Nokia is struggling on many fronts, but the company is performing well in emerging markets -- and it's looking to boost its chances with two new mobile phones that play on its strategy to connect the next billion consumers.
The Nokia 110 and Nokia 112 aim to attract young, urban consumers who want to experience a fast, affordable online experience. Both devices incorporate social-media aspects, like Facebook and Twitter integration. And a Nokia browser promises to consume up to 90 percent less data by compressing Web sites in the cloud.
"Today's mobile phone users want a quick Internet experience that allows them to discover great content and share it with their friends -- but without being held back by high data costs," said Mary T. McDowell, executive vice president of Mobile Phones at Nokia. She's betting consumers will look to the Nokia 110 and 112, which combine browsing, social media, apps, entertainment and long battery life.
Casual Gaming Savvy
The devices have a 1.8-inch display that Nokia characterizes as "optimized for gaming." In the months ahead, the Nokia 110 and Nokia 112 will bring free EA Games, including favorites like Tetris, Bejeweled, Need for Speed The Run, Monopoly Here & Now, and SimCity Deluxe.
The Nokia 112 features a preloaded eBuddy instant messaging service so users can tap into popular chat services from the mobile device. And both phones offer an upgraded camera that lets users customize contacts with photos, or share images via social networks and Bluetooth.
The VGA camera promises sharper, clearer pictures with support for up to 32GB of external memory, enough for more than 6,000 songs or 90,000 pictures. Consumers can tune into radio stations and share songs with friends over Bluetooth. And all this with a promised 10 hours of talk time and nearly a month of standby.
The Lumia Play
Both the Nokia 110 and Nokia 112 are Dual SIM phones and feature Nokia's Easy Swap technology. That means users can switch between SIMs quickly without having to remove their battery or turn off their phone. The Easy Swap technology can personalize and remember up to five SIM cards, giving consumers full control over their costs.
We caught up with Michael Disabato, managing vice president of network and telecom at Gartner, to get his thoughts on Nokia's moves at the lower end of the market. He told us Nokia needs to do anything possible to drive revenue and stay afloat in a market where iPhone and Android are dominating.
"Nokia got in bed with Microsoft with Windows Phone and brought out an interesting phone that Gartner doesn't recommend because it doesn't have any encryption on it. How can Microsoft, of all companies, not put native encryption in a phone that's targeting the enterprise?" Disabato asked. "The Lumia is a consumer hit and an enterprise bomb and they thought it was going to be an enterprise hit."
The estimated retail price for Nokia 110 and its single SIM versions is about 35 euros, or about $45, and they are expected to start shipping in the second quarter of 2012. The estimated retail price for Nokia 112 is about 38 euros, or $49. The device is expected to start shipping in the third quarter of 2012.