesse said it was too early to tell. Microsoft has shared only some details of the platform, and it would appear that Sprint isn't going to take another chance on Windows Phone until it sees device sales taking off.

Windows Phone 8 is based on the same source-code kernel that Microsoft's new desktop software, Windows 8, uses. It is a break with Windows Phone 7 a bit, but unifies Microsoft's mobile and desktop platforms.

Microsoft greatly expanded the types of hardware that can run its smartphone platform. Windows Phone will support multicore processors and removable/expandable storage. It also adds support for more screen resolutions, including 480 x 800, 768 x 1280, and 720 x 1280.

Nokia and other manufacturers are expected to take advantage of these and other changes to Windows Phone 8 to make more compelling hardware. For Nokia's and Microsoft's sakes, let's hope they take the ball and run with it.

Don't be distracted by native vs. browser or iPhone vs. Android. Our survey shows functionality matters most when developing for mobile. Also in the new, all-digital The App Flap issue of InformationWeek: Verify that your cloud service provider's controls will actually protect your data. (Free registration required.)