Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) was trying to make a comeback in the smartphone market last fall when it launched its high-end Lumia line of handsets that were running the Windows Phone operating system by Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT). While the company posted modest sales in the last quarter of 2012, the company is making the next step in trying to secure better market share by launching some mid-range handsets that are expected to have many of the Lumia features at lower price points – designed to get Nokia into the smartphone segment in emerging markets, where there are many who want a smartphone but cannot afford the high-end iOS and Android devices.
It’s also important to note that Nokia saw aggregate capital inflows from hedge funds last quarter, while Microsoft saw the smart money leaving its shares. On the whole, though, a whopping 95 of the funds we track are still long MSFT, while just 12 held NOK in their portfolios in Q4 (see why retail investors should pay attention to hedge fund sentiment).
Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) announced this week the unveiling of Lumia 520 and 720 handsets, which will join the 900-series Lumias by running the Windows Phone OS. Prices for the handsets are from about $175 for the 520 and about $300 for the 720, with the latter featuring wireless charging similar to the premium 920 handset. Francisco Jeronimo, a research analyst at IDC, said these new handsets will likely move Nokia into position “to compete against mid-range Android devices.” The new handsets are due to begin shipping by the end of the current quarter and will be available with some carriers including China Mobile, the largest carrier in China – which does not offer the iPhone.
In addition to those new Lumia devices, Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) is announcing the release of a couple of low-end feature phones to add to its broadening portfolio to add some international market share. The company revealed the 105 and 301 handsets for the law-price feature-phone segment. The 105 is expected to be the cheapest Nokia phone ever at about $20 and is reported to be dust- and splash-proof. Meanwhile, the 301 handset is expected to retail at about $70 and would feature video streaming, internet access and e-mail capability. These are expected to compete with other basic handsets, including the Rex line of handsets that Samsung announced this month.
What do you think about the push for Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) to move its Windows phones into the mid-range price point? Can this be a step that could help save the company in the phone market? We’d like your thoughts in the comments section below.
DISCLOSURE: I own no positions in any stock mentioned.
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