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Nokia to sell new Lumia phone through Verizon Wireless

A woman holds a Nokia smartphone in this photo illustration taken in Bucharest January 24, 2013. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel
A woman holds a Nokia smartphone in this photo illustration taken in Bucharest January 24, 2013. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Nokia will sell a new high-end smartphone through U.S. carrier Verizon Wireless, it said on Friday, aiming to expand its share in the high-margin premium market after years of falling behind Samsung and Apple Inc.

The new Lumia 928, priced at $99 if customers mail-in a $50 rebate and agree to a two-year deal with Verizon Wireless, is similar to the 920 model currently sold through AT&T, but is lighter and slightly different in appearance.

It weighs 162 grams compared with 185 grams for the 920, which some critics had said was too heavy.

The 928's 4.5-inch screen also extends to the edge of the phone, giving a sharper impression than the curved edges of the 920. The new models also come in black and white compared with the colorful options of the earlier Lumia range.

Most other features, such as a 8.7 megapixel camera and 1.5-gigahertz dual core processor by Qualcomm, are the same as the 920's.

The 928 is the latest in Nokia's Lumia range of smartphones which use Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 software.

Nokia switched to Windows in 2011, aiming to compete with Apple's iPhones and rivals using Google's Android system. Sales of Lumia phones have grown in recent quarters, but at 5.6 million in first quarter, they still account for only around 5 percent of the market.

The company has recently launched new products in the lower and mid-tier range to protect its position in emerging markets, but analysts have said its success in the high-margin smartphone market will be crucial for its long-term survival.

Nokia is due to unveil its new Lumia strategy at an event in London next Tuesday.

(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Anthony Barker and Mark Potter)

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