Nokia's new flagship phone, the Lumia 920 Windows Phone, went on sale November 9 through AT&T.
The stakes are high. Nokia's business is flailing and it needs a monster hit to stay alive. Meanwhile, Microsoft still hasn't found a hero device to to complement its well-reviewed Windows Phone operating system.
But Nokia needs a winner more than Microsoft does. If the Lumia 920 is a dud, chances are pretty good Microsoft will abandon Nokia as its flagship Windows Phone partner and build its own smartphone instead.
So how did the Lumia 920 do over its opening weekend?
Nokia and AT&T wouldn't (or couldn't) comment on how many Lumias were sold, so we don't have any solid numbers. But we do have a bunch of anecdotal evidence from people tracking the launch on Twitter and Windows Phone fan blogs. MyNokiaBlog has a good roundup. In several cases, customers complained that AT&T stores only received a handful of Lumia 920 phones (fewer than 20 units) and quickly sold out, leaving some people who showed up to buy one disappointed.
And BGR has an interesting report that says retailers like Best Buy and Walmart are heavily promoting the Lumia, yet the devices appear relatively low on the top-sellers list for each site and aren't in stock at physical stores. A quick search on AT&T's website shows the Lumia 920 is sold out at most retail locations too.
Why weren't there enough Lumia 920s during opening weekend?
Keep in mind there are three major players involved in the Lumia 920 launch: Nokia, Microsoft, and AT&T. Even though Microsoft has been showing off the new Windows Phone 8 software since the summer, it wasn't actually finished until recently, which left Nokia and AT&T scrambling to approve the OS for consumer use. In fact, we heard from a few people that the final software wasn't approved until the middle of last week, just a few days before the official Lumia 920 launch. That could explain why there weren't enough units available for sale over the launch weekend.
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