WPSuperfanboy has had a look around the retail scene for Windows Phone in UK, in particular in a large shopping mall in Manchester, England.
He found carrier support for Nokiaâ€™s Lumia range and Windows Phone were not particularly great at present, with the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S III getting most of the push.
All the big players in the mobile phone space are represented here; Vodafone, O2, T-Mobile, Three and Orange, with some having 2 units within the centre.
We visited all carrier stores and before too long, one theme soon emerged. The was no special placement for Windows Phones. No one carrier seemed to carry more that 3 Windows Phone devices. All carries had the Nokia Lumia 800 and the Lumia 710, only 2 had the Nokia Lumia 610 and none had the indomitable Nokia Lumia 900. The only non-Nokia Windows Phone device we found was the HTC Radar at the Vodafone shop. Not much of a choice if you ask me. We know that other devices like the Samsung Omnia W and the ZTE Tania are available, but finding them left us feeling like we were on a DaVinci Code quest. No wonder Windows Phone is struggling in the UK!
Of all the phones we saw in carrier shops, none had a dedicated stand like the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S3. The devices seemed to the scattered amongst Androids, mainly out of the line of sight.
The situation was however much better at popular independent retailers Carphone Warehouse, who has 1,700 stores country-wide and Phones4U, who has 500.
At Carphone Warehouse (pictured above), we were welcomed by a dedicated area for the Nokia Lumia range, right next to Samsung’s, Apple’s and Sony’s own dedicated display areas. The was the full complement of the Nokia Lumia devices, all connected and ready to thrill would-be Windows Phone users. We spoke to a sales rep who was ready to speak to us off-the-record. He confirmed that there was still strong interest in Lumia devices although the interest was not at the level of the iPhone or the SGS3. Unfortunately, the rep was more interested in showing us his brand-spanking SGS3, which naturally we were unimpressed by and uninterested in. He did confirm though that customers that purchased a Windows Phone devices were highly satisfied and unlike Android users, didn’t returned to the store to complain about the phone’s performance or usability.
We moved across to a Phones4U shop, literally. We were greeted by the psychedelic Nokia Lumia squares on the floor, forming a path that lead to Nokia Lumia centre piece (pictured above). Not only was there a Lumia centre piece, the was a dedicated space on the wall right next to the damn-it iPhone.
The sales rep â€¦ eventually told us that Phones4U currently have a special relationship with Nokia will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. He alluded to the recent White Nokia Lumia and the Dark Knight exclusives as proof of the deep working relationship between Nokia and Phones4U. Needless to mention, the full complement of the Lumia range was also available with working display units on show. Not only that, a purchase of the Nokia Lumia 800 attracted a free XBOX console (now that a pull!). The reps appeared comfortable when talking about Windows Phone, often expanding knowledge that your run-of-the-mill sales representative would not have a clue about.
While the carrier situation is regrettable, it is encouraging that Nokia has been able to build relationships with retailers which keep their products in the eyes of customers. Hopefully a new wave of Windows Phone 8 handsets will re-ignite the interest of carriers.
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