IDC Comment: New Nokia devices - Lumia gets bigger, Asha gets smarter
22 Oct 2013
London, 22 Oct 2013 - At the first Nokia World since Microsoft made public its intention to acquire Nokia, the company announced six new devices.
- Lumia 2520, a Windows RT-based tablet
- Lumia 1520 and 1320, two 6” screen Windows 8 smartphones on the “phablet” form factor
- Asha 500, 502 and 503, three new touchscreen devices using the Asha software platform
The pace at which Nokia has developed and launched new devices since adopting the Windows Phone platform continues to impress. Nokia’s strategy regarding its Lumia range of Windows-based devices is becoming increasingly clear: it’s all about the range. Firstly, build a wide range of devices. Secondly, introduce technological innovations at the high end, then disseminate those innovations down through the range.
So far, though, Nokia’s Lumia range has not encompassed two of the fastest-growing form factors in today’s device market: phablets and tablets. With today’s announcements those gaps have been filled – in the case of phablets with two very distinct devices. The Lumia 1520 is an attractive-looking phablet with high-end specifications. However, it will be competing head-on with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3, and we see no obvious stand-out feature that looks likely to persuade large numbers of people who are in the market for a Note 3 to change their minds and choose a Lumia 1520 instead. Nokia's lower-priced phablet, Lumia 1320, is a more intriguing proposition. An LTE device with a screen big enough and sharp enough to watch a whole movie in comfort, for $339 (ex taxes & subsidies), could make a lot of phablet buyers look twice. The timing of this device is especially good for the European market: many operators are ramping up their LTE coverage, and will be interested in an LTE-compatible device capable of supporting a good video-streaming experience at a mid-range price point.
Nokia’s first tablet based on Windows RT, the Lumia 2520, is certainly a distinctive entrant into the tablet market in terms of its looks, its software platform and its built-in LTE connectivity. But it’s a little on the heavy side, especially with the addition of its cover accessory – although since the extra weight of that is largely due to the additional battery, there is at least a clear trade-off between comfort and utility. In this guise, at $650 including the cover, the Lumia 2520 could be well positioned as a PC replacement, so long as the Microsoft Office applications perform well enough on top of the Windows RT platform.
Although a clear breakthrough remains elusive, sales volumes of Lumia devices are building up steadily and these new devices will further contribute to the momentum – especially if they are positioned effectively for business users looking to replace Blackberry devices.
In the long term, though, the volume opportunity is in markets that are entering the high-growth phase of smartphone penetration. Nokia addresses this opportunity with its Asha device range, in which Nokia continues its strategy of making featurephones look, feel and behave like smartphones, but at lower price points. The three new touchscreen Asha models, 500, 502 and 503, join the 501 (the device in which Nokia introduced its re-engineered software platform) to form a range of four devices offering the same user experience at different specs and price points. A new hardware design, using colour encased in a transparent block, gives the new devices something of a premium feel for their price band. All support wifi, and all support the key social/communications apps that are popular in the markets at which they are primarily targeted. These already included Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Viber, Line and WeChat – and Nokia has announced that WhatsApp is now available, too. The Asha range offers an increasingly attractive alternative to low-priced Android devices in emerging smartphone markets, especially because of their features for minimizing data volume usage and thus users’ operating costs.
There could also be substantial potential in these markets for low-priced Lumia devices. The existing Lumia 520 goes some way towards addressing this opportunity; but Nokia’s next phase in its strategy of building the range should include refreshing the Lumias at the lower end of the price scale. With today’s Lumia announcements, Nokia has addressed the trend towards “big” at the high end. Next, it needs to anticipate a new wave of demand for “small” – but sophisticated and powerful.
ContactFor more information, contact:
+44 20 8987 7100