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Nokia is expected to be the first company to show off Windows Phone 8 devices, and now it looks like that could happen as soon as September 5, sources tell Bloomberg.
That’s when Nokia’s annual Nokia World conference begins in Helsinki, Finland, and it’s also a week before the expected iPhone 5 unveiling on September 12.
If the news is true, Nokia is likely trying to preempt the media storm around the next iPhone. But given the general media insanity leading up to a new iPhone announcement, Nokia likely needs more than a week of lead time to truly make consumers excited about its new devices. And given Nokia’s history with the Lumia line, it’s new phones probably wouldn’t be available for several weeks after its unveiling — long after the iPhone 5’s expected September 21st release.
Microsoft announced at its Windows Phone developer summit last month that existing Windows Phone devices won’t be upgraded to Windows Phone 8, including Nokia’s flagship Lumia 900. Microsoft will instead be offering a “Windows Phone 7.8″ upgrade that will bring many of the visual refinements in WP8 to older devices. Given that the Lumia 900 only hit U.S. stores in April, the decision not to upgrade it could have affected its sales over the summer.
Nokia shipped 4 million Lumia phones in the second quarter, but we don’t yet know how the platform has fared in recent months. Bloomberg points to lack of consumer awareness as one reason for the Lumia’s slow sales in America. Even though AT&T said that it would be promoting the Lumia 900 heavily when it launched, one potential buyer noted that the phone wasn’t on display at one AT&T store, and the sales associate never mentioned the phone as an option.