Technology


Nokia’s bid to bite Apple with two cheaper Lumia models


Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia, at a press meet in Barcelona on the first day of the four-day Mobile World Congress, the world’s biggest mobile fair. Nokia sold 4.4 million Lumias last quarter, a fraction of the 160 million devices shipped by manufacturers using Android and the 48 million iPhones sold by Apple. Photo – AFP

Barcelona: Nokia, the Finnish mobile-phone maker attempting a comeback, unveiled two cheaper Lumia smartphones and two basic handsets, broadening its portfolio to challenge Apple's iPhone and devices using Android.

The Lumia 520 will cost €139 ($184) before wireless-carrier subsidies, Nokia's cheapest handset using the Windows Phone 8 software from Microsoft. The Lumia 720, which includes wireless charging similar to the flagship 920, will cost €249. Both are set to start shipping this quarter, and will be available from carriers including China Mobile, Espoo, Finland-based Nokia said in a statement.

The devices will compete with cheaper Android phones from makers such as Huawei Technologies while trying to lure customers who don't want to spend more on an iPhone. The latest iPhone version starts at $649 and Nokia's high-end Lumia 920 costs about $500 or more when bought without a carrier contract.

The new Lumias position Nokia "very well to compete against mid-range Android devices," Francisco Jeronimo, an analyst at research firm IDC, said in an e-mail. The phones are set to appeal to carriers seeking cheaper devices and alternatives to the dominant operating systems of Google's Android and Apple's iOS, he said.

Nokia, which reported a seventh straight drop in quarterly revenue last month, advanced 1.4 per cent to €2.89 in Helsinki. The stock has lost more than 80 per cent since the iPhone and the Android software were introduced in 2007.

Cheapest yet
Stephen Elop, chief executive, has cut more than 20,000 jobs in a bid to revive Nokia after the former smartphone-market leader fell outside the top five in rankings.

Nokia sold 4.4 million Lumias last quarter, a fraction of the 160 million devices shipped by manufacturers using Android and the 48 million iPhones sold by Apple, according to IDC.
Nokia also unveiled the 105 and the 301 for its basic mobile-phone category. The dust- and splash-proof 105 is Nokia's least-costliest phone ever at €15, and it will be available in Africa, Asia and Europe. The €65 301 comes with video streaming, Web access and e-mail.

The devices are meant to compete against basic handsets from competitors such as Samsung Electronics, which announced its Rex set of feature phones this month.  The $1-trillion global mobile industry yesterday predicted a boom in subscribers to four billion people by 2018 as the world's largest mobile fair opened in Barcelona.

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