April 06, 2012, 7:03 AM — Nokia's Lumia 900 smartphones will reach AT&T stores on Sunday for $99.99, and one analyst said it could be the start of something big: Windows Phone as a market disrupter between the successful iPhone and Android phones.
Windows Phone, Microsoft's mobile operating system that's used by Nokia in its Lumia line of smartphones , is so far a small portion of the smartphone market, less than 3%. Still, Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps said in a blog Thursday the smartphone market is "ripe for disruption ... and every player in the ecosystem (other than Google and Apple ) wants a third player to wedge between Google and Apple."
Epps, went on to argue that Nokia and Microsoft should try to convert every BlackBerry user to Windows Phone within two years. BlackBerry usage is declining and today makes up 8% of the global smartphone market. Grabbing those customers "would be a modest but achievable gain for Windows Phone," she said.
Attracting former BlackBerry users and a portion of Nokia's Symbian users in China and India to Windows Phone "positions Nokia and Microsoft as a viable third platform and foil for Google-Apple hegemony," Epps said. "In the dog-eat-dog smartphone market, viability in itself can be disruptive."
Epps admitted that she is a strong supporter of Windows Phone and has used the OS on the HTC Trophy and Samsung Focus Flash as her personal phones. "I will say it loud and say it proud: I love my Windows Phone," she wrote.
The coming Lumia 900, which she now uses as a review unit, is priced right at $99.99 to attract new smartphone users and to lure BlackBerry customers who are already paying their carriers for data plans. Since Blackberry maker Research In Motion said it won't have new smartphones soon, BlackBerry customers should be a prime target, she added.