Nokia: Lumia will dispel our stuffy image

Steve Dinneen
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NOKIA yesterday unveiled the “hero” handset it hopes will allow it to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung.

The Lumia 800 is the first device from the Finnish company to use Microsoft’s Window Phone 7 software, following the sweetheart deal penned by the two struggling telecoms players earlier this year.

Chief executive Stephen Elop branded the handset “the first real Windows Phone”, saying it will help dispel Nokia’s stuffy image. He said Nokia had developed a reputation as “reliable, durable, trustworthy... it always combs its hair every day” but lacked the sexier edge of its rivals. But he said the firm, which reported better than expected results this month, is showing “very encouraging signs” of adapting to the new mobile landscape.

He also stressed the importance of emerging markets, saying Nokia will increasingly focus on the “next billion” smartphone users.

It will release a series of new “Asha” handsets – the Hindi word for “hope” – aimed squarely at emerging markets.

The average age of its target customer in countries including China, Mexico and India is just 25, with Elop saying many had never been connected to the internet before. Nokia already has a strong emerging markets presence and is keen to exploit the expected boom in data traffic over the next five years.