AT&T will be selling Nokia’s Lumia 900 smartphone for $100 with a two-year contract.  The phone uses Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS.  The phones go on sale April 8th and will feature a 4.3 inch AMOLED display and an 8-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics.

Currently, Windows makes up just 2% of the cell phone marketplace.  iOS and Android are the leaders.  This minimal price will undoubtedly help with a certain group of consumers, but the ultimate challenge still remains.  Is the Windows 8 smartphone platform good enough to choose over iOS and Android?

One of the ways Nokia is supporting the product is by giving AT&T employees the new phone in the hopes that they will use it, and will become trend-setters of a sort.  They hope the employees will share their positive phone experiences with non-Windows users and begin to change minds about the OS.

But Nokia and Microsoft are not stopping there.  They are investing a combined $24 million to fund a program aimed at app development at Finland’s Aalto University.  They realize the key to smartphone usage for most is the availability of apps.  The project will be called App Campus and will be geared to students and developers around the globe.  Developers will retain full intellectual property rights to any apps they create.

AT&T and Nokia promise to promote this product as neither has done before.  There will be a massive television campaign beginning about April 8th, when the phone launches.  Special training for retail store employees is being conducted as well as in store promotions being conducted.

It will be interesting to follow to see if once and for all, Nokia and Microsoft can crack the American cell phone market.