Despite insisting it was going ahead, to sell its mobile device unit to Microsoft, the swag with which Stephen Elop, Nokia’s Executive Vice president, devices and services, Tuesday, mounted the stage at St Regis Hotel Abu Dhabi, venue of this year’s Nokia world event, to introduce six new devices, almost betrayed an impression that the device maker may change its mind.
More to that feeling was his opening introduction: “This is exciting times for Nokia, which has been innovating and will never seize to innovate. The quality and value that Nokia products deliver continues to grow as we partner with developers to introduce app experiences that are unique to Lumia and Windows Phones. And clearly, with Lumia and Asha smartphones enjoying quarter-on-quarter volume growth in Q3 2013, that quality and value is resonating with consumers around the world.”
However, his colleague, Chris Weber, Executive VP Global sales and marketing, was to quickly discountenance that feeling when he exclusively told GlamTech that ” we are still going ahead. As a matter of fact, we are very excited about the deal.”
New Asha ranges
Elop, who introduced the devices in a fashionable way, began with the lowest range, the Asha 500,502 and 503 ranges which are additions to the Asha family it introduced first in……
The selling point of the Asha devices, according to him is their social initiatives, including the ability to take a photo with a single swipe, after which you can share it instantly to your social network of choice with a single tap. Elop said that the new devices in terms of the easy camera operation can be summed up as “one touch to capture, one touch to share”.
Again, users of the new Asha devices, will have the opportunity to connect with the over 350 million active Whatsapp users around the globe. And if the App developers are correct in their claims of registering 250,000 users everyday through Nokia handsets, then Asha users would have a field day.
Nokia also advanced the Fastlane feature of Asha, in the new models, making it customizable to users. The feature, a list-like view of recent activity, can now give the user history of past, present and past activities.
The 500 has a 2.8-inch screen and a 2-megapixel camera, while both the 502 and the 503 have 3-inch screens and 5-megapixel cameras with LED flash. The 503 is a little bit more classy, spotting Gorilla Glass 2 and 3G connectivity. Although all three have WLAN, quad-band EDGE and boasts of one month of battery standby time. They’re also all available with dual SIM capabilities. But the 500 and the 503 also come in a single SIM variant.
The 500, 502 and 503 would cost potential users $69, $89 and $99 respectively. Elop said these devices would be available for people in Africa, Middle East, Asia Pacific,Europe and Latin America.
Lumia 1520, 1320 smartphone
Nokia also added to its fleet of Lumia smartphones, bringing in the 1520 and 1320 models. The phones feature windows phone 8 operating system, with updates and GSM/ EDGE/ WCDMA variations in MHz. They also spot LTE speed capacity of up to 150/50 megabytes per second.
The Lumia 1520 for instance displays 6-inch full HD 1080p LCD , ClearBlack, High Brightness Mode, Sunlight readability, Super sensitive touch for glove and nail usage, Gorilla Glass 2. Built with a 2.2GHz Quad Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, the device has PureView 20-megapixel auto focus ZEISS optics with optical I mage stabilization (OIS), 2x lossless zoom, oversampling technology, dual LED flash, 1080p @ 30 fps full HD video with optical image stabilization, as primary camera while Secondary Camera is HD 1.2-megapixel wide angle.
The battery power is integrated with built-in wireless charging. It also has rich Recording with four microphones; Wideband Voice and multi-microphone noise reduction with four microphones; Dolby Headphone, Graphic equalizer, Audio leveling and FM radio.
The six inch smartphones Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1320 will be available for $749 before taxes and subsidies and $339 respectively. The former is expected to start shipping this quarter in Hong Kong, Singapore, U.S., China, U.K., France, Germany, Finland and other European markets, with other markets to follow while the latter will be available in Q1 2014 in China and Vietnam, followed by other Asian markets, India and Europe.
Now enter the latest tablet makers
The device comes in a range of matte and glossy colors, and offers about what you might expect from a tablet in the Lumia range. The most prominent feature here is easily the cameras.
Nokia’s tablet runs on a 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 800 CPU and features built-in LTE connectivity, 2 GB RAM and 32 GB expandable storage. The display clocks in at a full 1920 x 1080 with 650 nit brightness and “almost” 180-degree viewing angles.
The new tab however, features some fairly capable optics, with a 6.7-megapixel shooter on the back, an F1.9 aperture and Zeiss optics. There’s also a 2-megapixel offering on the tablet’s front face.
The device comes with an optional wrap-around cover that features a keyboard and trackpad like Microsoft’s Surface. But Nokia calls its own, Power Keyboard. The peripheral of the power key board provides users with two USB ports and an additional five hours of battery life.
The tablet ships with Windows RT 8.1, augmented with some Nokia-exclusive software. This includes the Storyteller app, which automatically pulls photos from numerous sources including Facebook, Picasa, SkyDrive and Flicker, creating a single image timeline. Also included are Nokia Music, HERE Maps and the Video Director editing app.
The Lumia 2520 is scheduled for release this quarter with a recommended price of US$499.
But the talk around town after the launch,was what Nokia and Microsoft were playing at, launching on the same day, though at different locations, Nokia Lumia 2520 and Microsoft Surface tablets – Devices that share almost same features and outlook, when both claimed to be neck deep in a deal that would see Microsoft swallow the Nokia unit that produced the 2520.
Would Microsoft be pushing two tablets of almost same features and outlook at the same time, when the deal is done? Time will tell!