x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Nokia's new effort fails to impress

Nokia failed to impress investors with the launch of its new flagship smartphone, the Lumia 925.

Nokia failed to impress investors with the launch of its new flagship smartphone, the Lumia 925. Shares listed on the Helsinki stock exchange were trading 3.13 percentage points lower at €2.85 in afternoon trading yesterday, but were at one point down almost 6 per cent.

It is the first high-end smartphone from the Finnish manufacturer since September last year when it launched the Lumia 920.

The new phone sports an aluminium chassis and is thinner and lighter than its predecessor, but besides improvements to the camera and hardware, the specifications are almost identical to the 920. Both run on Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system.

The phone will be launched in the Middle East in September. A price has yet to be set, but it will be available to the European and US markets in July, with a recommended retail price of €469 (Dh2,236) without taxes and duty.

"Right now this is a new story for us, for Lumia," said Tom Farrell, the vice president of Nokia Middle East.

"We expected to ship a minimum of 7.1 million [Lumia] handsets this quarter. The growth curve is accelerating and we're bringing new mid-range devices."

Since November, the company has launched six low-mid-range smartphones.

"This is a growth industry, the number of people coming on to smartphones, irrespective of income is growing. Everybody wants to be connected, to download apps, to use VoIP [voice over internet protocol]. This is the base that is opening up," said Mr Farrell.

So far this year HTC, Samsung and BlackBerry have all launched high-end smartphones, with a new iPhone expected from Apple next month.

The market has become extremely competitive and Nokia has failed to keep up, especially in the West. According to the research firm Gartner, Nokia lost almost 5 per cent of its share in the smartphone market in the first quarter of the year.

"Their hardware is high quality. Nokia always has reliable and user-friendly phones, but they have bet everything on the Windows operating system," said Petr Molik, the chief financial officer and the head of financial advisory at MenaCorp. "In the smartphone market now, it is not about who has the best hardware. It is about the ecosystem around their platform."

Despite the company's global struggle, data revealed by the UAE's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority show that 50 per cent of handsets registered on networks in the country were manufactured by Nokia, followed by BlackBerry and Samsung both with 10.7 per cent.

Apple has an 8.4 per cent share of the market. The iPhone 4S, however, is the most popular smartphone in the UAE according to the report, followed by the iPhone 4, Samsung SIII, iPhone 5, BlackBerry Bold 9900 and BlackBerry Bold 9780.

 

thamid@thenational.ae