Nokia's big push to re-establish itself in the modern smartphone world appears to be paying early dividends The company may have shipped as many as 1.3 million units of its Windows Phone Lumia handsets last year, says Bloomberg.
Surveying the usual range of analysts, Bloomberg found that forecasts varied from 800,000 to 2 million Lumia phones, with only one person estimating less than 1 million, resuling in an average of 1.3 million.
But those numbers refer to the number of units shipped to mobile carriers and retailers rather than actual sales to consumers. Sales to smartphone buyers were probably less than shipments, according to Bloomberg, since some Lumia handsets have remained on the shelves.
Stuck with its traditional Symbian phones, Nokia has been shedding smartphone market share and sales over the past year. Symbian sales fell 36 percent in the two quarters prior to the Lumia launch, Bloomberg said. And the company's fourth quarter results, due to be reported this Thursday, could show a 20 percent drop in sales and a loss of $119 million.
As such, Nokia is pinning its hopes on a revival courtesy of Microsoft's Windows Phone.
Reaching the European market last November, the Lumia 800 is destined for the U.S. as an unlocked version sometime in the coming months. Early data suggested that sales of the 800 were off to a strong start, according to Bloomberg and other sources. However, a more recent but more narrow report published by PaidContent.org found that sales, at least in the U.K., were sluggish in November.
The lower-end Lumia 710 recently went on sale in the U.S. with carrier T-Mobile selling it for $49.99. The phone is already being offered for free with the standard two-year contract by Wal-Mart, and other retailers will likely follow suit.
But Nokia's big gun will be the Lumia 900. Scheduled to be carried in the U.S. by AT&T sometime this quarter, the 900 will be Nokia's first LTE Windows Phone. Equipped with an array of hefty features, including a 4.3-inch AMOLED ClearBlack glass touch screen and high-quality Carl Zeiss lenses, the phone won several awards at CES earlier this month.
Several analysts believe Windows Phone will trigger Nokia's turnaround.
Credit Suisse analyst Kulbinder Garcha feels that Nokia will be able to hold onto 13 percent of the smartphone market over the longer term.
Other analysts have projected that the company could grab third place in the global smartphone market, behind Android and Apple, but ahead of RIM, which has also been struggling.
Lumia sales may reach 3.2 million this quarter as the phones gain traction in Asia, Bloomberg noted. Looking ahead, Nokia could sell as many as 37 million Windows Phone handsets this year and 64 million in 2013, forecasts Morgan Stanley.