Today, Microsoft will hold an event in San Francisco to formally launch Windows Phone 8, after debuting Windows 8 last Thursday in New York City
. One of its closest Windows Phone partners, Nokia, has meanwhile announced that it will team up with Verizon to sell the Lumia 822 in U.S. markets.
Nokia's top tier smartphones, Lumia 920 and Lumia 820, will be available exclusively through AT&T starting in November and are available for pre-order at Best Buy
. As the company looks to rebound from losses generated by the success of Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy, the decision to partner with Verizon on a variant of the Lumia 820 shows Nokia considers the U.S. market and 4G networks vital to its recovery.
A release posted on the Nokia website
hints that the Lumia 822 is considered an entry-level smartphone, though it comes with many enticing features that are hard to overlook. With a 4.3-inch screen and wireless charging capability, the Lumia 822 shares many of the higher end models' best attributes, including Nokia Drive+ with turn-by-turn voice navigation, offline maps, and Nokia City Lens.
Another strength of the Lumia models is the camera suite. The Lumia 822 comes with both an 8MP camera and a front-facing, 1.2MP HD camera for video calls, along with several applications to control photo quality and edit images after they are taken.
Notably, the Lumia 822 will feature Nokia Music, a free, on- and offline music streaming application without advertisements.
The partnership with Verizon appears to be a sound strategy for Nokia, as the Lumia line may have been hampered by exclusive availability through just one carrier. The features on all of the Lumia models are impressive, particularly the mapping technology, however the price of the Lumia 822 could go a long way in determining its success. To the extent that Windows Phone 8 still has a limited app store, pricing the phone too high could turn some customers away.