Nokia, Samsung countering iPhone 5 with ‘iconic’ Windows Phone 8 devices

The next iPhone is upon us (think September 21-ish) and Apple’s rivals are scrambling to conveniently time their upcoming ‘hero’ device announcements around the same timeframe. That’s brave tactics, trying to divert spotlight away from the mother of all upgrades, as analyst Gene Munster dubbed the iPhone 5 release.

Both Samsung and Nokia are set to unveil new high-end devices built around Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 software. One of the devices is being described in court documents as an “iconic smartphone”. All phones should be on store shelves in time for the holiday shopping frenzy. Should Apple be worried?

As reported by The Verge, leaked documents reveal two Windows Phone 8 devices from Samsung: one called the Odyssey and the other dubbed the Marco. Both phones support 4G LTE and are built around Qualcomm’s speedy dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor clocked at 1.5GHz.

The Odyssey is an “iconic smartphone” with a 4.65-inch Super AMOLED display with HD resolution, NFC and an eight-megapixel rear camera. The Marco has a four-inch S-AMOLED display with WVGA resolution and a five-megapixel back camera.

NFC technology is said to drive Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 Wallet Hub and Tap + Send features. Apple, of course, is believed to be tapping NFC for the next iPhone. Both Samsung devices are set to launch in time for the holiday shopping season.

As for Nokia, Bloomberg repots on the company’s plans to launch a new Windows Phone 8 lineup at Nokia World, which runs from September 5 to September 6 in Helsinki, Finland. Nokia lost over 90 percent of its market value since the iPhone’s arrival five years ago.

It’s been reporting losses five quarters in a row now and its Lumia handsets (seen at the top: the Lumia 800) sold just 600,000 units in the U.S. last quarter. What is the company going to do to boost sales apart from launching new handsets in time for the holiday rush?

To boost Lumia sales, Nokia has gathered hundreds of volunteering U.S. employees — from such diverse departments as finance to human resources — to work alongside salesmen at carriers.

That group, dubbed the Nokia Army, has allowed the company to educate consumers as well as retail sales staff, with the aim that they are willing to mention Lumia as an alternative.

Carriers are reportedly welcoming these new non-Apple and non-Android devices.

It’s not surprising that carriers that offer the iPhone also want other platforms to strive to avoid becoming too dependent on Apple or Google. We here at iDB have grown tired of carriers constantly bickering over high iPhone subsidy.

See, in spite of criticism, these telcos continue to pay billions in upfront subsidy to Apple due to the benefits the iPhone offers, like its unmatched ability to sway more subscribers to the high-end and steal customers from competition.

How do you think the next iPhone will fare against those hero Windows Phone 8 devices from Samsung and Nokia?