The world’s biggest mobile manufacturer lacks firepower at the high end of the mobile phone market, with no rival to Apple’s industry-changing iPhone.
Apple’s tub-thumping results on Tuesday will have added insult to injury for Nokia, as iPhone sales pushed the Californian firm to dizzying new heights.
Nokia’s earnings rose from the dismal performance reported a year earlier. Underlying first-quarter earnings per share rose 40 per cent to €0.14 (12p), marking the first annual rise since the second quarter of 2008 but missing analyst forecasts of €0.15.
Earnings were boosted by massive cost cuts as Nokia slashed thousands of jobs, aiming to reduce costs at its key handset unit alone by more than €700m to counter recession-hit demand.
Sales for the first quarter of this year at Nokia, which makes one in three phones sold globally, were €9.5bn, up three per cent from a year ago, also rising for the first time since the second quarter of 2008.
Nokia continued to perform well in the lower segment of the smartphone market, with industry experts estimating it controls around 70 per cent of that sector.
The smartphone market continued to expand through the economic downturn, helped by falling prices, and it looks set to meet predictions of becoming the industry standard within five years.
Nokia’s chances of competing at the top level of this market were hit by its announcement that it has delayed the launch of devices based on the newest version of its Symbian software.
The new engine will power a major Nokia product planned for later this year. It is speculated to be a high-end smartphone with a 12 megapixel camera.