Nokia launches at Rs 26,000-plus

Nokia launches  at Rs 26,000-plus Mumbai: Mobile handset leader Nokia, which has been steadily losing out to rivals in general of all hues of late, Tuesday launched the much-anticipated smartphone Nokia N8 with Ovi services, in its attempt to claw back market share and remain relevant to fast-changing consumers. The N8, priced at Rs 26,259 apiece, comes with the Ovi services that enable a user to create content, connect to his/her favourite social networks and enjoy on-demand online television programmes. "The consumer is in the centre of all that we do at Nokia and we are constantly innovating to enhance user experience and address user feedback," said Nokia India vice president and managing director D Shivakumar said at the launch here. While the company Tuesday refused to speak about market share or sales numbers, saying it is in silent mode, according to the latest IDC report, Nokia's market share plunged to a poor 36.3 percent by end-June here from 54 percent at the end of 2009 and over 70 percent in 2008. The IDC report shows that domestic companies like Micromax, Spice, Karbon and Lava which import handsets from China, shot up to 33 percent during the past six months. In 2008, the domestic players had a paltry 0.9 percent market share. Nokia, till two years ago was the undisputed leader in the Rs 50,000-crore domestic mobile handset market with over 70 percent market share, but of late, has been fighting fierce competition from many a corner. While the feature-rich and cheaper phones with dual-and even three-SIM facility from players like Micromax, Spice, Karbon and Lava, have been cutting into Nokia's kitty in the mass market, the high-end players like Samsung, HTC and LG have been giving it a tough time in other segments in the domestic market. Globally, the Finnish company, which transformed itself from a conglomerate that produced rubber boots to toilet paper to become the leader of the mobile handset market in 1998, has been steadily losing the smartphone battle to Apple's iPhone and BlackBerry from the Canadian RIM. The IDC data showed that nearly 39 percent of handsets sold in the country during January-June this year were dual-SIM phones, a segment for which Nokia did not have a single model until recently. Nokia introduced its first dual-SIM handset, C2, only in August. Shivakumar, quoting Canalys data, said Nokia enjoys market share of 41 percent in the global smartphone market, and 71 percent in the domestic market. The domestic market sold 21.27 lakh smartphones last year, and is expected to more than double to 47.22 lakh units this year. Out of this, Symbian 3, which is the latest edition of the world's most-used smartphone software, smartphones accounted for 72 percent last year, said Shivakumar. Globally, within the 300-million global smartphone market, Nokia sells 2.6 lakh units a day, he said, adding its Ovi users number 90 million. The N8, equipped with a 16 GB memory card which is expandable to 48 GB, and a 12-megapixel camera, will enable customers to make and edit high definition videos, and is the first of a series of devices powered by Symbian3. "With the N8 we are delivering a great user experience and also starting the journey of a great developer experience. People who buy the N8, besides getting a portable entertainment centre, will get more than 250 new experiences and features to visual multitasking," Shivakumar explained.
 
Dubbed the world's best camera phone, the N8 lets one take the highest quality photos in 12 megapixels with Carl Zeiss lenses and shoot HD-quality videos in high clarity with Dolby digital plus surround sound, besides editing photos and videos on-screen. It can in short act as home theatre too. The N8 will be available across the country from Wednesday, starting with Nokia Priority Stores. Nokia is also offering interest-free financing to consumers. PTI