Nokia’s flagship Lumia 900 smart phone was enthusiastically received at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month.

It is beautifully designed. Beneath the surface it uses the latest version of Microsoft’s phone software.

This should be good news. Microsoft’s Windows Phone software is a better bet for Nokia than its disastrous Symbian and MeeGo systems.

Alternative to Apple, Android

A practical smart phone alternative to Apple and Android should spur competition and innovation.

Many users who have yet to make the jump to smart phones will welcome Microsoft’s easy user interface and easy integration.

A year ago when Nokia and Microsoft announced their partnership, the idea of a smart phone which integrates smoothly with the desktop PC looked compelling.

Shuffling files and information between Windows 7 applications and an Android phone was clumsy. It still isn’t ideal.

Smart phone versions of Microsoft Office apps, connected to desktops and laptops through Microsoft’s Sky Drive cloud service could be mobile nirvana.

Cutting the Microsoft cord

At the time of the Nokia – Microsoft announcement, I was excited by the idea of bringing all my devices together under one technology umbrella.

That’s changed. Since Microsoft partnered with Nokia I dumped my laptop in favour of an iPad and I’ve connect my Android phone to the iPad and desktop using Drop Box. I’m less dependent on what people in the business call the Microsoft ‘eco-system’. After years of spending my working day in Microsoft Word, I now use other writing tools almost as much.

I’m still keen to see if Windows Phone will work for me, but it’s no longer essential.

It’s not just about me. Others will have jumped ship.

Nokia’s first batch of Windows smart phones still aren’t on sale in New Zealand. The Lumia 900 could be months away. Each month that passes sees more people unhitch from Microsoft’s world.

It’s far too early to count Microsoft and Nokia out. Apple was in a far worse shape before it’s recovery. Yet the clock is ticking for both companies.

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