They may not have flashy names, but three low-priced smartphones introduced by Nokia on Tuesday are seen as attractive offerings that could recruit more social-media addicts in emerging markets. Blandly dubbed the C3, C6 and E5, the latest handsets from the world's largest smartphone maker will cost about $122, $300 and $244, respectively, before taxes and subsidies.
With a few exceptions like Supernova and Surge, most Nokia models are number-letter combinations.
Messaging Is the Medium
"It's a very interesting lineup from Nokia as it pushes the envelope on messaging into a mass market with the E5 and even more so in emerging markets with the C3," said U.K.-based wireless analyst Carolina Milanesi, a vice president of Gartner Research.
The C3 and C6 are expected in the second quarter, while the E5 is expected to ship in the third quarter. With a 2.4-inch rich color display, Wi-Fi connectivity, a two-megapixel camera, and support for a memory card of up to 8GB, the C3 is the first Series 40 phone to have a full QWERTY keyboard, Nokia said.
The C6 and E6 are Symbian-based. The C3 allows users to set up Ovi mail and chat accounts directly from the phone without a PC, and is available in a range of colors, such as golden white, slate grey, and hot pink.
The C6 has a 3.2-inch screen and a five-megapixel camera with autofocus and flash, combining both a touchscreen and a keyboard. It provides free Ovi maps and navigation.
The E5 combines work and play with personal network and entertainment features as well as support for corporate e-mail via Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes.
"Our messaging device range is very successful," said Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia's head of markets. "Services that provide easy access to the world's consumer and corporate e-mail and instant messaging are really popular on our QWERTY smartphones such as the Nokia E71 and Nokia E63. People want the best messaging and social-networking experience on an affordable device, whether it's sending a simple text or instant message, an e-mail, or a direct message from their Twitter account."
Milanesi said, "The E5 will put some pressure on RIM here in Europe, as the price of 180 euro [US$244] is very attractive and the hardware has a very good spec."
While good for Nokia in the short term, Milanesi said, analysts and consumers will likely be watching closely what comes next.
"The devices will certainly help Nokia drive share, but they are not the high-end devices that we are all waiting to see and we will have to wait for the revamp of Symbian later in the year for those," she said.