Nokia's Lumia 920, flagship device of the Microsoft
Windows Phone 8 mobile
platform, is beginning to show signs of a sales boom. The device has sold out on Amazon, some versions have wait times on AT&T, and retailers in Germany and Australia are reporting they are out of stock.
The Amazon wait time for the black version of the 4G device it sells is as long as two weeks. On AT&T's Web site, the black version is also sold out and is out of stock, while the yellow and cyan models have wait times of one or two weeks. The white and red models are in stock.
The 920's trip to smartphone stardom has recently had some bumps. Users on various Web forums, including Microsoft's and Nokia's, have reported multiple reboots on the 920 as well as the Windows Phone 8-based HTC 8X. In some cases, the spontaneous reboots have occurred multiple times during a day. Additionally, there have been complaints that the 920 locks up, resets, or leaves the user in endless loops inside e-mail accounts that try to sync up.
Some users have said that random freeze-ups on the 920 appear to occur when Bluetooth peripherals are used with the phone. Others have suggested that the problem stemmed from a preview app of Skype for Windows Phone 8. However, there had been reports of the rebooting and syncing problems before the Skype preview app was released.
Microsoft had said it was investigating the reports. On Tuesday, the technology giant announced it would release an over-the-air fix for the problems next month. In a statement, the company said that it was "continuing to investigate some reports of phones rebooting and have identified a cause with our partners," but declined to identify the cause.
The Lumia line has sold about 11 million units thus far, driven by sales in the U.S. and China, although third-quarter sales had dropped by 28 percent over the second quarter. Analysts have noted the partnerships Nokia has developed with U.S. carriers, such as AT&T. The Lumia 900 had been among AT&T's top three best-selling phones through July, for the first four months of its existence.
Nokia is also trying new ways to differentiate its phones. Earlier this week, for instance, it announced a partnership with Facebook for a new phone, the Asha 205, which will come with a built-in Facebook button for frequent visitors to that popular social networking site.
But there are also two new, potential clouds on Nokia's brightening horizon. There are reports this week that Microsoft, its new Best Friend Forever, may be manufacturing its own Windows Phone 8 smartphone, which will go by the same Surface name as Microsoft's tablet.
The other potential cloud could be the much-awaited launch of Research In Motion's BlackBerry 10 platform and devices at the end of January. A good reception for BB10 could dampen any growing enthusiasm for a hot smartphone that doesn't use Google's Android or Apple's iOS.