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'Nokia Is Back!'

Michelle Donegan
LR Mobile News Analysis
Michelle Donegan

LONDON -- Nokia World -- Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) struck a defiant tone at its annual industry event in London today, as the Finnish phone maker unveiled three new smartphones and executive VP of markets Niklas Savander boldly claimed "Nokia is back!" (See Nokia Unveils New Smartphones.)

Savander, who stood in for outgoing CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo in the opening keynote address, stressed that today was all about "here and now." (Ed note: All existentialists are encouraged to respond on the message boards below.] (See Nokia Dumps CEO, Hires Elop.)

But with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s Stephen Elop waiting in the wings to take over as Nokia's new CEO later this month, and veteran Nokia executive Anssi Vanjoki having just resigned his position as head of the smartphones business, it's difficult not to think about what Nokia will do beyond "here and now." (See Nokia's 'Fightback' Man Quits .)

So, instead of outlining Nokia's strategic direction, Savander admitted the challenges that Nokia faces, pledged that Nokia would regain its leadership in the now highly competitive smartphone market, and threw down a gauntlet to sell 50 million smartphones in the next year.

"Yes, Nokia is going through a tough, challenging transition and we have a lot of work to do," he said. "And we're not going to apologize for not being Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) or Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) or Samsung Corp. -- we're Nokia."

"We haven't been as competitive in smartphones as we would like, and that's about to change," he said. "Today, we shift into high gear in Nokia's fightback in smartphone leadership."

Savander highlighted Nokia's current leading market position in smartphones. He said that, on average, 260,000 Nokia smartphones are bought every day, adding that the Symbian operating system has a 40 percent share of the smartphone market.

"Despite all these new competitors, Symbian is holding its own," he said.

But Nokia's smartphone position is under siege from Google's Android, Apple's iOS, and BlackBerry 's BlackBerry OS.

Gartner Inc. estimates that by 2014, Symbian's market share will shrink to 30 percent and Android's will grow to 29 percent from its current market share of 17.7 percent.

Here and now
In addition to the N8 -- Nokia's flagship smartphone based on Symbian 3 that is now available for pre-ordering in certain markets -- the phone maker introduced three additional Symbian 3 smartphones that are planned to ship by the end of this year.

  • E7 -- a smartphone for business users with Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and a four-inch touchscreen display. Retail price is €495 (US$636).

  • C7 -- a social network smartphone that gets live updates from Facebook and Twitter and email alerts on the homescreen and has a 3.5-inch display. Estimated retail price is €335 ($430).

  • C6 -- a petite smartphone with a 3.2-inch display, full touch capabilities, and better outdoor visibility with Nokia's ClearBlack display technology. Estimated retail price is €260 ($334).

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 4:23:48 PM
re: 'Nokia Is Back!'

"Aggressive and defensive" -- it sounds like Rex Ryan is running Nokia. Rex also is in a weird position: defending a No. 1 status that he has yet to achieve.

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