Cellphone users who are cheering for more competition in the market have something to smile about.
Nokia is confident enough about its strategy to bet everything on the Windows Phone operating system that the handset maker issued a statement in advance of its fourth quarter financials that the number are better than expected.
Specifically during the holiday period it sold 6.6 million smart phones, 4.4 million of which were WinPhone-powered Lumia
(Nokia's Lumia 920)
That’s good news for Nokia, good for mobile operators who want a challenger to counter the negotiating power of Apple and its iPhone. It’s also good news for Microsoft, too, notes Nigam Arora in Forbes.
It may be mixed news for Research In Motion: On the one hand, it suggests that buyers aren’t splitting the market between iPhone and Android-based units. On the other hand, it means there will be a fight for the number three slot.
Both companies are fighting their way back in the smart phone war and there’s a long way to go for both.
However, Canaccord Genuity financial analyst Michael Walkley said this in a research note to investors after the Nokia statement was issued: "While these near-term results are encouraging, we maintain our belief 2013 remains a challenging transitional year for Nokia, especially as our meetings at CES [this week in Las Vegas] and extensive handset sell-through store surveys indicate continued uncertainty about Windows 8 emerging as a viable long-term smartphone ecosystem versus Android and iOS."
As for the future, Walkley said that Windows Phone "still has potential as a viable long-term alternative
to iOS and Android if the ecosystem can gradually gain consumer mindshare, we believe it will require a concerted effort by Microsoft and its hardware partners to properly leverage unique assets such Microsoft's enterprise software reach, location based services and Xbox gaming platform."
RIM, of course, will unveil its next-generation BlackBerry 10 handset Jan. 30 and begin a battle to convince carriers and corporate buyers that it is still an important name in wireless.
One sign that RIM has made significant gains is that it will issue pre-quarterly financial results like Nokia.