Verizon Wireless customers wanting to get their hands on a Windows Phone have, for some time, been a decidedly grumpy bunch – and not without good reason. Two years after the launch of Windows Phone 7, the one and only handset running Microsoft’s mobile OS remains the first-generation Windows Phone, the HTC Trophy, a fairly unremarkable, middle-of-the-road device when it launched, and hardly equipped to compete with the plethora of far more capable iPhones, Androids and even Windows Phones that have arrived since then.
But at long last, there is reason to smile – indeed, to rejoice – as Verizon has confirmed that all that is about to change. Speaking with CNET, Verizon’s chief marketing officer, Tami Erwin, confirmed that Big Red will “sell multiple Windows Phones in the fourth quarter”.
Just the one: the two-year-old HTC Trophy is still the only Windows Phone Verizon has ever offered
Exactly which Windows Phones Verizon plans to offer isn’t yet clear though. Following the announcement yesterday of the Lumia 820 and Lumia 920, Erwin wouldn’t comment on whether either of these handsets would make it to Verizon, but she was said to be “excited by the Nokia announcement”.
Verizon’s chief operating officer, Marni Walden, stated that the carrier “plans to work with Nokia”, but stopped short of giving any indication of when Lumia handsets might launch on the network. We reported in both July and August on plans to launch at least one Nokia handset on Verizon. Today, a tipster contacted Engadget to share screenshots from Verizon’s internal device management system, indicating that the “Nokia Lumia 822” – presumably a variant of the 820 – is headed to the network in both white and grey versions.
Of course, Nokia isn’t the only manufacturer that will offer Windows Phone 8 devices. Samsung recently announced its ATIV S flagship handset, and is expected to launch a second WP8 phone before the end of the year. HTC is also believed to be preparing at least two Windows Phones for launch in the fourth quarter, and is likely to announce them at an event on September 19.
Verizon’s increased focus on Windows Phone comes as networks continue to push for a viable third smartphone ecosystem. Earlier this year, we reported on the frustrations of operators, as on the one hand they find themselves frustrated by the unusually high handset subsidies demanded by Apple, while on the other hand, uncertainties continue to ripple through the Android ecosystem, such as increasingly patent litigations and ambiguities over Google’s long-term plans for Android.