Nokia is readying itself to make a concerted effort to crack the lucrative US smartphone market, as its first device powered by Microsoft's latest Windows software is almost ready to launch.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, a person familiar with the launch confirmed that the new handset will debut this week. T-Mobile USA is set to announce that it will distribute the device, called the Lumia, at an event in New York.
The Lumia 710 was launched in the European market in November, retailing at around $362. Despite this, Nokia has thus far refused to confirm how much the handset will retail for in the US, where the Finnish firm is determined to make a bigger impression.
Experts do not expect Nokia to immediately compete with Research In Motion (RIM), the firm behind the BlackBerry handset, never mind the two biggest players in the US smartphone market, Google and Apple.
Indeed, despite being the world's biggest cellphone maker, Nokia boasts a meagre one percent of the US market and is struggling to turn around its own falling sales.
Nokia, however, will be hoping to capitalize on a series of PR gaffes made by RIM in the last year to seize a larger slice of the US market. Furthermore, the firm struck a deal with Microsoft in February which means that the US-based firm is to power its next-generation smartphones.
According to Chris Weber, Nokia's US head, the firm is committed to spending heavily to market the new phones in 2012, explaining that it will be consciously targeting first-time smartphone users.
"There's a very substantial business opportunity with these devices, and Microsoft and Nokia together are going after that market," Stephen Elop, Nokia's Chief Executive, explained in a recent interview.
In addition to search and advertising capabilities, Mr Elop claimed that the new handset offers gaming and location-based services that can compete with Android and Apple. "Between ourselves and Microsoft, we deliver a third ecosystem," he said.
RIM, for its part, has not shown any outward concern about the threat posed by Nokia. The maker of the BlackBerry has already confirmed that it plans to launch its own next-generation phone, which will be run off a new operating system.
Although RIM has refused to confirm a launch date, analysts have speculated that the new handset will reach the market in the second half of 2012.