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Nokia unveils cheaper Windows smartphone

(Reuters) / 27 February 2012

BARCELONA - Nokia has unveiled a new, cheaper smartphone using Microsoft’s Windows Phone software, targeting a wider market for its new range of smartphones.

Nokia last year dumped its own smartphone software in favour of Microsoft’s Windows Phone, but the move has so far had limited impact due to the high prices of phones using it.

Nokia said its new Lumia 610 model would be priced at 189 euros ($250), excluding subsidies and taxes, when it goes on sale next quarter.

‘The 610 takes Nokia’s Lumia portfolio to an encouraging new price point in its pursuit of cheaper Android rivals,’ said Ben Wood, head of research at CCS Insight.

Nokia also unveiled at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona a global version of its high-end Lumia 900 phone.

In addition to the two Windows Phone models, Nokia also unveiled a new top-of-the range cameraphone 808, which comes with a 41 megapixel camera sensor, and three more basic models.

Microsoft’s share of the smartphone market fell to a mere 2 percent last quarter, compared with 3 percent a year ago and 13 percent four years earlier, according to Strategy Analytics.

Wall Street and industry analysts say that though the latest Windows phones could be worthy competitors with Apple’s iPhone and top-of-the-range Android handsets, the devices lack unique qualities to make their sales take off.

Realistically, analysts expect Microsoft to play the role of a third ‘ecosystem’ behind the market leaders.

Shares in Nokia were down 5 percent by 0825 GMT, losing the gains from Friday when the stock jumped on rising expectations for the phone launch.

 
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