Aiming to establish a firm stronghold in the sub $100 smart phone market that is set to become a $40 billion business opportunity by 2015, Finnish phone maker, Nokia has announced the launch of a new phone in its Asha series, the Asha 501.
Priced at approximately Rs 5,350, Asha 501, which will be rolled out globally in June, will cater to the young, budget-conscious, entry-level smart phone seekers looking to upgrade from a feature phone to a smart phone, as well as first time users. With this new launch, Nokia will compete with the current crop of low-cost Android powered smart phones such as Samsung’s Rex90 range and Galaxy Y series as well as models of Micromax and Karbon and Chinese manufacturers; and also in the process hope to regain some of its sagging market share and sales figures. According to a research conducted by Strategy Analytics, Nokia’s market share globally declined to 16.6 per cent in Q1 this year from 21.9 per cent in the first quarter last year.
Nokia has been aggressively launching products across the price spectrum; whether it is the entry-level smart phone segment with the Asha series or the high-end premium segment with it Lumia range. Explaining the strategy behind this Viral Oza, Marketing Director, Nokia India said that Nokia has been a full line player since the beginning.
“There are two parts to this where this comes from. As a brand, Nokia has believed that the benefits of mobile technology should be accessible to all. We have democratised every new development and experience; be it email, gaming, apps or music. We have focussed on every price line. Add to this, Nokia’s global objective of connecting the next billion to the internet. The execution of this strategy has started with the Asha range. Globally we have 17 devices and now the new family of Asha devices starts with 501,” he said.
Unveiling the new touch screen-based model that is the first in the family of phones running on the next generation of Asha platform, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said that the company had been impressed with the way the Asha series had performed so far and that it was time to refresh the platform and the product line. He also highlighted the significance of the Indian market for the success of its low-end smart phone phones. “India is a bellwether market...it is symbolic that Nokia is launching the Asha 501 here,” he said.
To heighten engagement and connect with the intended target audience, Nokia has announced a global partnership with Facebook, wherein Asha 501 users on MTNL and Airtel will be given free access to the social networking site.
To serve the 80 per cent of the world’s population which, according to Elop, operates in the 2G environment, the device currently will support only 2G connection and Wi-Fi and, as per company’s claims, the 3G version will be launched later.