We’ll let you decide whether this is good news or bad news but it appears that Nokia is delaying the availability of its SIM-free Lumia 800 until January 2012, according to reports from online retailers.
Carrier versions will still be available in the U.K., as planned, starting November 16, but those who don’t want to sign a contract and only need the phone itself — as well as those outside launch countries that want to get/import the phone — will have to wait until early next year.
Why is this both good news and bad news? Well, the good news is that the demand for the device could be higher than Nokia expected and Espoo is trying to secure carrier variants to honor its contracts. The bad news is that if you want to grab only the phone or import it, you won’t be able to do so. Before Nokia announced the phone that is heading to select European markets, we’ve heard rumors of relatively low production plans, at least for the initial availability. This could also be one of the reasons for the SIM-free device delay.
Update: It appears that Nokia chimed in to confirm quite the opposite: “For the rollout of our first Lumia products, we have chosen to work with the UK operator and retail partners who shared our enthusiasm and commitment to bring these first products to market with a major focus on bringing alive the Nokia with Windows Phone experience for consumers. Therefore we are making sure that by using these channels the Lumia 800 will be available to our customers in the widest variety of outlets from SIM free to contract”.