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Nokia bets big on new Lumia offerings

Rasheed Kappan, Goa, December 23, 2013, DHNS 23:09 IST
Nokia India Managing Director P Balaji briefs media at the company's Annual Strategy Sharing Summit in Goa.
Finnish handset major Nokia was clearly in no mood to let its impending acquisition by Microsoft dampen a euphoric launch of five new devices, ready to enter the Indian market in 2014.

But the company’s just concluded the 6th Annual Strategy Sharing Summit in Goa was also about a reminder of its pioneering past, its revolutionary linkages between consumers and innovative mobile technology, and yes, its forays into greater camera-phone integration.Mixing technology, entertainment and visual artistry in a five-star setting, Nokia’s packaging of its brand identity at the Summit was upbeat. The message was clear: Its adoption of the Windows platform through the Asha and Lumia ranges had reinvigorated the company’s fortunes. Cited was a report by International Data Corporation (IDC), an American market research, analysis and advisory firm, that Windows Phones (WP) grew by a whopping 156 per cent in third quarter, 2013, and Nokia accounted for 93.2 per cent of all WP-powered smartphones.

Two new devices, Lumia 1320 and Lumia 525, are on Nokia’s launch agenda for 2014, a year that will also see the release of the affordable Asha 500 and Asha 503. If Lumia 1320, a phablet with six-inch screen, boasts of a 720p HD display, the Lumia 525 is equipped with a four-inch touchscreen, Snapdragon’s 1Ghz dual core processor and 1GB RAM. These launches will coincide with Microsoft’s final acquisition of Nokia’s $7 billion handset business, expected in the first quarter of the new year.

Nokia had launched nine new devices in the crowded handset market this year. Nokia India Managing Director P Balaji said that each of these handsets had resonated well with the consumers. The substantial growth in the number of mobile apps under the Windows platform was seen as proof. Since the launch of Windows Phone 8, the monthly downloads had risen by 266 per cent, while the paid app revenue went up by 175 per cent. The Windows Phone Store now had about 1,75,000 apps to choose from.

But Nokia had its eyes set on expanding this base further through crowd sourcing. As Balaji put it, in 2014, the young consumers would want more choice of apps and features that are easy and convenient. “For instance, the consumers in the 16 to 25 age group are no longer satisfied with poor quality video, they want HD videos in recording and viewing. For apps, we are increasingly looking at local developer communities to democratise the space,” he said.

Long before Android arrived and conquered the handset space, Nokia had beckoned consumers to its innovations in mapping, navigation, imaging and music through its N Series smartphones. The ad capsules showcased at the Summit was a nostalgic tribute to the old models and Nokia’s cherished “Connecting People” line. The company clearly wanted a reconnect to that past, as it strove to embellish its new Lumia models with the Nokia Storyteller, Cinemagraph photo organisers and its interactive HERE maps.
(The correspondent was in Goa at the invitation of Nokia)

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