Nokia launches `Asha`

Finnish phone maker Nokia has launched two new phones with Windows Operating System in the price range of Rs 19,000-29,000.

London: Amid loss of market share to Apple and Samsung in the smart phone category, Finnish phone maker Nokia has launched two new phones with Windows Operating System in the price range of Rs 19,000-29,000.
In a bid to retain its leadership position in the Indian market, the company also announced a new series -- Asha, a Hindi word for hope, priced between Rs 4,100 and Rs 8,000 approximately.

"Eight months ago here in London, we had outlined a new direction for Nokia that includes transitioning our smart phones platform to Windows and connecting the next billion people to the Internet, focussing on key differentiators to create a unique Nokia experience and change the way we operate," Nokia President and CEO Stephen Elop said at the Nokia World while showcasing the new series.

"Since then we have gone through significant transition and we are playing to win, no holding back, no hesitation... our focus particularly in the emerging markets is to bridge the divide by connecting people to Internet from their mobile devices," he added.

Nokia has for the first time showcased six new phone models at the ongoing Nokia World 2011 conference here, that includes four models of the `Asha` series priced between 60 Euro (about Rs 4,100) and 115 euro (about Rs 8,000), and two new smartphones with Windows operating system platforms branded as `Lumia 800` and `Lumia 710` priced at 420 euro (about Rs 29,000) and 270 euro (about Rs 19,000) respectively.

The company plans to launch the new products across the globe, including India starting this year end.

"India is a very special market for us. As a part of the global launch, we will roll out campaigns unique to India," Nokia Vice-President Marketing Creations Steven Overman said.

Nokia will soon roll out a marketing campaign `The Amazing Everyday` globally to support the new launches. In India it will kick off a host of promotional and marketing events to push the new products.

Commenting on the `Asha` series, Elop said: "The name `Asha` is derived from Hindi and this name is something special meaning hope. Asha signifies Nokia`s focus on connecting million of people to new opportunities that help them reach their aspirations."

While three Asha models will be launched this year, one model will be launched early next year.

According to Nokia Executive Vice-President Mobile Phones Mary McDowell, most of the Asha phones to be sold in India would be locally produced. She, however, did not provide details.

After Nokia announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft earlier this year, the company has also announced the Lumia smartphones to be launched within 2011.

The company has already started manufacturing of Lumia phones in Finland.

"We will launch Lumia 800 in France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and UK in November...we will then introduce it to people in Hong Kong, India, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan before the end of this year, with a number of additional markets in 2012," Elop said.

Lumia 710 will be introduced in Hong Kong, India, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan towards the end of the year and in mainland China in the first half of 2012," he added.

He, however, did not specify the quantum of investment to be made by the company on marketing in the country.

Globally, the company is investing three times more what it otherwise does in case of a new product launch.


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