updated 05:25 am EDT, Tue March 13, 2012
Nokia on the verge of WP7 push into China
Nokia has confirmed that it is planning a special Chinese Windows Phone launch for March 28. The announcement supports a recent report that Nokia has developed China-specific CDMA versions of its new Windows Phone 7 line-up which will begin shipping in April. The two phones set to lead the Nokia Windows Phone charge in China will be the low-end Lumia 610 and the mid-tier Lumia 800, with the high-end Lumia 900 shipping sometime afterwards.
When the Nokia WP7 phones land in China, they will arrive hot on the heals of the HTC Titan II/Triumph which became the first WP7 handset to ship in China in early March. Nokia is said to have played a key role in encouraging Microsoft to push the Windows Phone platform into China and is keen to build on its past success in the key Asian market.
Although the Chinese market does not have the level of smartphone penetration per capita as the US market, in terms of total smartphone sales it outstripped the US market by 23.9 million smartphone to 23.3 million sales for Q4 last year. Nokia's Symbian OS smartphones remained the number one selling smartphone in China for the quarter with 6.8 million sales.
The Chinese market is proving to be the next most important smartphone battle ground with all the leading brands considering the region high stakes. According to Gartner, Samsung is currently outselling Apple by a ratio of 3 to1 in China.
While Apple currently leads world-wide smartphone sales, it ranks only fifth in China. Part of the reason for this was the late arrival of the iPhone 4S to China, as well as Apple's reluctance to build an iPhone specific to China Mobile's TD-SCDMA 3G network. With the Chinese market smartphone market yet to mature, Nokia and Microsoft will be hoping that it can build on its success with Symbian and gain traction in the booming Chinese smartphone segment. [via Engadget]