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Monday, 30 January 2012 00:44

Nokia's Lumia models finally coming to Australia in March


Although they should have launched in Australia last year, Nokia's Windows Phone 7.5-powered Lumias are finally coming in around 8 weeks time, although with that timeframe due to see the iPad 3 arrive, along with the later arrival of Galaxy S III's and iPhone 5's'¦ does Nokia stand a chance down under?

Well, well, well. Nokia is finally getting its backside into gear in Australia, with the launch of its Windows Phone 7.5-powered smartphones reported to finally hit the local market in March.

This comes at a time when Nokia is reported to have lost over a billion dollars, something that makes all those payments from Microsoft and those to come very useful indeed in making the balance sheet healthier than it currently is.

The good news for Nokia is that Windows Phone 7.5 is a much stronger challenger to the existing status quo of iPhones and Androids, certainly a heck of a lot better than the original Windows Phone 7.

The bad news is that Nokia's latest models will arrive when the iPad 3 is expected to launch, which will suck a lot of oxygen out of the rest of the tech market when that occurs.

Why Nokia couldn't see this coming and organise itself to either launch last year, or at a time away from any Apple launches is a shame, but seeing as Nokia is betting the company on its new models and Microsoft's OS, it must have something special up its sleeve for the launch period to ensure all Australians are well aware of the launch.

Microsoft itself is promising some 'must have games' for its smartphone platform, and given that Microsoft also has much at stake in Nokia's success, I can only hope the two companies really bring out the big guns during the launch to really grab attention - a few supposed 'must have games' isn't going to cut it in the marketing stakes, not against 500,000 and 400,000 apps respectively for iOS and Android.

And'¦ not when the world is focused on Apple's latest iMazingness, and not when Microsoft's next Windows Phone update isn't due until near the end of the year.

In the US, Nokia is selling its cheapest Lumia 710 model at US $49 on a two year contract, but with many phones going for $0 upfront on a two year contract in Australia, perhaps Nokia has a cheap outright price to offer Aussies on both the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710 models.

Perhaps we'll see that 4G LTE Nokia Lumia 900 appear in Australia as well, seeing as it has been announced for the US, and seeing as Telstra has a nice 4G LTE network up and running.

Whatever happens, the facts are that Nokia and Microsoft have a massive mountain to climb to win back the hearts and minds of users who previously made both Nokia and Windows phones very popular and big sales hits.

For the sake of a vastly more competitive smartphone market, I certainly hope the two bedfellows and tech titans can do it, but as the Samsung Galaxy S III and expected iPhone 4G or iPhone 5 draw ever closer to actually launching, time is running out, with the world unable to remain on hold forever.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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