Struggling smartphone giant Nokia on Thursday announced its financial results for the quarter ending December 31, 2011. And though the press will focus largely on the company's continued attempts to turn things around—it posted a net loss of $1.4 billion on revenues of over $13 billion—there was some good news to report as well: Nokia confirmed that it has sold "well over" 1 million Windows Phone handsets so far. Not bad for a new product line that's been on the market for roughly two months.
Nokia's line of Windows Phone handsets carries the Lumia brand. The company delivered two Lumia models, the Lumia 800 and 710, to consumers in Europe in November 2011. The company then announced a US model, the Lumia 900, in January. That product, code-named ACE, will hit the market on March 18, according to internal Microsoft documentation I reviewed (and exclusively revealed back in December
"To date, we have introduced Lumia to consumers in Europe, Hong Kong, India, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan," Nokia CEO Stephen Elop noted in a prepared statement. "We have also started our important re-entry into the North American market ... we are in the heart of our transition."
Overall, Nokia handset sales fell 29 percent when compared with the same quarter a year ago. But the company's sales are strong. It sold 20 million smartphones in Q4 2011 in addition to 94 million feature phones, for a total of more than 113 million handsets. (In the year-ago quarter, it sold almost 124 million devices, and the average per-device price has dropped from $91 to $70.)
Nokia's push for 2012 will include a massive marketing campaign aimed at giving the company a new beachhead in the United States, a market that Nokia basically ignored even while it was performing strongly. Nokia's flagship device, the Lumia 900, will sell for just $99 with a two-year contract, helping establish a new upper limit for Windows Phone handset pricing. (That said, the HTC Titan will reportedly cost $199 when it launches on the same day.)
As I revealed previously, Nokia and Microsoft will together spend over $130 million marketing the Lumia 900 just in the first half of 2012, and in the United States only. That figure includes $90 million aimed at TV, print, and digital advertising, with Nokia spending $60 million, or two thirds of the total front-line ad budget for just that one handset.
Nokia's other devices, like the Lumia 710, will have smaller but still impressive ad budgets. For example, Nokia and Microsoft have set aside $25 million to market the Lumia 710 in the United States in the first half of 2012 alone.