Nokia slashes prices to up market share ante
Rolls up sleeves for imminent manufacturer slugfest
After a year almost in the shadows, Nokia is back in the cellphone limelight and is showing its aggressive face to those seeking its crown.
It has already thrown down the gauntlet to Google with its free mapping and navigation promise, a move that is already shaking up the personal navigation space. In the first weeks of this year, it has also cut prices on its mass market phones and plans heavy advertising behind key media devices like the latest X6 music handset.
With its eyes on Samsung's leap in market share in the last quarter, Nokia seems to be gearing up for a price war, having reportedly addressed some of the rare inefficiencies that were creeping into its mighty supply chain in mid-2009. It cut prices across its portfolio last week, making its 5230 the cheapest Symbian device on the market and going head-to-head with Samsung, LG and Sony Ericsson in the midrange.
Nokia generally reduces prices across its range a few times a year as it introduces new models and adjusts to changes in demand, but this was particularly stringent. Reuters news agency reports that prices were slashed by as much as 10% on a broad basis.
The 5230 is now retailing for €170 ($239) unlocked, or as little as $110 on pay-as-you-go, and its wholesale price is below €120. This makes it hugely competitive in developing economies and in the expected boom area for early 2010 - the affordable open OS handset. This rises in importance as first-time smartphone users and the youth market shift away from featurephones.
The 5230 is typical of the breed of phones targeting this space. It has the same 3.2-inch touchscreen as the popular 5800 music smartphone, and many of the same features, but skimps on a few areas, such as memory, to keep the cost down. It incorporates GPS and Ovi Maps, including turn-by-turn navigation and 3D landmarks, and Symbian S60 5th Edition.
Nokia needs to leverage its huge economies of scale to ensure that pushing smartphone capabilities into the mainstream does not impact its margins disastrously. In the fourth quarter of last year, the average wholesale price of its smartphones dipped from €190 in Q309 to €186.
This will mean keeping its higher margin models desirable, which may entail higher advertising spend in the short term, one executive agreed last week. For instance, Nokia plans to spend "multiple millions of euros" in several key European markets, including the UK, to support the new 16Gb iteration of its X6 phone, and pitch the handset far more directly against the iPhone.
The new device will ship on February 24 and boasts the biggest marketing budget ever for a single product Nokia release, according to Marketing Week.
Copyright © 2010, Wireless Watch
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Why bother with touschreens?
Touchscreens are difficult to type on, fact. Even the iphone in landscape is still not comfortable for sending longish SMSs.
Having just resorted to using a Nokia 6100 tiny wee phone that actually performs basic functions, with the odd business sleight thrown in; I was surprised to learn just how much I can live without a touchscreen, or for that matter a phone that basically has the all-singing all-dancing technology that really we could use when we end up staring at a computer screen.
For most of us in employment, accessing the internet will be done so regularly that the more modern features - speaking as a younger male - are sort of unnecessary. I find few actual benefits to accepting a Nokia 5800 over a second-hand cheapo N95 8GB for example.
It's just style over substance. Although a camera, podcasting, streaming radio etc is all useful, I certainly feel much safer knowing my battery isn't going to die after using some of these features for a short time, as my Nokia 6100 can only basically get used for calls/texts/MMS-texts.
RE: N95 8GB
Due to no real improvements for a technical user on the newer Nokia smartphone devices, I'm still using my trusty N95 8GB, having used other newer models.
The N95 and N95 8GB, and other even older Nokias, DO take ovi maps, and is really noticeably faster with the latest 'final' firmware, and I used the free navigation the other day, it really was excellent. Why was it not released with the following firmware though when it came out? 3 years later is almost laughable really...
A new firmware, 35.0.001 (and 35.0.002 for the N95) was released last month unbelievably for the N95 8GB; I couldn't believe it, but certainly it fixes 99.9% of bugs and annoyances.
TO ALL NOKIA MAPS USERS:
The ovi Nokia maps download site is slightly annoying, because you really do have to click on 'show more phones' in various sections to download the 'ovi maps updater', which is actually just the installation package to install ovi maps to your phone; a bit of a misnomer. The 'map loader' to actually un/load moaps is a separate application available, on the same webpage.
I'm not impressed with touchscreen phones, but it's good to see that Nokia are driving prices down; although I can't help but feel, through using both a Nokia 5800, as good as it is, from a product feel and quality point of view my N95 8GB feels better 'made' component-wise.
RE: Flashing Firmware Yourself
I just wanted to clarify something regarding changing firmware on your Nokia from 'operator branded' to generic, ie: the way it was meant to be in the first place!
You can use Nokia Software Updater (NSU) to update your device, but it will still have the relevant network branding, and you may find your network hasn't bothered to stay with the times, so you may be stick with old firmware forever.
On a device like my N95 8GB you can change the product code with a tool, for example NSS or Phoenix, then use Nokia Firmware Updater with the new 'generic' product code; but this will void any warranty you have. There are reports of Nokia not honouring active warranties as their Nokia Software Updater identifies the product code and your phone's unique IMEI number during update; so they know if you have changed the product code! On an older phone (older than 2 years, in Europe) the warranty will have expired, so fire away and enjoy yourself.
On a newer phone, for educational information only, you COULD change the product code, then use flashing software on your PC and the USB cable to actually flash the phone yourself OFFLINE, ie: using phoenix or other software. Then nobody apart from you would know your product code was changed. In the event something buggers up down the line? Well, in most cases you can still at least get your dead phone to change the product code at the very least, so it's not so much of a worry.
Seems my wish of a 6300/6700 S60 dream is coming true..
The Nokia C5...
I don't want a huge iBrick, be an iSheep, and look like an iPrick using one. I can have one of these...
Thanks Nokia. You haven't bowed to the pressure to make a iJackOfAllMasterOfNone phone...
Nokia go to hell
Stupidly I bought an N97 when they were first released...... I didn't want to be a iPrick but after 6 months of the N97 i wish I was. Words fail to describe how crap the N97 is....
The support faltered as word spread about how shit it is.... 400 quid down the toilet. If you are determine to buy a No'fucking use'kia i'd wait at least 9 months after the initial release, just in case its another N97.