Nokia to Target First-Time U.S. Smartphone Buyers With Windows Phone

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Nokia (NYS: NOK) intends to target its first devices running Microsoft's (NAS: MSFT) Windows Phone platform at first-time U.S. smartphone buyers, according to a top Nokia executive.  

Chris Weber, Nokia's North America chief, said the strategy is part of a broader one of working more closely with U.S. carriers. He said Nokia has been developing a partnership model with U.S. carriers that works for them, which means not necessarily stealing away potential customers buying Apple's (NAS: AAPL) iPhone or phones running Google's (NAS: GOOG) Android platform

"We have to be additive to their business," he told the Wall Street Journal.

To that end, Weber said Nokia would look to target first-time smartphone buyers who may be intimidated by technology but might appreciate Windows Phone's simpler aesthetic and approach, which integrates many services and focuses less on individual applications. Nokia is also looking to compete at lower price points, which could entice first-time smartphone customers.

It's still unclear which U.S. carriers Nokia will partner with on Windows Phone. Weber has said Nokia will release a portfolio of U.S.-specific products on multiple carriers early next year. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said last week that Nokia will release LTE and CDMA devices for specific markets, and Nokia has reportedly been working closely with Verizon (NYS: VZ) Wireless, AT&T (NYS: T) Mobility and T-Mobile USA on its first Windows Phone devices, to hit the U.S. next year. Historically, GSM carriers AT&T and T-Mobile have been Nokia's strongest U.S. partners.

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