Nokia unveils cheaper Windows smartphone

Tuesday, 28 February 2012 00:55 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

BARCELONA (Reuters): Nokia unveiled a new, cheaper smartphone using Microsoft’s Windows Phone software on Monday, in an attempt to reverse its declining market share.

Nokia last year dumped its own smartphone software in favour of Microsoft’s Windows Phone to step up its fight against rivals such as Apple’s iPhone, but the move has so far had limited impact due to the high prices of phones using it.

Nokia said its new Lumia 610 model would carry a price tag of 189 euros ($250), excluding subsidies and taxes, when it goes on sale next quarter.

“The 610 takes Nokia’s Lumia portfolio to an encouraging new price point in its pursuit of cheaper Android rivals,” said Ben Wood, head of research at CCS Insight.

Investors appeared sceptical that the new model and pricing would do the trick, pulling Nokia shares down 5 per cent to 4.10 euros.

“I had hoped for a slightly lower price range. Maybe the markets were a bit disappointed with the price, which was quite high,” Inderes analyst Mikael Rautanen said, though he noted the shares had spiked on Friday in anticipation of the event.

Nokia also announced a global version of its high-end Lumia 900 phone at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona.

It also unveiled a new top-of-the range cameraphone 808, which comes with a 41 megapixel camera sensor, and three more basic models.

Microsoft’s share of the smartphone market fell to just 2 per cent last quarter, from 3 per cent a year ago and 13 per cent four years earlier, according to Strategy Analytics.

Wall Street and industry analysts say that though the latest Windows phones could be worthy competitors to Apple’s iPhone and top-of-the-range Android handsets, the devices lack unique qualities to make their sales take off.