Nokia's Lumia 928 to sell via Verizon on May 16

The phone is lighter than the Lumia 920 and has a Xenon flash

Nokia has announced the long-rumored Lumia 928, which will be an exclusive to Verizon Wireless when it goes on sale next week.

The phone is part of Nokia's effort to improve its fortunes in the U.S. market, where it only sold 400,000 phones during the first quarter of the year.

The 928 is an improved version of the Lumia 920. Both phones are powered by a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor from Qualcomm and have a 4.5-inch screen with a 1280 x 768 pixel resolution and an 8.7-megapixel camera. The Lumia 920 drew criticism for its weight, 186 grams. With the Lumia 928 Nokia made a slightly lighter phone at 162 grams.

It will be available in white or black at Verizon Wireless stores and online beginning May 16 for US$99 after a $50 mail-in rebate, with a new two-year customer agreement, according to Nokia. For a limited time, buyers will also get a $25 credit for Windows Phone apps and games.

The Lumia 928 also comes with a Xenon flash, which the Lumia 920 lacks. Earlier this week, Nokia began touting the device's camera and its ability to take pictures and shoot videos in low-light conditions. It posted a clip favorably comparing the video capabilities with that of Samsung's Galaxy S III and Apple's iPhone 5.

Even though comparisons posted by vendors should be taken with a pinch of salt, the camera has long been one of Nokia's strengths, said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner. It was surprising that Nokia didn't talk more about the Lumia 920's imaging capabilities when it was launched last year, but the company seems to have learned from that mistake, she added.

When Nokia CEO Stephen Elop hinted at the arrival of the Lumia 928 during the company's Q1 financial results presentation, he said it would mark the beginning of a string of new product introductions. On May 14, Nokia will host a launch event in London where "the next chapter of the Lumia story" will be told, it said.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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