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Verizon Expands Windows Line With Nokia Lumia Icon

Stocks in this article: VZ NOK T MSFT AAPL GOOG

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It's looking more and more like No. 1 cellular carrier Verizon Wireless (VZ) is also on its way to becoming No. 1 when it comes to offering Windows Phones.

In addition to a number of somewhat older models currently offered - including the HTC 8X, Samsung's ATIV Odyssey and the Nokia (NOK) Lumia 928 - there's now a brand new design on the way.

It's called the Nokia Lumia Icon - during development it was known as the Lumia 929 - and is said to be a big step up from the older 928. The new model will reportedly sport a 5-inch, HD touchscreen, 20 megapixel camera, quad-core processor and a 2,420 mAh rechargeable battery.

The Lumia Icon appears to be very similar to Nokia's Lumia 1520 phablet on a slightly smaller scale. The 1520 sports a giant 6-inch touchscreen and the 20 megapixel camera with Zeiss lens. It's currently available through AT&T  (T) ($199 with contract) and in unlocked form ($549) from the Microsoft Online Store.

The Icon had appeared on Verizon's Web site but has since been removed. In a screen grab obtained by GSM Arena, the contract price had been listed as $777.00 but should definitely be more in line with other Windows smartphones when the handset is officially announced.

Verizon shares were lower by more than 1% to $47.96 in early New York trading.

Having the Icon sold (and hopefully heavily promoted) by Verizon could only mean good things for Microsoft's smartphone ecosystem. Windows phones have quietly been gaining market share both in this country and around the world, The gains come at the expense of the rapidly fading BlackBerry (BBRY) offerings.

At CES this week, Microsoft (MSFT) boasted it posted record Windows Phone sales during the holiday season. Windows Phones are reportedly also outshipping Apple  (AAPL) iPhones in two dozen international markets including India, Italy, Finland (Nokia's home base), Poland and South Africa. In 14 markets, Windows Phones are the No. 2 choice for people buying new phones behind Google's (GOOG) Android OS.

Verizon has yet to set an exact date for release or pricing for the upcoming Lumia Icon smartphone.

-- Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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