RealTime IT News

Nokia Dials in Fresh Market Outlook

Looking to bounce back after losing market share last quarter, Nokia introduced new handsets at its annual Nokia Connection conference in Helsinki this week.

In addition, the world's largest handset maker laid out its business-focused software plans and updated product releases at the conference.

On the handset side, Jorma Ollila, Nokia's chairman and CEO, unveiled the newest 3G phone. Designed to work on a variety of networks in Europe, Asia and the Americas, the Nokia 6630 offers fast, secure access to corporate intranets and e-mail.

The company also launched the Nokia 6260 for traveling professionals. It offers advanced mobile technology features and applications, including push-to-talk, e-mail, Bluetooth connectivity and a camera in a fold-up design.

Other new phones in the lineup include: the Nokia 6170, a mid-range, clamshell-style camera phone; and the 2600 and 2650, affordable phones for small business owners that have color screens and spreadsheet applications. Along with the phones, Nokia debuted a mobile keyboard to make entering data easier.

For software enhancements, Nokia announced the second edition of its Series 60 platform, with improvements for business and beefed-up performance.

Series 60, which runs atop the Symbian operating system, the most commonly found smartphone OS, is used to create smartphones with large color screens, a user interface for single-handed navigation and a suite of mobile friendly applications. Within the Symbian market segment, smartphones that use Nokia's Series 60 platform are by far the most widely deployed.

The updated OS includes support for push e-mail, improved data synchronization and corporate intranet browsing with HTML and JavaScript support. Secure connectivity will be enabled via IPsec and VPN.

Last week, the research firm Gartner reported good news and bad news for Nokia. Mobile phone sales grew by 34 percent worldwide in the first quarter of this year over the same period a year ago, with sales of 153 million units. While all of the top five vendors experienced an increase in sales, Nokia's sales increased by nearly 5 million.

However, its market share declined sharply, falling from more than 34.6 percent during first quarter 2003 to just fewer than 29 percent in first quarter 2004. Gartner expects the market for mobile phones to hit 600 million for all of 2004.

According to Gartner, Nokia's decline resulted from decreased sales in Western Europe and North America. Ben Wood, principal analyst for mobile terminals research at Gartner, said, "Nokia's dramatic drop in market share resulted from a weak product portfolio and the decision by operators in Western Europe to source more phones from Nokia's competitors."

Material from SmartPhoneToday was used in this report.