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NEW YORK (
TheStreet) -- Have you seen a Nokia Windows phone lately? Me neither.
This June was supposed to be
Nokia's(NOK - Get Report) long-awaited ramp-up of Windows Phone 8 devices, but as I look carefully at what smartphones people are using in public, I have seen a grand total of two Nokia Windows Phones in the wild, in recent months.
Windows Phone 8 launched in late 2012 and Nokia now has a vast portfolio of devices for the U.S. and international markets alike. The major models include 520, 620, 720, 820, 920 and the latest 925 and 928 models launched just this quarter.
Almost every carrier around the world offers one or several of these models. With a full line of models -- finally! -- from low-end (520) to high-end (920, 925 and 928), Nokia should be selling more Windows Phone 8 smartphones than ever.
Yet, either I'm blind, or Nokia sure hasn't been selling where I find myself watching, in public. Granted, I have not traveled anywhere near the corners of the world, but at some point, personal observations matter, especially for those who are good at paying attention.
I have reviewed several Windows Phone devices from multiple manufacturers, starting with the
Dell Venue Pro in 2011 to the
HTC 8X in late 2012, to most recently, Nokia's flagship, the 928. I have also recently played, to a less significant extent, with the Nokia 520 series.
There are some things to like about Windows Phones. First, the consistency. I don't mean just the superficial look, but also the performance. Whether you're talking about the high-end 928 or the low-end 521 model, it's hard to pass a blind test in terms of basic CPU responsiveness for these devices. Even if you go back to the Dell Venue Pro, which is more than two years old, it performs as well as a brand new Windows Phone.
This is unlike Android,
Apple's(AAPL - Get Report) iOS and
BlackBerry(BBRY - Get Report), whose devices more than one or two-years old, suffer from visibly slower performance. So kudos to
Microsoft(MSFT) for having created a great foundation for its OS.
The biggest problem with the Windows Phone remains the lack of relevant apps, or the quality of many with nominal existence. We've been through this argument before: It's not enough to have 170,000 or whatever apps, if the apps you need aren't among them. It's also bad if some of the ones that exist are far behind their Android and iOS counterparts.