Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

Nokia’s Strategy Comes Into Focus in Barcelona

Nokia, which one year ago announced its plans to move to Windows Phones, is now looking to put more devices behind the strategy.

The company released its first Windows Phones — the mid-range Lumia 710 and upper mid-range Lumia 800 — last fall. At January’s Consumer Electronics Show it added the Lumia 900, a device bound for AT&T with a wider screen and support for high-speed LTE networks.

But the company has said it plans an even broader lineup, joining Microsoft in taking Windows Phone to new prices and new markets.

Nokia isn’t just doing Windows Phones, though, especially since the Microsoft-based devices still make up just a fraction of the overall units the company ships. Nokia sells millions and millions of its lower-end Series 40 devices, now sold under the Asha brand.
It also hasn’t given up on Symbian, the homegrown smartphone operating system it is moving away from.

8:37 am: Nokia CEO Steven Elop takes the stage, recapping what has happened in the last year.

“One year, what an incredible amount of things can happen in one year,” Elop said. “One year later it is very clear we have changed the clock speed of Nokia.”

8:41 am: Nokia is starting its introductions at the low end with its Asha feature phones. On stage is the head of that business, Mary McDowell, who promises three new devices.

Though not the sexiest part of Nokia, perhaps, it’s a huge business. Nokia has sold 1.5 billion Series 40 devices.

The new devices build on last year’s Asha phones and are a mix of touchscreen and non-touch devices as well as keyboard and non-keyboard.

8:47 am: The Asha 202 and 203 will come with 75 Euros worth of EA games (more than the cost of the phones).

The games won’t come preloaded, but can be downloaded any time in the first six months, with the goal being to get people in the habit of going to Nokia’s store and consuming data.

The keyboard-equipped Asha 302 has a 1GHz processor and can connect to Microsoft Exchange servers.

McDowell noted that until now she hadn’t been able to use one of her team’s own devices as a primary phone because it couldn’t sync with work email, contacts and calendars.

8:53 am: Elop is back talking Lumia, announcing that the Lumia 900 will be expanded beyond the U.S. In April, it will be available in Canada (Elop’s native country) on Rogers running on LTE.

And it will be sold globally in a non-LTE flavor, as well.

8:55 am: On the software side, Nokia is adding book-reading software as well as an updated release of Nokia’s Drive software, which adds offline features and an ability to set speed limits.

8:58 am: Microsoft Windows Phone unit head Terry Myerson is onstage announcing beta of Skype for Windows Phone now available for download.

There are now 65,000 apps for Windows Phone, Myerson added.

9:00 am: Myerson also announced Windows Phone has been made compatible with operator requirements in China, and Harlow says the company is bringing a range of Lumia phones to China in both CDMA and wideband-CDMA technologies.

Myerson also announced Windows Phone now works with phones with less memory and a less expensive Qualcomm chip.

Microsoft’s moves will allow it to reach 60 percent more people but maintain a great experience, Myerson said.

“With other platforms, lower prices have meant lower quality,” Myerson said.

9:02 am: Harlow announces the Lumia 610, a lower-end phone.

She also presented him with a custom Lumia 610 emblazoned with the Duke logo (Harlow and Myerson are both Blue Devil alums.)

“Go Duke,” Myerson said.

The 610 has a lower-end screen than the 800 but features sleek design and metallic edges aimed at a more youthful audience.

9:05 am: Nokia is also adding public transit info for 500 cities in 46 countries.

9:06 am: As for timing and pricing: The Lumia 610 is expected to arrive in Q2 and sell for 189 euros (unsubsidized) and come in white, cyan, magenta and black. The 900 will sell for 480 Euros unsubsidized and is also due next quarter.

9:07 am: Now she introduces Nokia 808 PureView, a Symbian phone with a remarkable new camera.

“You haven’t seen nothing yet,” Harlow said, announcing its 41-megapixel resolution.

Although Nokia is starting with a Symbian phone, Nokia plans to introduce the technology behind the PureView into several other products.

“This is only the beginning,” she said.

9:12 am: The 808 PureView also features a new “rich recording” capability designed to avoid the tinny distorted sound that often exists in cellphone videos, particularly in noisy settings.

“With this device we are setting new standards by whatever standard you use,” Harlow said.

The phone is due to go on sale in May for about 450 Euros unsubsidized.

“I’m looking forward to bringing you even more in the next year,” Harlow said.

9:16 am: Elop promises the company is investing in new technologies like augmented reality, commute-planning tools and indoor mapping.

Nokia is partnering with Groupon to bring details to consumers with its mapping service.

“It has been a very challenging year for Nokia and yet it has also been an amazing year for Nokia,” Elop said, but insists the company will continue to ramp up its clock speed.

With that, Elop wraps up.

9:23 am: There’s going to be a brief Q and A.

9:23 am: A natural first question: Why is Nokia bringing the PureView to Symbian rather than Windows Phone?

“It was important to us to be able to mature and commercialize the technology,” Harlow said. For more on how the PureView came to be, AllThingsD has an exclusive behind-the-scenes story that just went live. Harlow reiterates the technology will come to other devices, but offers no further details.

RELATED POSTS:


Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald