Hitting stores in four days, Nokia’s (NOK) Lumia 900 smartphone faces stiff competition from Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone as well as a slew of Android handhelds on the market. Can the Windows Phone 7 device help pave the way for a third choice in the mobile operating system arena?
Walt Mossberg doesn’t seem to think so.
“I think there's a lot of good aspects to Windows Phone; there's even a lot of good aspects to this hardware. But when taken as a package, I found it disappointing,” Wall Street Journal Personal Technology Columnist Mossberg said in his weekly All Things Digital segment on FOX Business.
The Lumia 900, as Mossberg explained, is supposed to be Nokia’s “hero” device, showcasing Microsoft’s (MSFT) mobile operating system Windows Phone 7. He said he liked the smartphone’s solid design, its quality of voice calls, and its distinctive user interface. It’s available in black, white, or blue (a color Mossberg said isn’t an option on Google (GOOG) Android smartphones or the iPhone).
Available for a limited time at $99 with a contract, the Lumia 900 is cheaper than Apple’s latest iPhone 4S, which starts at $199 with a contract, as well as some of the top Android smartphones. But even with that price tag, Mossberg couldn’t recommend it over a lot of other devices. He noted that the iPhone 4 is still available brand new for $100 and there are several Android phones out there at that same price point.
The battery life of the phone wasn’t horrible, he said, and in light use it would probably get through the day. However, when he streamed a television show over Netflix (NFLX), placed a one-hour phone call, and did some web surfing, the battery was almost drained by late afternoon.
Mossberg also had issues with the device’s web browser, which he said froze often. “There's something going on I think, at least in my tests, with the browser on this and that's not acceptable.”
While Mossberg didn’t give the Lumia 900 his top recommendation, he does see some promise in the Windows Phone 7 operating system and noted that he’d like to see it grow. “I think there is room for a third major choice out there and I think the more choices consumers have the better.”