Dec. 14, 2011 at 1:21 PM ET
Hoping to snag first-time smartphone users, T-Mobile will launch the first Nokia Windows Phone in the U.S., the Lumia 710.
The Lumia — which has caught some attention not only as the second coming of Nokia, but for the unfortunate coincidence of its name translating as "prostitute" in Spanish — will give first-timers (and more experienced users) a 4G experience at an entry level price of $49 (after a $50 mail-in rebate, with a two-year commitment to the carrier). Unlimited family value plans (which include calls, texts and data) start at about $50.
"Our strategic mission is to bring 4G data and smartphones to mass of 150 million people who have yet to upgrade to a smartphone," said T-Mobile senior product manager Rhone Rarick, in an interview earlier today.
"We’ve seen from research, with consumers upgrading to smartphones, there is an intimidation factor. Windows Phone is a light touch operating system," Rarick said. "It doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. You don’t have to download a ton of apps for a great social experience. It's a very intuitive experience from screen to screen."
Europeans just got their hands on the device Friday, but Americans won't be able to handle it until Jan. 11. Those across the pond also get the phone in a rainbow of colors, while in T-Mobile's initial launch, customers will be stuck with black and white. They also get the more elegant Lumia 800, which has yet to be introduced by any U.S. carrier.
Netflix will come pre-loaded on it — unique to T-Mobile — though any Windows Phone user on any carrier can go to the Marketplace to get it. Also pre-loaded: Internet Explorer, Bing Search, T-Mobile TV, Nokia Drive (a free app with turn-by-turn instructions) and ESPN.
Users can view those sports, movies and shows on a 3.7-inch ClearBlack WVGA scratch-resistant display. A Qualcomm 1.4GHz Snapdragon processor powers the phone, which will also have a 5-megapixel camera.
Rarick is counting on the phone to cut down barriers to those who might be wary of breaking smartphones and buying what they don't intend to due to the sensitive touch screens. But those who are on Windows Phone will have to be content with only about 40,000 apps on its Marketplace, compared to more than 320,000 on Android and over 500,000 on the Apple App Store.
Take our poll and let us know if you think this Windows Phone is all that.
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