Devices News Nokia, Mobile phones, Nokia, smartphones, Technology — May 13, 2013 0:57 — 0 Comments
Nokia unveils Lumia 928 in attempt to break into US market
Launch of Windows Phone 8 handset precedes announcement of group’s smartphone strategy, which is crucial to its survival
Nokia has unveiled a new high-end smartphone, the Lumia 928, which it will sell exclusively through the second-largest US carrier, Verizon, aiming to expand its share in the premium market after years in which it has fallen behind rivals Samsung and Apple.
The announcement comes ahead of a high-profile announcement on Tuesday in London where the company is expected to outline its strategy for its smartphone business, now tied entirely to Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform. Analysts reckon success in the high-margin smartphone market will be crucial for the Finnish company’s long-term survival.
The new Lumia 928, priced at $99 if customers mail in a $50 rebate and sign to a two-year deal with Verizon, is similar to the Lumia 920 model currently sold through AT&T, but is lighter and slightly different in appearance.
It weighs 162g compared with 185g for the 920, which some critics had said was too heavy. The 4.5in screen also extends to the edge of the phone, giving a sharper impression than the curved edges of the 920. The new models also come in black and white, compared with the colourful options including blue, red and yellow, of the earlier Lumia range.
Most other features, such as a 8.7MP camera and 1.5GHz dual core processor by Qualcomm, are the same as the 920.
The 920 had only limited success for Nokia in the US; in the past four quarters the company has sold a total of just 2m phones in North America, and just 400,000 in the first quarter, according to its financial figures. But demonstrating the promise of the region, North America has had the highest average selling prices for phones for seven of the last eight quarters – despite also being the Finnish company’s smallest region by volume and revenue. The US is the richest phone market in the world, though Samsung and Apple have increasingly cornered its smartphone segment: according to ComScore, 82m of the 137m smartphone users there use on or the other, while Windows Phone has around 3m users.
The 928 is the latest in Nokia’s Lumia range of smartphones which use Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 software.
Nokia switched to Windows Phone in 2011, aiming to compete with Apple’s iPhones and rivals using Google’s Android system. Though worldwide sales of Lumia phones have grown in recent quarters, at 5.6m in first quarter they still account for only around 5% of the overall smartphone market, which now makes up more than half of all mobile phone sales.
Earlier this week chief executive Stephen Elop launched a series of new products running Nokia’s “Asha” software, which gives it some smartphone-like capability, priced in the lower and mid-tier range to protect its position in emerging markets such as India and China. However Nokia itself doesn’t class Asha phones as smartphones, and the new models don’t have 3G data capability.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010