Nokia's Lumia lineup finds little love in the US

Nokia's first quarter financials show the Lumia line-up picking up steam globally, but it's actually losing steam Stateside.

Nokia offers a wide array of Windows Phone 8 handsets to woo smartphone users, from the fully-loaded Lumia 920 flagship phone to the budget-friendly Lumia 620, and every one sports a colorful, elegant exterior. But for all its efforts, Nokia devices are struggling to gain a foothold in North America.

Everywhere but here

On Thursday, the Finnish phone maker posted its earnings for the first three months of 2013. The company said it shipped more than 6 million smartphones worldwide, most of them Lumias. "During the first quarter 2013 we shipped 6.1 million Smart Devices units," Nokia said in its earnings release. "Of which 5.6 million units were Lumia products."

Globally, it's pretty clear the popularity of Lumia devices is picking up. One year ago, Nokia had shipped just 2 million Lumia devices worldwide. Since then, global Lumia shipments have never been lower than 4 million, with the exception of the third quarter of 2012, when everyone was waiting for Windows Phone 8 to ship.

The interesting thing is where all those Lumias are landing.

Many of Nokia's shipments are going to Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region. Americans and Canadians, meanwhile, aren't that crazy about the Lumia lin-eup.

Nokia shipped just 400 thousand smartphones to North America between January and March, the vast majority of which were Lumia devices. That's a big decline from the first quarter of 2012, when Nokia shipped 600 thousand smartphones to North America. In fact, Nokia has yet ship a million phones to U.S. and Canadian shores in any quarter since it began selling Windows Phones in late 2011.

To be fair, Nokia is not as well known in North America as it is in other parts of the world such as Europe where shipments of all Nokia devices including Symbian and Asha touch phones are much higher. Nevertheless, despite improving popularity of Lumia devices in the rest of the world, Nokia has yet to crack the North American market, which is dominated by Android, iOS and a smattering of BlackBerry devices.

Nokia may get more aggressive in the coming months to help it succeed in the lucrative North American market. During Nokia's earnings call, CEO Stephen Elop said the company planned to release a number of new products in 2013, beginning with a new Lumia device this summer, The Verge reports. Recent rumors suggest it may be clad in aluminum, rather than polycarbonate

The company is also reportedly planning a phablet-like smartphone, according to The Financial Times, but it's not clear how big the display would be. Phablets, so named because they straddle the line between tablets and smartphones, are typically greater than 5 inches. Nokia has also expressed interest in making a Windows RT tablet, and has been linked to several tablet rumors.

Microsoft may also be keeping a keen eye on Nokia's results as rumors swirl about a potential Surface smartphone. Microsoft has so far denied these rumors; just this week Windows Phone lead Terry Myerson said he didn't see the need for a Microsoft phone at this point. But with Nokia struggling to get a foothold in North America, perhaps a Surface phone is just what's needed to kick start the Windows Phone platform in the U.S. and Canada.

Tags consumer electronicsPhonessmartphonesNokiaWindows Phone

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Ian Paul

PC World

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