Nokia Lumia Icon on sale Feb. 20 exclusively at Verizon

$200 and a two-year contract gets you a quad-core, 5-in. HD display, 20 megapixel beast

Verizon Wireless will sell the Nokia Lumia Icon smartphone starting Feb. 20 for $199.99 and a two-year contract.

Nokia's Lumia Icon has a 5-in. AMOLED display. (Image: Nokia)

The Lumia Icon device includes a 5-in. 1080p HD display, and supports wireless charging with a 2420 mAh battery.

It runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor with cores clocked at 2.2 GHz, according to Nokia's specs.

The Icon also sports a 20 megapixel rear camera and will run over Verizon's LTE network. As a Lumia phone, it runs Windows Phone 8 with what's called a Lumia Black custom software overlay.

In a recent blog post, Nokia said Lumia Black includes tools like Nokia Glance Screen 2.0 for checking messages and apps with a glance on a single screen. Lumia Black also supports Bluetooth Smart (Bluetooth 4.0), a low energy specification for pairing devices with wearables and gadgets.

Even though the Icon features stellar hardware specs that put it in line with many competitors, analysts question the Lumia line's future in the U.S. as it runs Windows Phone. The Microsoft mobile OS held just 3% of the total smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2013, down from 3.6% in the third quarter, according to IDC.

The closing of Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's handset division for $8.4 billion is imminent, but it's unclear how Microsoft can boost handset sales. Reports have indicated that Nokia will announce a forked Android smartphone in Barcelona on Feb. 24, though some analysts predict that Microsoft will swiftly kill the project.

Analysts said that Verizon's exclusive rights for the Icon might have been the quickest way for Nokia to get the largest U.S. carrier to offer the smartphone.

"It means one more device at Verizon, which is not a bad thing" for Verizon and customers, said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Kantar WorldPanel. "The more Nokia and Microsoft have a presence with the top operators is better, of course, but I doubt this device changes things much for Nokia or Microsoft."

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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