Nokia’s Lumia 800 handset, dubbed by some as the manufacturer’s make-or-break device, has gone on sale today (16 November), the first since the Finnish giant ditched its own operating services and signed an agreement with Microsoft to use its Windows Phone operating system.
The new handset has prompted some operators to open stores from 8am with Three offering purchasers between 8am and midday a £30 bill credit and Vodafone offering £60 of gift vouchers to its first 10,000 customers. Both Everything Everywhere brands and Vodafone are also selling the handset, but O2 has not yet announced any plans to stock the phone.
Three and Vodafone’s move comes after Orange offered eligible upgrading customers a free 4GB Xbox 360 when they pre-ordered the handset.
All of the operators are offering the handset for free with certain price plans ranging from between £26 and £36. Retailers Phones 4u and Carphone Warehouse have announced plans to sell the device with tariffs starting from as little as £26 per month with the handset available for free.
Phones 4u is also offering a free accessories package worth £49.99 with all pre-orders, while Carphone Warehouse has pledged a free £50 gift card to spend in Sainsbury’s, Debenhams, Next or Toys R' Us.
The Lumia 800 was unveiled along with the Lumia 710 last month at the annual Nokia World in the first stage of the company's attempt to fight back in the smartphone market after losing considerable ground to its rivals.
The Lumia 800 features a one piece polycarbonate body, a curved 3.7-inch AMOLED capacitive touch-screen and social networking integration.
It also boasts a 1.4GHz processor, an eight-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss lens and LED flash, as well as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity and a new music app.
Analysts have warned that the new handsets will only take off if customers adopt the Windows Phone OS in large numbers.
Nick Hedderman, head of consumer marketing for Windows Phone at Microsoft UK, recently told Mobile that handset prices have dropped because of the uniqueness of the partnership. ‘We have a list of specifications that manufacturers can go above and beyond, but what they cannot do is slip under those specifications on any handset.’
Launch activity will include a performance by deadmau5 in front of London’s Millbank Tower to a backdrop of 4D projections taking up the full length of the 120 metre building and its 800 windows, chosen to match the Lumia model number and its windows.
The free event takes place on the 28 November 2011 and spectators will be able to view the half hour performance from the North and South sides of the River Thames. It will also be streamed online.