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CEO for Microsoft Greater China region Simon Leung lectures during the unveiling press conference of the Windows Phone 7.5 on March 21, 2012 in Beijing, China. Microsoft and Nokia will be unveiling a new phone in the States today.

Today is a big day for the phonemaker Nokia. A chance to remain relevant -- or perhaps better said: regain relevance in the smartphone world -- when it unveils a new phone that uses Microsoft's operating system. The company will have about a week to make a splash with this phone before Apple's new iPhone comes out.

Well that's the rumor anyway. When I dialed up tech analyst Rob Enderle, he answered his cell phone that runs on Windows. Since he uses Windows on his desktop computer, he says he finds it more convenient rather than jumping back and forth on different interfaces.

And that's the kind of thing Microsoft and Nokia are hoping to capitalize on when they introduce their new designed-from-the-ground-up smartphone, based on the same Windows 8 system that'll run next-generation PCs.

Nokia has been struggling to come up with a hit -- and rapidly eating away at its bank account in the process. Enderle says they're out of options: "They don't have the time. This has to work for them, they're burning through too much cash. This is an all-or-nothing effort."

It's not so dire for Microsoft. In fact, things are looking up since Apple won its big patent lawsuit against Samsung phones using Google's Android system. Enderle explains that's got other handset makers running scared. "Suddenly, most of the Android guys are taking another look at Microsoft because of the litigation," he says.

Furthermore, says Enderle: If Nokia's new Lumia is a hit, it could change the smartphone landscape yet again.

About the author

Bob Moon is Marketplace’s senior business correspondent, based in Los Angeles.

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