Microsoft offers users more “free time” as part of Lumia advertising push

April 9, 2012

To promote the new Lumia 900, Microsoft has set up time machines in three locations across the country. Don’t get too excited, though. The machines don’t have the capability to send you forward or back in history. Instead, Microsoft posits that the machines will save you time — as will the company’s latest smartphone, the Lumia 900.

The firm backs up this claim with the results of a recent survey from Wakefield Research that found 91 percent of smartphone owners say their phone has saved them time.

And is Nokia going to help you become one of those people with some elusive “free time”? Those who use the machines on location in New York, Chicago or San Francisco or enter the sweepstakes online can win it in the form of grocery delivery, dog-walking services or access to Kourtney Kardashian’s personal hair stylist, makeup artist, personal shopper and car service.

The advertising push comes after Nokia sponsored a Friday-night performance from Nicki Minaj to kick off the Lumia’s launch on Easter Sunday. But, as The New York Times’s Brian Chen pointed out on Sunday, there were few places for people to buy the new handset on its launch day.

“[Nearly] all 39 AT&T stores within proximity of Times Square in Manhattan were either closed for Easter Sunday or did not answer phone calls,” Chen wrote. “The few that were open did not have the handset in stock.”

The Lumia is, for Nokia and for Microsoft, a critically important phone that the companies hope will put the Windows Phone platform into consumers’ minds alongside Apple and Android. The phone met with mixed reviews from technology critics — including me — who liked the phone’s hardware, but found the Windows software less intuitive and, overall, less convenient than similar offerings from competitors. Its price tag of $99, however, made it a phone to recommend.

Online, the Lumia appeared to be doing better in sales, grabbing the first and second places of Amazon’s best-sellers list for smartphones with service plans on Monday.

More stories from The Washington Post:

Joshua Topolsky: Microsoft’s big bet on the smartphone market has software issues

Nokia Lumia 900: The pros and cons

CES: Microsoft’s Ballmer announces new Windows Phone devices

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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