It’s not just competition at the top end of the market that is heating up. Phone makers are also aiming to tackle the budget-friendly price range as Chinese manufacturers continually offer gizmos that won’t break the bank.
The latest manufacturer to announce a budget model is Nokia. And while the firm’s new 105 may not have the all-singing, all-dancing features of the latest smartphones it makes up for it with the price. There is no multimega-pixel camera and no touchscreen. But, then again, the Nokia 105 will only cost pocket-money prices – £13 before taxes.
Speaking at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop said the firm’s strategy was to capture an important part of the market. “We did this,” he said, “because regardless of what you spend on a mobile phone, you always want, and you deserve, the very best experience.”
Expected to be available by the end of March, the Nokia 105 is expected to have an impressive battery life. Pekka Haverinen, who is the firm’s press spokesperson, said: “You can talk from sunrise to sunset with one charge.”
In fact, the 105, Nokia boasts, can last 35 days on one single charge. It also comes with a colour screen, built in torch and FM radio.
Aimed at emerging markets, Nokia believes the handset may also be used as a back-up phone, or by older generations who perhaps don’t want as many smart functions on their gizmos. Hailed as “the ultimate festival phone” at the launch in Barcelona, it does make sense for festival-goers to take a cheaper handset with them so as not to risk losing an expensive smartphone.
Nokia also announced a £120 smartphone at the event. The Lumia 520, which operates with Windows 8, is said to be perfect for colder countries because it has a super-sensitive touch-screen that can be used while wearing gloves.
The firm also showcased the Lumia 720, which it describes as perfect for “socialites”. And, the 301 was also unveiled. Costing £56, it is aimed at a younger market.
Elop described the new range as “the world’s most innovative portfolio of products.”
He added: “For Nokia, the building blocks are in place and now we have to make sure that all of this capability, all of this beauty in design, everything that we have done in terms of great product making is put into the hands of consumers and that’s what we’re focused on today.”
While Nokia was once the world’s largest maker of smartphones, it could only manage third place during 2012, a pattern it is hoping to reverse by appealing to a wider market.
After an 18-month stint in the red, the Finnish technology group was back in the black at the start of this year when it posted a pre-tax profit of 375m euros during the final three months of 2012, compared to a like-for-like loss of 974m euros the previous year.