Sunday, September 30, 2012

CES: Nokia Intros ‘Lumia 900,’; Ballmer Guest Appearance

Having been rebuffed by Samsung Electronics (SSNLF) at their overflowing press event, I’m queuing up at Nokia’s (NOK) press conference in the Venetian Hotel Ballroom A. The event, which appears not to have been on the schedule earlier, has gathered a line a block long of people sitting and waiting in the hall, though it doesn’t start for another hour.

And we’re in! Big Nokia logos on dual monitors, a handy complimentary cell phone screen chamois sitting on each journalist’s chair.

We’re starting with a half an hour of announcements, and the 15 minutes of Q&A.

And now, CEO Stephen Elop is up on stage. He’s going through a rundown of some new models unveiled last year. “The industry has shifted from a battle of devices to a war of ecosystems,” says Elop. The partnership with Microsoft (MSFT) is Nokia’s entree into that war. He talks about the positive reception of the recently introduced Windows Phone 7 models, Lumia 710 and Lumia 800. The devices are Nokia’s “beachheads,” as he called them.

Elop introduced the third beachhead, the Lumia 900. Running on AT&T (T), and using 4G LTE connections, the 900 will come in cyan or black, feature Carl Zeiss optics, and a 4.3-inch AMOLED screen. Elop said the device was the first Nokia Windows phone designed specifically for the North American market.

Elop talked about partners, including Electronic Arts (ERTS) to make sure the phone gets some of the best games before other devices, Elop said.

Elop introduces Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Ballmer remarks that AT&T has to date sold the most Windows-based phones.

That was a good segue to AT&T’s president of “mobility,” Ralph de la Vega, who came on stage and told the assembled that the 900 is a “knockout.” Then all three gents took a moment on stage to huddle for a photo op, holding up the phones for the cameras.

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