In a column earlier this week, my DVICE stablemate Raymond Wong posited that the Nokia Lumia 710 running Microsoft Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" and due to go on sale on January 11 from T-Mobile is the wrong phone with the wrong OS from the wrong carrier for Nokia and Microsoft to use as a fiundation to begin their comeback in the smartphone market. Sorry, Ray, I beg to differ. I think the Lumia is the right phone at the right price with the right carrier, or at least a necessary calculated risk by Microsoft and Nokia to make headway in a market dominated by iOS and Android. Oh, and the photo of the Lumia 710 accompanying Raymond's editorial? It's not a photo of the Lumia 710 T-Mobile will sell — there won't be an all-white version. Only an all-black and black with a white frame. But I digress.
All eyes are on Nokia right now. Last Thursday, it announced the official launch of the Lumia 710 on T-Mobile — the first Windows Phone 7 smartphone it will release in the U.S. Back in October, I had the lovely opportunity to play with prototypes of the Lumia 800 and the Lumia 710. As I said in my hands-on and review, the Lumia 800 is a handsome piece of polycarbonate, whereas the Lumia 710 was really just a poor man's version and a lower 5-megapixel camera instead of an 8-megapixel one. Nokia might not be a huge player in the U.S., but it's still a global one that still sells lots of cellphones in Europe and Asia; the company still knows a thing or two about making phones. Choosing Windows Phone 7 to be its smartphone OS of choice moving forward was surprising indeed. Now that we've had enough time to let that fact sink it, can Nokia re-enter the U.S. and become a dominant force once again? Can it stare down the mountains of iPhones and Androids and claim a stake on the pedestal? I'm not saying it has no chance at that, but it certainly doesn't look like Nokia's going into this with a huge bang.