International customers interested in picking up the next flagship Windows Phone will get their chance soon, starting this week. Microsoft announced today that the Nokia Lumia 930 will be available in Europe, Asia and the Middle East this week, with more locales added “in the coming weeks.”
The phone, which was first unveiled at Microsoft’s Build developer conference earlier this year, sports a five-inch, 1080p screen and a 20 megapixel PureView camera. The phone is driven by a 2.2 GHz, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, and 2 GB of RAM.
Users can store up to 32 GB of data on the device, but it doesn’t have a MicroSD slot for additional storage. In addition, it sports a quartet of directional microphones, which are designed to record high-quality stereo sound, while blocking out noise at the same time.
More importantly, the phone runs Windows Phone 8.1, the latest revision of Microsoft’s mobile operating system. That comes with a number of improvements, including Cortana, the company’s virtual assistant, which is designed to compete with Siri and Google Now.
But there’s one place people won’t be able to buy the 930: the United States. That’s because Verizon already sells the Lumia Icon, which is a very similar (though not identical) phone built to run on the carrier’s CDMA network. It’s unclear how long Verizon’s exclusivity deal for the Icon lasts, but until it’s over, people who aren’t Verizon subscribers in the U.S. are out of luck if they want to buy one of the new flagship phones domestically.
This launch comes at a time when Windows Phone controls slightly more than 3 percent of the total U.S. smartphone market. That’s enough to put Microsoft’s mobile OS into third place behind iOS and Android, but the company isn’t yet in position to challenge the current mobile operating system duopoly. Whether or not this handset will propel Windows Phone forward remains to be seen.