Nokia World, taking place in London, is the annual event of the mobile phone giant to showcase its new devices and also share plans for the future. Nokia has announced two new smart phones, Nokia Lumia 800 and Nokia Lumia 710. In addition to this, Nokia also announced a new smart phone family for the emerging markets – Nokia Asha. This post is a log of live updates from the morning keynote by Stephen Elop.
Just on stage, Stephen Elop announced a new family of Nokia phones. The new family is called Nokia Asha, derived from Hindi meaning hope. The new phones are Nokia Asha 200, Nokia Asha 201, Nokia 300 and Nokia 303.
Before announcing the phone, Stephen Elop was discussing the studies Nokia had done to realise who the next billion people using their phones are. Eight months earlier Nokia announced, together with their new smart phone strategy, that they plan to take the next billion people online. According to Elop, the company is targeting the young, technology savvy people from the emerging markets. Nokia Asha family is targeted at this crowd.
The Nokia Asha 300 has a keyboard, but also a touch screen. The phone has 5M camera and naturally, a data connection. The Nokia Asha 200 on the other hand has dual SIM capability (the 201 is without dual SIM). The Nokia Asha 200 has also a 32 Gigabyte memory card together with an MP3 player with 52 hour battery support for playback.
It seems like the Nokia Asha devices are targeted at the young generation of technology savvy mobile phone users in emerging markets that want smart phones, but have not been able to purchase them due to the high prices. All the phones seem to have lots of similar features familiar from first world smart phones (be it Wifi, 3G, 1Ghz processors).
In addition to the new phones, Nokia also announced a partnership with Angry Birds regarding the Series 40 platform. One third of the apps downloaded from Ovi Store are for the Series 40 phones. In addition, Nokia announced a service for the Series 40 phones that will compress data for the third world users to cut down on data consumption.
Stephen Elop just announced that the new Windows Phone they’ve worked on is the Nokia Lumia 800. The phone is also based on the Nokia N9 design, very heavily.
Nokia’s Kevin Shields continues after Stephen Elop to demo the Nokia Lumia 800.
Shields is also explaining the user interface with applications that are dynamic on the home screen already. Reflecting back on what I saw at the Microsoft Build conference, the new Metro style apps are really good looking and work fantastically on a tablet. No doubt the user interface will work equally well on a mobile phone.
Shields also announced “People Hub”, a service that aggregates all your friends activities across different networks. In addition, users are able to group their friends into separate groups and thus follow updates more easily.
The Lumia 800 has also face recognition integrated. Once a photo is taken, it highlights all the faces and you’re able to add share the photo to Facebook with the correct faces with just a few clicks. Seems like there are a lot of small improvements, not only feature wise but also usability wise as well.
Nokia has also added turn-by-turn navigation, voice guided, for users free with the purchase of the device. It’s all offline so it doesn’t require loading of maps over the air. This new feature will hit directly against TomToms and other GPS devices people have in their cars.
Shields said that Nokia built the device against three core areas; navigation, music and sports.
Nokia Music and Mix Radio are new services in the areas of music. Mix Radio is basically a new kind of a mix tape service. Users are able to use the service, without signing in, without any passwords, without creating an account.
Regarding sports, Nokia has partnered with ESPN. The new service is ESPN Sports Hub. With the app, you’re able to follow different sports and scores. The ESPN Sports Hub is clearly not as hot as the music and navigation announcements made on stage today. Seems more like a regular application that a user could download from an application store.
Nokia stock at 12:06 EET is up around 2,5% in the Helsinki Stock Exchange.
Nokia is also announcing Nokia Lumia 710. The 710 wasn’t demoed at all, except for the fact that a new Nokia ringtone was supposed to go off on stage (which it didn’t). Nevertheless, it most definitely is a slightly lower end phone compared to the Nokia Lumia 800.
Elop also announced that the new phones will be launched in six countries. The distributors have agreed to heavily promote the new phones. Elop stated that the retailers will spend three times more money on advertising and promotion to push the phones to the market. The countries where the phone will be available, were not yet stated.
That’s it with the keynote. Nokia personnel now on stage talking about the marketing campaign behind the launch of the Nokia Lumia phones.
For more information on the Nokia Lumia phones – head over to their product page at Nokia UK.