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Nokia's new Lumia 800 AP Photo/Sang Tan

Nokia unveils new smartphone in battle against iPhone and Android

The company is fighting to stop shedding market share to its rivals in the highly competitive smartphone market.

NOKIA HAS FINALLY unveiled its long-awaited Windows smartphone in a bid to win back market share lost to the dominant iPhone and Android-driven models.

But some analysts say it may be too little, too late, for the world’s top mobile phone maker.

With price tags of €420 and €270, the Lumia 800 and 710 are based on Microsoft’s Windows 7 software and come eight months after Nokia and the computing giant said they were hitching up.

“Lumia is reasonably good … but it’s not an iPhone killer or a Samsung killer,” Neil Mawston from Strategy Analytics said. “But where Nokia does stand out is on their price — it looks like they are going to be very competitive.”

Lumia 800, with Carl Zeiss optics and 16GB of internal memory, will be available in selected European countries in November, including France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and Britain. It will be sold in Hong Kong, India, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan before the year-end.

Lumia 710, with a 1.4 GHz processor, navigational applications and Nokia Music — a free, mobile music-streaming app — will first be available in Hong Kong, India, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan toward the end of the year.

Smartphone trouble

Nokia, which claims 1.3 billion daily users, has been the world’s biggest handset maker since 1998, selling 432 million devices last year — more than its three closest rivals combined. But after reaching its announced global goal of 40 percent market share in 2008, it has struggled against rivals making cheaper handsets in Asia, and its share has shrunk to 24 percent earlier this year.

Worse still, Nokia’s sales in the more lucrative smartphone market crashed 39 percent in the third quarter as it continued to be squeezed in the low end by Asian manufacturers like ZTE and in the high end by the iPhone, Research in Motion’s Blackberry, Korea’s Samsung Electronics and Taiwan-based HTC Corp.

However, Elop described the Lumia phones as a “new dawn” for Nokia. “Lumia is light… Lumia is the first real Windows Phone,” Elop declared to the London audience.

Ovum analyst Nick Dillon said the success of the new Windows devices will be critical.

“The challenges which Nokia faces are significant — many potential Windows Phone customers will have already bought an Android or iPhone and will have some form of attachment to those platforms,” Dillon said. “Nokia will have a challenge to convince them to switch to what is a largely unknown, and therefore risky, alternative.”

Nokia unveils new smartphone in battle against iPhone and Android
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  • New Nokia smartphone

    The Lumia 800 on display (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
  • New Nokia smartphone

    A visitor looks at a new Nokia Lumia 710 (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
  • New Nokia smartphone

    The Lumia 800 (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
  • New Nokia smartphone

    A Nokia employee demonstrates the Lumia 800 (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
  • New Nokia smartphone

    The Nokia Lumia 800 on display in London (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
  • New Nokia smartphone

    President and CEO of Nokia, Stephen Elop shows off the Lumia 800 (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

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