For the world's largest Windows Phone maker, Nokia Oyj. (HEX:NOK1V), there's major risk of slowing sales and upset current customers due to the Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) tough decision to lock current Windows Phone handsets out of the Windows Phone 8 party. Even as Nokia preps its next-generation product line, the company is trying desperately to convince current customers -- "Lumia owners also have plenty to look forward to and are definitely not being left behind."
While it was a bit ambiguous about how much of its updates to current handsets would be driven by Microsoft's stopgap Windows Phone 7.8 release for older devices, and how much of it would be Nokia-exclusive, it did provide some details about what changes will be coming to older devices:
- Windows Phone 8-like start screen offering a "whole new look"
- Ringtone maker app
- Bluetooth support for Contact Sharing app
- Bluetooth file push support, allowing file transfer from Lumia to "any other phone" (we assume that means any other phone with Bluetooth)
It also says a number of first party apps -- e.g. Cinemagraph -- and third party apps -- e.g. Words With Friends, Draw Something (Zynga Inc. (ZNGA)), and more -- will be incoming for current generation Lumia smartphones. Windows Phone users currently have access to over 100,000 apps.
Nokia's response to the Windows Phone 8 lockout is unlikely to please everyone, but Windows Phone 7.5 users at least have a well-rounded operating system at present with an ample app catalog. And Nokia's Windows Phone 7.8 updates should help to freshen current devices. That said, now seems like a pretty opportune time to buy a Nokia Windows Phone, no matter how many promises Nokia makes, as there's one thing it can't promise potential buyers -- Windows Phone 8.