updated 02:30 am EDT, Sat April 7, 2012
Windows Phone promo, events escalate
Microsoft and Nokia swung their marketing for the Lumia 900 into full gear on Friday night with three pushes at once. Nokia revealed at the last minute that its Times Square event's special performer was Nicki Minaj, paralleling the appearance of Deadmau5 at the London Lumia 800 event in the fall. While the exact crowd numbers weren't revealed, thousands were visible in both official and unofficial shots.
As expected, Nokia's Smartphone Beta Test page also shed its teaser status and showed the TV ad campaign that should saturate the US for the next several weeks. The two spots so far suggest that everyone using a smartphone "for the past five years," or since the iPhone was unveiled, was secretly part of a beta test for what the Lumia 900 would become. One of the first clearly TV-oriented spots suggests that social disasters like missing a family tragedy could be helped by Windows Phone's People Hub providing social updates faster.
Rounding out the campaigning, Microsoft's Smoked by Windows Phone promo has extended for one more week, until April 12. To drive sales of the Lumia 900, Microsoft has stopped giving away the free phones to 'losers' that have triggered lineups and has instead switched to $25 gift cards for the store, capped at 250 people per day. The special HP Folio 13 for winners has been replaced with a similar-value $1,000 gift card.
The scale of the campaign shows the perceived importance for Microsoft and Nokia that the Lumia 900 succeed. Microsoft is continuing to lose ground to Apple and Google, and sees the Lumia 900's US appearance as regaining relevance. Nokia is hoping to restart its presence in the US after executives before Stephen Elop mostly dismissed the threat of Android and the iPhone and paid little attention to the US.