China Telecom and Nokia have launched the first CDMA Windows Phone in China, the Lumia 800c. Following the official launch of the Windows Phone platform itself earlier this month, the 800c will likely be accompanied by an expensive marketing campaign to really provide the device with some steroids in able to throw a heavy punch at competitors.
Stephen Elop explained the company's excitement:
"We're excited to introduce our first Lumia smartphone, the Nokia 800C, to this important market with our exclusive launch partner, China Telecom. Working closely together, we've created a compelling, locally relevant experience on the Nokia 800C especially tailored for people in China."
Wan Xiaochu, Chariman of China Telecom, also expressed enthusiasm:
"This grand launch for China's first CDMA Windows Phone represents our optimism and excitement for the future of Windows Phone and Nokia Lumia in China."
The manufacturer and carrier aren't halting at just the Lumia 800c, as there are plans to introduce the low budget Lumia 610 (also in a CDMA variant) to China Telecom's customer base in Q2 2012. The Lumia "610c" (following the 800c with regards to branding) will be targeting younger audiences - something Nokia intends to achieve on a global scale to rejuvenate the company brand.
The Lumia 800c is available in both black and cyan colouring, and sports a 3.7" AMOLED ClearBlack display, 1.4Ghz processor, 8MP rear-camera (with Carl Ziess optics), and 16GB storage. Consumers who make the purchase will also be able to enjoy the experience with exclusive Nokia apps.
Nokia Maps will be available, with local content support from Fantong, Jiepang, Ctrip, Qunar and Soufun. Nokia Drive is also present for the Chinese market and will sport the same turn-by-turn navigation enjoyed by those in other supported countries. Finally we have Nokia Music, but the service comes limited with 12 months worth of free music, after which it's unclear whether consumers will have to pay a fee to continue using the streaming service.
So what's next on the cards for Nokia and China Telecom now the handset has been officially launched? The two companies are collaborating on a number of plans, including one to feature the Lumia 800c prominently in Tianyi FlyYoung shops, a youth-centred sub-brand of the carrier. Another plan is to bring integrated China Telecom services right to the Lumia 800c home screen, including music, games, videos and integrated reading apps.
Those who purchase the Lumia 800c will be eligible for exclusive apps, including magazines from Trends, and special offers for the free download of popular titles on the Marketplace - 100,000 free downloads of Fuit Ninja and Plants vs Zombies. Speaking of Trends, the provider of fashion magazine apps, the company will be providing Lumia owners with free access to "For Him Magazine" (FHM), Harper's Bazaar and Esquire magazines in the Marketplace.
Microsoft will also be playing a part with the Be Top programme, which is designed to encourage and support developers in creating apps in China. As for availability of the Lumia 800c, the smartphone will be available for purchase through Tianyi FlyYoung shops (China Telecom), Nokia brand stores, China's top chain electronics stores including Suning, Gome, Funtalk, D.Phone, and CentreYou, as well as regional channels and online shops such as 189.cn and hicdma.com. The Windows Phone is sold without contract for 3599 RMB ($570).