**Editor's Note: Click here for our list of November's hottest selling smartphones to see how Nokia and BlackBerry fared against the competition.**
It might finally be time to acknowledge that Nokia really has something going with the 920 and the rest of its new Lumia line featuring Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 operating system.
Reports of supply shortages aside, the flagship 920 is clearly making an impact. After what was then called a "surprising" sellout on Black Friday in the U.S., the first of the devices to arrive in China were a big hit. It only took two hours for Nokia's main Shanghai store to run out last week – and the Chinese celebrated the 920's debut with long lines outside the building, Nokiapoweruser noted. Many of those people had pre-ordered the handset.
It would probably be folly to suggest that Nokia Lumias will make major market-share inroads against the iPhone or Samsung's top-end smartphones anytime soon; and the same for Windows Phone 8 against Apple's iOS or Google's Android OS. But is the battle against Research In Motion already won?
The BlackBerry maker is still a month away from rolling out its BB10 operating system and at least two new touchscreen handsets, with the BlackBerry London being the most notable at this point. If BB10 struggles to take hold in Europe and North America as BlackBerry 7 did a couple of years ago, RIM might go the way of Canada's Nortel, a once-great company that sold itself off in pieces.
Both Nokia and RIM have struggled mightily for years. Finland-based Nokia seemed to stand by and watch as Apple, Samsung and others jumped into the smartphone revolution with gusto. Relying on its dominance in feature phones for way too long, Nokia finally made a move in 2011 by teaming with Microsoft and unveiling its first batch of Lumias – they sold well in their first month, but quickly faded from the collective global consciousness. The next line of Lumias, however, is benefitting from some solid buzz and a big marketing push by both Nokia and the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant.
Research In Motion hasn't fared much better. While BB7 has performed decently in some international markets, some of the most significant regions pooh-poohed the launch a couple of years ago. For the most part, RIM ignored the ease-of-use of devices released by its rivals, as well as what now seems obvious – the critical role of a good applications store. That being said, BB10, getting ready for a Jan. 30, 2013, launch, has garnered some buzz of its own, particularly among wireless carriers who have been given a sneak preview of new handsets. It was enough to help RIM more than double its stock price from Sept. 21 to Dec. 20; however, it gave back about half of that in a big selloff after the company reported awful third-quarter numbers.
So who will take the race for third place? Our bet is on Nokia. And the gang at Saibus Research feels the same. Posting thoughts on Seeking Alpha, a Saibus analyst says that despite the initial Lumia launch more than a year ago being a "flop," Nokia gave itself a big edge over RIM by launching its Windows 8 devices in time for the holiday season. A 13-week advantage will be very difficult for the BlackBerry maker to overcome.
Follow editor Craig Galbraith on Twitter @Craig_Galbraith .