News broke that Nokia’s Lumia 920 running Microsoft’s yet-to-be-seen-in-the-wild Windows Phone 8 platform will only be available on AT&T’s network. Though there’s no telling if this exclusive will be permanent, it’s not going to do anything but hinder the phone’s adoption.
In just about every conversation that involves an Android phone or the iPhone in recent months, I’ve seen the Lumia 920 mentioned by more than one person. Without any empirical evidence, it certainly seems that many geeks have been waiting to get their hands on the Lumia 920 — though it’s difficult to know if they’re currently using a Windows Phone, an iPhone, an Android phone, or “other.”
Indeed, the Nokia Lumia 920 looks to be an amazing device.
But if people aren’t on AT&T’s network (or Microsoft employees), the possibility of being able to buy and use the new Microsoft “Jesus” phone is remote. That is to say: what is the likelihood of a user switching from one carrier to another if they’re being served well enough by their current provider and choice of smartphone?
What worked for the iPhone is not likely to work for the Windows Phone.
Think back to when the first iPhone was released — there was absolutely nothing like it (not even close). Despite the original iPhone’s shortcomings (when compared against leading phones of the day), many people were willing to switch to AT&T because it offered an unparalleled experience that was a dramatic departure from their less-expensive, feature-packed devices.
Today, we have serious competition between iPhone and Android in the smartphone market — and even though Windows Phone 8 should provide additional competition, it’s not so radically different (or, more to the point, not markedly “better”) than what any user might find in either Apple’s offerings or any random Android phone option. I’m sure that some users will flock to AT&T to get the new Windows Phone, but I’m fairly sure they won’t be moving in droves.
How well did that whole Lumia 900 thing turn out for everybody?
Yeah, crippling adoption through carrier exclusivity isn’t going to help the Lumia 920 — at all.