Nokia unveils Lumia Windows phones
Nokia claimed a 'new dawn' today as it unveiled its first handsets to use Microsoft’s Windows Phone, as well as four other devices aimed at emerging markets.
Speaking at Nokia World in London, CEO Stephen Elop said his company’s devices were “the first real Windows Phones”, dismissing rival efforts by firms such as Samsung and HTC. He called the Lumia 710 and 800 models “a new dawn for Nokia” but acknowledged that the 147-year-old Finnish company had to deliver more if it was to have any realistic hope of regaining its previous dominance.
Nokia also unveiled four other new handsets that it said would help the company focus on “high-growth, emerging markets”, where “the next billion people” would first encounter the internet.
The Asha range, named after the Hindu word for hope, will be based on Nokia’s existing ‘Symbian’ operating system, shipments of which increased 25 per cent last quarter. The company hopes the new devices will further blur the line between older, feature phones and smartphones. They will feature 5 megapixel cameras, social networking functions, music and long battery life.
Analysts praised Nokia for accelerating its previously ponderous development cycle to produce Windows devices, but were cautious in their assessment of the chances of success. Ben Wood, at CCS Insight, said that the new handsets “signalled the start of Nokia’s journey back to the smartphone market” but added that the company had a “mountain to climb” if it was ever to seriously compete with Apple or Google’s Android platform.
Mr Elop said the flagship Lumia 800 embodied Nokia’s ambition to deliver “craftsmanship at any price point”, and was “a reflection of absolute, consumer-led design”. A marketing push will emphasise the phone’s global navigation services, offering turn-by-turn directions and live travel information for cities around the world, as well as free, pre-selected music and a forthcoming app from ESPN that provides improved access to sports news.
The companion 710 model would feature similar specifications as well as an interchangeable back cover. Internet rumours had expected a third Windows device, with a keyboard, but Nokia’s only new keyboard phone was part of the Asha range.
Nokia will launch the Lumia 800 in November in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands.