Nokia Lumia 920, Lumia 820 disappoint investors – The Times of India on Mobile
NEW YORK/HELSINKI: Nokia’s new Lumia smartphones drew a quick thumbs-down from investors looking for transformational handsets to rescue the struggling Finnish company, sending the firm’s shares tumbling 13 per cent.
Nokia and partner Microsoft showcased the Lumia 920 phone on Wednesday in what may be their last major shot at reclaiming market share lost to Apple, Samsung Electronics and Google.
Microsoft and Nokia hope the device – sporting bright colors from red to yellow, a bigger screen, and technology that reduces blur and shakiness in pictures and video – will become a potent weapon in an escalating global war to dominate the mobile industry.
But investors said it lacked “wow” and some analysts said Nokia’s reticence about dates, prices or carrier partners also did not help.
Nokia shares traded in Helsinki began sliding midway through the New York launch and ended down 13 per cent at 1.99 euros, their biggest single-day loss since June. But the stock had gained 67 per cent since mid-July as anticipation built ahead of Lumia’s unveiling.
Its US-listed stock closed down 16 per cent at $2.38.
Many of the industry analysts who saw the phone up close in New York deemed it a solid device with a few differentiating features. But it did not push the envelope as Nokia CEO Stephen Elop had promised.
“The challenge is that the world is working on the 4th, 5th and 6th editions of their devices, while Nokia is still trying to move from chapter 1. It still has quite a bit to catch up,” said RBC analyst Mark Sue.
“People were looking for something that would dazzle. Most investors will view it as evolutionary, not revolutionary. Nokia has made some good progress, but investors were looking for quantum leaps. We didn’t get that.”
The Lumia was the first in a flurry of planned mobile-device launches expected ahead of the holiday shopping season. Google’s Motorola Mobility also showed off three new smartphones based on Android software on Wednesday. Verizon Wireless the top US mobile provider committed to sell all three of the Motorola phones.
Amazon.com will unwrap its new Kindle Fire tablets on Thursday and Apple is expected to unveil the latest version of its seminal iPhone on September 12.
The Lumia runs on the latest Windows Phone operating system, which Microsoft – the world’s largest software maker – hopes will rival Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android to become a third mobile platform.
Nokia announced no partnerships with wireless service providers, leading some analysts to worry this was a sign of weak carrier support. The Finnish handset maker said it would announce pricing and roll-out dates for the new Lumia later on a country-by-country basis.
“It is impossible to assess this launch without price and roll-out info. This is disappointing,” said Bengt Nordstrom, CEO of telecommunications consultancy Northstream.
For Microsoft, successful Lumia sales could convince more handset makers and carriers to support Windows Phone 8, which promises faster performance and a customizable start screen. Samsung last week became the first to announce a smartphone running that software, which it said it would begin selling as early as next month.
If the new phones do not appeal to consumers, it could spell the end for money-losing Nokia and deal a serious blow to Microsoft in its attempts to regain its footing in the market.
“We’re working with our carrier partners to finalize our plans,” said Jo Harlow, executive vice president of smart devices for Nokia.
Windows phones have captured only 3.7 per cent of the global smartphone market, according to Strategy Analytics.
Asked about estimates that Windows phones might account for 10 per cent of the market by the end of 2013, Harlow said: “With momentum, if we’re at 10 per cent at the end of 2013, I’d be a happy girl.”
Nokia badly needs a hit. It has logged more than 3 billion euros ($3.8 billion) in operating losses in the past 18 months, forcing it to cut 10,000 jobs. Its share of the global smartphone market has plunged to less than 10 per cent from 50 per cent during its heyday, before the iPhone arrived in 2007.
The Lumia 920 – billed as the flagship Windows phone – uses “PureView” and floating-lens technology for its 8.7 megapixel camera to reduce blurring and shakiness from hand motion, and has wireless charging capability.