Stockholm - Nokia, in its first product introduction since agreeing to sell its handset business to Microsoft, unveiled yesterday a tablet and smartphones that give a glimpse of how the merged businesses will try to revive demand.
The Lumia 2520, Nokia’s first tablet, runs Microsoft’s Windows RT 8.1 software and has a 10.1-inch display. It costs $499 (R4 915) before taxes and carrier subsidies and will start selling this quarter, initially in the UK, Finland and the US by carriers including AT&T.
Nokia also showed two smartphones with 6-inch screens, a category often dubbed phablets.
The products expand the Windows mobile device line-up and signal the type of features that Microsoft will bet on in its hardware push after its first products failed to win over users.
Microsoft’s $7.2 billion deal for Nokia’s devices unit, to be completed next quarter, aims to challenge Apple and Samsung’s dominance of the tablet and smartphone markets.
“We talk a lot about Lumia and Nokia and Microsoft talks about Microsoft and Windows Phone. As we market our products you get a cacophony of different brands,” Stephen Elop, the head of the Nokia device unit being sold to Microsoft, said in Abu Dhabi yesterday. “You’ll see us simplify those brands.”
Elop, who stepped down as Nokia’s chief executive to move to Microsoft under the deal, is a candidate as the software maker seeks a new chief executive to lead the fight against Apple.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook was expected to unveil new iPads at a San Francisco event yesterday, people with knowledge of the plans said.
“Nokia’s phablet brings it and Microsoft into a segment that has high volume and a higher average selling price that previously it hasn’t addressed,” said Richard Windsor, an independent analyst with Radio Free Mobile. “It’s a welcome addition to their line-up.”
Microsoft jumped into the touch-screen tablet market, dominated by Apple’s iPad and models running Google’s Android software, in June last year with the announcement of its first Surface.
Designed to keep its Windows software relevant as consumers shift to tablets from personal computers and laptops, the Surface instead generated such little demand that Microsoft said in July that it took a $900 million inventory write-down. It introduced two new Surface models last month.
In a potential boon for Windows, Nokia said photo-sharing app Instagram would be available for its new devices. Nokia and Microsoft have struggled to attract developers to build apps for their devices. – Bloomberg