Stephen Elop and his team unveiled a range of new handsets at the Nokia launch at MWC, along with more services and partnerships, hoping that more phones with different price points and features will ensure they can claw back market share.
The Nokia 105 and 307, as well as the the Lumia 520 and 720, have all been designed to echo the flagshop Lumia 920 handset. “We are now fielding the most innovative portfolio of products ever,” he said. While many of the devices are aimed at the lower-end of the market, the CEO said Nokia still needs to “rapidly innovate at the high-end” and that they are now trying to tempt business users over to their platform, including launching trials with Coca Cola and Foxtons. Nokia has made a “bold step forward in its relationship with China Mobile”, he said, and will be offering better, more tailored products in the country.
Nokia’s head of design, Marko Ahtisaari, explained that they have been “focusing on the things people do every day and making them better”, particularly on “design, durability, performance and camera”. The Here maps suite now comes with a transit function to enable users to quickly find their way home on public transport. It will soon become available to non-nokia handsets and will be integrated in the Firefox OS. A ‘place tag’ function, combining photos and maps is now in beta and a ‘live sight’ AR overlay to its maps was also demoed.
The Finnish manufacturer also announced an exclusive relationship with Dreamworks to offer new entertainment experiences starting in the second half of the year.
The 4.3” Lumia 720 is a non-LTE handset which it was said would give the phone ‘broader reach’. It has an unusual set of USPs, including a specially designed screen to give users ‘better readability from more angles’ and a case designed to feel more ‘human’ so it is never cold. It has the same battery as the 920 and now has wireless charging, both at home and in-car, using NFC. It is also the first of the Lumia range to have space for an SD card.
It will be on sale for €249 in Honk Hong, Vietnam and Singapore in Q1, with Africa and more of Asia targeted in Q2. The Photobeamer software on the device enables its users to perform a web-based screen takeover of other people’s handsets so they can show them their photos.
The 4” Lumia 520 was described as the most affordable handset running Windows Phone 8. It has a 1 Ghz processor, 8 GB of memory with the potential for 64 GB more, and a 5 megapixel autofocus camera, using the same lens as the 920. It is being launched in Hong Kong and Vietnam in Q1 at €139 before being sold in the UK and Italy in Q2 and then China, India and in the US on T-mobile.
The Nokia 301 offers 3.5G and has a simplified web browser with pre-loaded links to Facebook, Youtube and other popular sites. It comes with Whatsapp embedded into the device and has quirky features like the Slam bluetooth sharing capability and improved camera functionality, including panoramic and sequential photography.
The €15 Nokia 105 handset is the follow-up to the 1280, which has sold 100m worldwide, particularly in emerging markets. The basic handset has a torch, two week battery life and spill-proof keyboard and is aimed at the 2.7bn people still without a mobile phone.
There was noticeable silence from the huge crowd of journalists and analysts – except for the primed Nokia employees.