Nokia's phone lineup gets momentum
Nokia yesterday bolstered its smartphone lineup to compete better with Apple and made its foray into the highly-competitive notebook market.
At 'Nokia World 2009' in Stuttgart, Germany, the Finnish firm unveiled two music-centric phones, the X6 and the X3, as well as a slimmer version of the N97.
Nokia also announced a long-awaited deal with social networking website Facebook that will link Nokia Maps to Facebook, and allow people to update their location and status directly through a Nokia Ovi account.
Top Nokia officials, including President and CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo and New Markets Executive Vice President Anssi Vanjoki, made the announcement at the inaugural session of the event.
The N97 Mini, priced at 450 euros ($640), offers updated home screen widgets, 8GB storage, a 3.2-inch touch screen and full QWERTY keyboard. It is also the first Nokia device to sport the Facebook-Nokia service.
The 3.2-inch touch screen X6, aimed at music lovers and retailing for 459 euros ($650) when it will be shipped in the fourth quarter of 2009, provides 35 hours of music playback and is optimised for photos and videos. The X3, which will share some of X6's design cues, will also be available at the same time and retail for 115 euros ($163).
Top officials of Nokia said the company would launch its N97 mini handset in October at an estimated price before taxes and subsidies of 450 euros. It will come with features such as a QWERTY keyboard and a fully customisable home screen.
The company launched services like the Ovi application download store and said it will establish a new solutions unit that will integrate its offerings of consumer services and mobile phones.
Maps and navigation will be at the heart of the company's connection solutions and its Ovi store is building a momentum.
Last month, it also announced an alliance with Microsoft under which it will develop a mobile version of the Microsoft Office software suit for its handsets and unveiled the Nokia Booklet 3G, a fully functional personal computer with high-speed mobile internet access capability.
Nokia's broad focus on both high-end smartphones and cheaper handsets has to some extent helped it retain decent sales and earnings during global recession. But down trading among some consumers has hit the average selling price of its phones, which in the second quarter fell 16 percent year-on-year to 62 euros.
Vanjoki said Nokia has recently been pushing into the PC business and strengthening its focus on the service segment to bolster earnings in the face of falling revenues from mobile phones.
The Booklet 3G mini-laptop and N900 phone are natural steps for Nokia as the company strives to create the world's largest mobile service delivery platform, the company CEO said.
Nokia shares were slightly down in the wake of the announcements at the "Nokia World" event in Stuttgart, having fallen 0.9 percent at 9.34 euros at 1406 GMT but outpacing a 1.2 percent weaker Dow Jones Stoxx Technology index.
Nokia also announced the winners of its 'Forum Nokia 2009 Calling All Innovators' contest on Tuesday.
The competition is designed to generate applications and solutions that enhance the use of Nokia mobile devices in real-world scenarios.
Category winners were recognised at the Calling All Innovators Awards Reception held in Stuttgart on the eve of Nokia World. The total cash and prizes for contest exceeded $250,000.