Nokia, Microsoft and AT&T plan to launch the “Ace,” their latest Windows smartphone, with a $100 million advertising campaign, spearheading a push in the highly-competitive U.S. mobile market.
Windows launched its first smartphone in the U.S. last year to mediocre reviews, but the release of the Ace, expected in March, marks the first time a major cell phone carrier is getting behind the Windows name.
The move is an expensive, potentially risky one, since Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android make up nearly three quarters of the smartphone market in the U.S., and many users are hesitant to switch operating systems they’ve become comfortable with.
However, if any company can penetrate the market, it may just be Microsoft, since the software giant has a huge following of devoted users accustomed to their user-friendly PC Windows interface.
Nokia said it will specifically target first-time smartphone buyers, who may be enticed to upgrade their feature phones if they think a Windows smartphone will be equally easy to navigate.
For its part, AT&T is looking to feature new hardware for its expanding 4G LTE network, so the Ace may potentially be one of the first devices to support those faster speeds.
All three companies will invest heavily in the marketing push for the Ace, much the way Verizon backed the Droid Razr, which helped propel Android’s popularity. They have good reason to be optimistic, as Nokia’s Lumia 800 Windows phone debuted in the U.K. in November to rave reviews and sales.
Still, in order to lure U.S. consumers away from their trusty, well-known devices and operating systems, the Nokia Ace with Windows will have to be highly impressive.
The world will know more on January 9, when Nokia has planned a Windows Phone-related event at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nev.