Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) has been receiving some good news in the markets and in its plans for the future. The company has received rave reviews about the Lumia smartphones (though they haven’t taken off commercially yet), has latched on with Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) to run Windows 8 phone on its handsets (ditching its proprietary Symbian operating system), and has just secured alliances with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), only the two dominant wireless carriers in the U.S. – which is the largest smartphone market in the world right now.
Not only that, but we’ve documented that Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) is not just surviving, but thriving, in the basic phone market in emerging markets like Indonesia and India – with Nokia handsets dominating the market in those countries. But with the struggles Nokia has had making a handprint in the smartphone market (the high-end mobile phone segment), Nokia may be trying to create a bridge between its highly successful basic phones and the new smartphones.
After all, surely Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) knows that technology is about loyalty. If the company can get consumers to enjoy using their proedcuts, they’ll be more likely to buy other products from that company when new versions come out. That might be part of the strategy for Nokia to unveil its Asha 311 handset just a couple months before the new line of Lumia phones with Windows 8 Phone operating system comes on the market. The Asha is meant to be a “smartphone lite” – be a less expensive touchscreen phone with a selection of apps but have the price point and basic features of a basic phone. It was recently released in India and the United Arab Emirates, and is due to hit the United Kingdom sometime this fall.
However, if the goal for Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) is to bring its basic handset fans up a notch to a “smartphone lite” with the intention of lifting those customers up to the high-end smartphones with the critically acclaimed Lumia model, then Nokia might not want those potential customers to read this lukewarm review of the Asha 311 – which basically says it looks and acts like a cheap phone but is not that cheap. It is possible that the market reaction to the Asha phone in these emerging markets may provide a hint for Nokia’s fortunes going forward, an important item for key investors in Nokia stock like hedge-fund manager Jim Simons of Renaissance Technologies