There was a lot riding on the success of the Lumia 900 for Nokia as this was Nokia’s second venture into the U.S. market, the first being the Lumia 710 which did reasonably well. The expectations for the Lumia 900 were much higher because of its massive advertising campaign by Nokia, Microsoft and AT&T, which included a concert by Nikki Minaj in Times Square and a wave of advertising calling it the first real smartphone after years of beta testing.
It was off to a good start at its launch on April 8. According to Compete, it outsold all but the iPhone 4 online, and sold at the same rate as the iPhone 4S, in its first month. On Amazon, its black and blue versions topped the cell phone bestsellers list. But, the momentum faded after that. Although it kept pace with the iPhone in April, in May it dropped below older phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S II, which benefited from a discount, and even fell below the Samsung Focus and HTC Titan, both of which run on the Windows Phone platform. Even on Amazon, it isn’t a chart-topper anymore, but is still in the top 10 of overall cell phone sales. Online sales metrics are often a mirror of overall sales, but not always so (when inventory sold is not the same as inventory shipped).
Nokia representative Keith Nowak was quoted saying that the company was pleased with consumer reception to the device, as well as the support received from AT&T. AT&T was reluctant to talk about how it performed, but its mobility chief, Ralph de la Vega, told CNET during the CTIA conference last month that sales had exceeded expectations. Scott Anderson, Vice President of Best Buy, also said that it did surprisingly well, considering their low expectations for it.
The Lumia 900 got a bit of breathing room at AT&T when the next hot phone, HTC’s One X, was delayed due to the company’s ongoing litigation battle with Apple, making its prominent release period last much longer than the six to eight weeks previously envisaged. That window too is quickly shutting, what with the arrival of the One X at AT&T and the impending launch of Samsung’s Galaxy S III. Anderson said the Galaxy S III was poised to break smartphone presale records for Best Buy.
Nokia acknowledges that it will be a battle establishing a firm grip in the U.S. market and the Lumia 900 represents a modest step, and not a leap, toward that goal. The Nokia Lumia 900 is available starting at $19 at select retailers.