Can Asha save Nokia from the “good enough” Android onslaught?
Over the last couple of months, Nokia has launched a series of new devices in the smart Lumia range, with the cheaper Lumia 620 and Lumia 520 models garnering lots of attention and debuting with good initial sales in Asia.
Things move quickly in the mobile space, though, and what early on may have provided reason for optimism for Nokia, may already have turned sour, with both new Lumia models faring less well against the continued pressure from low cost Android rivals.
Although priced at approximately USD 250 and USD180 without subsidies, respectively, or half the cost of e.g. high-end Samsung smartphones, the Lumia’s are faced with relentless price pressure from low-end Android vendors such as Micromax and Karbonn offering Andriod devices with 4-inch screens and 1GHz dual-core processors for around USD120.
Nokia has long referred to its Series 40 operating system as a smartphone platform in an attempt to position it competitively against especially the lower-end Android devices. Counterpoint Research defines the difference between smartphones and feature phones as being the availability of advanced application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable the development and running of third-party applications. The APIs typically allow applications to better integrate with the device’s OS and hardware than is usually the case with feature phones,
These markets are core for Nokia to returning to overall profitability, both in respects to capturing the growth in the lower tiers of emerging markets and in capturing the transition to smartphones. Both the low-end Lumia devices and the higher-end Asha devices such as the 501 are core for Nokia to achieve this, and especially the Asha devices need to ship in high volumes.
With the new devices yet to hit the market, it is too early to say whether the added social networking features and web apps of the Asha 210 or the updated Asha Platform on the full-touch Asha 501 will provide a compelling enough quality and experience be enough to weather the competition from the “good enough” Android devices…