Published: Friday, May 31, 2013

Nokia looking to turn things around

Nokia looking to turn things aroundNokia has had a busy month so far, first announcing the Asha 501 and then the Lumia 925 and 928 – all ‘versions’ of the successful 920. Now before delving into the specifications of any of the newly announced products, it must be mentioned that Nokia is a very proud OEM. Nokia has always looked to capture the market with its innovations with what it felt was good and sadly less of what people also agreed with (something that Apple has managed to do successfully). As a result, a lot of Nokia’s innovations have gone unnoticed or more precisely under appreciated.
Nokia is still very true to that principle even to this very day – trying to differentiate itself from a market becoming increasingly crowded with Android smartphones – with Windows Phone and the ground breaking PureView technology in their cameras. However, unlike before, there is a more concerted effort, with buzzwords like ‘ecosystem’ and ‘streamlined’ being used, to appease the consumers’ demands.
With the Asha 501, the difference between feautrephone and a smartphone become even more blurred having the ability to conduct basic multitasking and install apps from the Nokia store.  With a UI that is fluid and simple the new Asha UI is very reminiscent to that of the MeeGo running N9, and is the product of Nokia’s acquisition of SmarterPhone.
Nokia promises excellent battery life with up to 48 days standby and a very durable, vibrantly coloured, exchangeable two part body and apps like WhatsApp preinstalled, a young demographic has been targeted. With a price of 99 USD (without taxes and subsidies) the Asha 501 should become a hit in developing countries and should help Nokia tackle the recent uprising of cheap Chinese touchscreen phones.
The new Lumia’s – 925 and 928 – are thinner and lighter than its predecessor, the Lumia 920, which was one of the biggest gripes with the phone when it was reviewed. Also the screen type has changed to AMOLED and Nokia claims it is the brightest AMOLED screen on a mobile phone to date with 600 nits of brightness, so an even better screen than that of the Lumia 920 is expected. The Lumia 925 happens to be the first phone to feature a 6 element lens so that should produce even better quality photos on an already impressive PureView Phase 2 camera.
Overall, through the announcement of these phones, it is clear that Nokia is finding its way back to the smartphone and featurephone market, although it has yet to release a true flagship that can compete with the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy S4 and the Sony Xperia Z. But that is mainly due to the hardware limitations of Windows Phone and that should soon change with the latest edition of the OS being released this fall and thus enabling phones to support full HD screens and quad-core processors (as Androids do).
Nokia could have caved into the recent trend of creating a water and dust resistant phone like Sony has done with its flagships. That would have gained the Lumia phones additional attention and perhaps better sales, as has been the case with the Xperia Z. But as noted before, that is unlike the Finnish manufacturer.
Nokia is still in transition and 2013 should see Nokia gaining momentum in the sales department and more importantly, once again start making profits. After a dark couple of years, with Nokia failing to make the shift from Symbian to Windows Phone a smooth one, repeated quarterly losses, losing the number 1 phone manufacturer spot to Samsung, Nokia are once again looking competitive.