But Nokia has at least made inroads into the smartphone segment, and the company's most recent models suggest it will continue to slowly claw its way back into the higher price bracket.
At Dh1,200, the Lumia 720 comes at a significant discount to the latest iPhones and Samsung Galaxys. It does, however, offer no little bang for buck.
Nokia's Lumia range has a reputation for solid build quality, and the 720 lives up to expectations. Its polycarbonate design is tough and sturdy, and the finish is good.
But the body cannot be opened for battery access, and the ill-conceived slots for the sim and memory cards in the sides of the phone are drawbacks.
Much of the phone's image rests on its colourful casing, and the handset comes in red, yellow and white. While this creates a youthful feel, the Lumia 720 cannot compete with the slickness of an iPhone or even a Galaxy S4.
Instead its garishness indicates its price range. The 4.3-inch scratch-resistant touchscreen is generous.
At just 9mm thickness, it makes for an easy fit in pockets and handbags, and its 128 grams will not make itself a conspicuous presence in either.
Experts lament that the 800x400 megapixels resolution is no match for many of the 720's competitors. But the screen is sharp, clear and bright, and it displays movies, websites and pictures effectively.
The handset is equipped with Windows Phone8 software, which takes a bit of getting used to after Android or iOS, but it is straightforward and user-friendly. Windows Marketplace lacks the choice of Apple's App store or Google Play, but many favourites like Facebook, Twitter and Netflix are available.
The 6.7-megapixel phone is a step up from earlier models, and comes with a Carl Zeiss Tessar lens.
The dual-core 1GHz processor backed by 512MB Ram is no more than mid-range these days, but Window's streamlined architecture prevents any slowdowns in everyday use.