UK operators and retailers will be going head to head for exclusivity on Nokia’s new hero product, which the Finnish manufacturer is gearing up for launch by the end of June.
Chief executive Stephen Elop said the manufacturer is keen to capitalise on its most recent set of results, which saw its Lumia sales hit an all-time high of 5.6 million units. This was up 27% on the previous quarter and Nokia said it hopes to exceed that sales growth in its next trading period. However, the Lumia performance was a bright spot in results that saw Nokia swing back into making a first quarter loss of €257m.
Speaking to analysts after the results, Elop said it was looking to partner with an US operator for exclusivity on a forthcoming hero device. He did not mention other markets, but Mobile understands Nokia is looking for a preferential UK operator to also launch the device. EE originally had exclusivity on the Lumia 920 when it launched last year and it also signed a deal with O2 for the Lumia 720 in red.
Chief financial officer Timo Ihamuotila was coy on the details of the device, rumoured to be the Lumia 928, but said: ‘What we’re trying to do is really make sure that we’re shifting the focus towards hero experiences. So, you hear us talking a lot about imaging, and so, you should watch...for us to continue to advance the state of the art, like what is the best experience in imaging on devices.
‘But the pattern you should also watch for from us is taking that experience and delivering appropriate levels of that experience on lower price point devices through the range. So, it’s quite deliberate that through the full range of devices, even at the lowest price points, there is some form of differentiated imaging story. It’s not an optically image stabilised high megapixel lens or sensor, but nonetheless it’s something that sets it apart.’
The new device will stand side by side with Nokia’s forthcoming phablet, which is due to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2013. Mobile understands the device will be priced between £400 and £500 and will be a six-inch device, running Windows Phone 8. Elop did not comment on rumours about that device but did mention that Nokia was seeking to experiment with ‘broader form factors and different things that we can do’. He added: ‘We have a lot of juice ahead, as it relates to the Lumia product lines.’
While Nokia posted a quarterly loss, it was a marked improvement from the €1.47bn it lost in the first quarter of 2012. The manufacturer is facing an increasing challenge by low cost rivals in emerging markets, with feature phone sales down 36% on its previous quarter to €1.59bn.
Author: Graeme Neill