NEW YORK: Nokia plans to introduce elements of its most expensive Lumia phones in its lower priced smartphones in the Asha range and bring down prices of the Windows phones, said the chief executive of the Finnish phone maker.
The company on Friday launched its newest Lumia phone 1020 for the US market. But the company is still some time away from bringing the phone to India, where it possibly sees more potential for cheaper phones than this one. The US launch price of the 1020, which has been positioned more as an incredible camera coupled with the existing smartphone, roughly translates to Rs 42,000. Apple’s iPhone 5 is available at Rs 45,000.
“You will see it (1020) coming to India with a big launch event, but we are not ready to say when yet,” Elop told ET, shortly after the phone was launched in New York. “Launching everywhere simultaneously with a product like this has a huge cost. We understand we are the challenger in the market.”
“(In India) Sweet spot 3G devices tend to be at lower price points. What we do is take elements of this technology and make it available at a lower price points,” he said referring to some of the software developed for the new Lumia phone.
Nokia, that once had leadership in mobile handset sales trails far behind Apple and Samsung in the high margin smartphone segment, and has been unsuccessfully trying to claw its way back. In the previous quarter its smartphone sales did pick up on account of more launches.
“Every six months there has to be the next competitive device we have to move it forward. But the themes will remain the same,” said Elop. “I guarantee you there will be something more that goes beyond this in the next generation.”
The Nokia Lumia 920 is available in India at about Rs 32,000 while the Asha phones range between Rs 3,000 and Rs 6,000. A key differentiator between the two phones is the operating system, Asha uses Symbian that formed the basis of the early Nokia phones in the 2000s, while the Lumia uses Microsoft developed Windows 8.
Until the end of the current quarter, to September, however the 1020 will only be available in the US, China and select European markets, Elop said.
“We realise this phone is not for everyone but with it we have the complete spectrum,” said Chris Weber, executive Vice President sales and marketing, Nokia. Although it has other features, its 41 mega pixel, seven lens camera will be the defining sales pitch of the 1020 which even comes with a grip to make its feel more like a camera and a small tripod. Weber said that it initial pack which kicks off in the US on July 26 will include a coupon to develop a poster size photograph.
Elop said, “Asha is critically important to us. In India we built that essentially with heritage of our lower end products and built on that. That type of investment is very important. Asha will continue to innovate at the same time we will push down the Windows phone experience at a lower and lower and lower price point.”
One of the most significant aspects of smartphones today are the applications they offer. The Apple and Google application stores have far outstripped others leaving the likes of Nokia that use incompatible operating systems behind. The recurring themes for Nokia phones will remain “durability, reliability, imaging, navigation,” he said.(economictimes)
(The reporter was in New York at the invitation of Nokia)