Nokia takes on Android with cheaper Lumia handsets

26/02/2013

Nokia has launched cheaper version of its flagship Lumia smartphones, as the Finnish mobile maker looks to regain lost ground to Google’s Android in the budget phone market.

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Nokia unveiled two cheaper Lumia smartphones and two basic handsets, broadening its portfolio to challenge Apple’s iPhone and Android devices.

The Lumia 520 will cost 139 euros ($184) before wireless- carrier subsidies, Nokia’s cheapest handset using the Windows Phone 8 software from Microsoft.

The Lumia 720, which includes wireless charging similar to the flagship 920, will cost 249 euros.

By comparison, Nokia’s high-end Lumia 920 costs about $500 or more when bought without a carrier contract.

Both handsets are set to start shipping this quarter, and will be available from carriers including China Mobile , Espoo, Finland-based Nokia said in a statement.

The phones will be launched in emerging markets, and the firm has not confimed if they will be coming to US and North America.

Chief Executive Officer Stephen Elop has cut more than 20,000 jobs in a bid to revive Nokia after the former smartphone-market leader fell outside the top five in rankings. Nokia sold 4.4 million Lumias last quarter, a fraction of the 160 million devices shipped by manufacturers using Android and the 48 million iPhones sold by Apple, according to IDC.

Analysis

Commenting on the launch, Tony Cripps, devices and platforms analyst, Ovum said: “The launch of the Lumia 520 and 720 smartphones creates a five-strong family of Nokia Windows Phone smartphones, filling in important gaps between the flagship Lumia 920 and the well-received Lumia 620. The new Lumias leave Nokia with nowhere to hide in terms of industry scrutiny, with devices now covering most bases in terms of price points, connectivity, and segmentation.

“A full range of Lumia devices is essential to Nokia’s ambitions to claw back the market share that it has lost since Symbian’s fall from grace. The Lumia 520 and 720 are also vital to Microsoft’s ambitions for Windows Phone, with Nokia clearly providing the beacon and catalyst for the platform.

“However, creating a virtuous circle of supply and demand will be vital if the partners are to truly drive uptake and market acceptance after a slow start. This will require an even greater marketing push and more focus on retail outlets than we’ve seen to date. It will also be necessary to avoid the supply problems that took the shine off the Lumia 920, which has otherwise proved itself popular with reviewers.

This will be helped by Nokia’s continued investment in materials and build quality, which shine through, especially in the Lumia 720,” Cripps concluded.

Nokia also unveiled the 105 and the 301 for its basic mobile-phone category. The dust- and splash-proof 105 is Nokia’s least-costliest phone ever at 15 euros, and it will be available in Africa, Asia and Europe. The 65-euro 301 comes with video streaming, Web access and e-mail.

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