Nokia prepares for 'solid' Windows Phone launch
Nokia will launch three new Windows Phone handsets as well as new Symbian devices at Nokia World this week
Nokia is set to launch its comeback bid in London tomorrow – the struggling mobile phone manufacturer is likely to unveil three new Windows Phone handsets, running the latest version of the software and aimed at the midrange of the market, as well as new handsets based on its aging Symbian operating system.
The new devices will be the first since Nokia CEO Stephen Elop announced that the Finnish giant was betting its future of Microsoft’s operating system. But they are unlikely to launch in America this year – the company has already confirmed that it won’t be shipping “in volume” until 2012 – and are also unlikely to contain hardware surprises.
Although Nokia itself has revealed no details of the devices, which sources say are called the 800, Ace and Sabre, the company’s close relationship with networks and retailers means that the devices have been seen widely across the mobile phone industry. Buyers and analysts, who did not wish to be named, said the new phones marked an improvement on Windows Phone’s chances of success and were a “solid start” for Nokia’s transition.
The Nokia 800, originally codenamed Sea Ray and based on the Nokia N9 ‘all-screen’ phone, is likely to retail in high street shops for £300 from mid-November, but discounts are widely expected to boost sales. It will feature a 3.7” screen and an 8 megapixel camera, while the Sabre is likely to have a 3.5” screen and 5 megapixel camera. The Ace will offer a slide out keyboard and an 8 megapixel camera, it is believed.
The new devices will face fierce competition, from Google’s Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Apple’s iPhone 4S and Motorola’s new Razr, and analysts said it was sensible for Nokia to focus on slightly lower cost handsets. The manufacturer is also set to launch new Symbian handsets, probably on Thursday, building on its recent success in the developing world.
Most importantly for Nokia’s future, it is set to have a say in the development of future versions of Windows Phone; after the current ‘Mango’ release, the new version will be called ‘Apollo’. It is likely to add support for high-speed LTE networks and dual-core processors.
Although Nokia remains the world’s biggest seller of mobile phones, it has just 16 per cent of the smartphone market. It has lost two-thirds of its market value since Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, but Elop has shifted the company’s focus to the growing market of new customers who are upgrading from older phones to midrange smartphones.