Nokia unveils two more Asha series as it battles to stay afloat

Nokia Corporation this week debuted two of its touch-screen cellphones, the Asha 308 and 309, at an event in Jakarta, Indonesia, as part of its strategy to bolster its predicted single-digit annual growth with sales of feature phones.

Nokia further debuted Nokia Life+, a Web application that offers information on health, education and entertainment.

Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop said that local versions of the web application service will be available in 18 other countries, including South Africa and Nigeria, where the company has seen a growing trend of dual-SIM.

Mr Elop told Engadget.com that the German Society for Consumer Research (GFK) and the International Data Corporation (IDC) confirmed that the Asha phones belong in the smartphone category.

“The exciting news is that these two bodies have declared our Ashas full touch products as smartphones because of their capabilities and secondly because of their competitiveness. The lower price brands are also becoming very interesting in competition,” he said.

Both Asha 308 and 309 feature an 800 MHz processor, 20MB internal storage capacity, a 2GB microSD (expandable to 32GB), with a 2-megapixel rear camera and EDGE connectivity. The two phones however bear a slight difference where the 308 support GSM/EDGE 850, 1900 MHz bands and a swap dual-SIM slot.

Nokia’s expanding portfolio of dual-SIM phones and the Asha models in the mobile market has heightened performance indexes in its second quarter in the emerging markets, according to Strategy Analytics, a research firm.

This comes at a time when cell phone manufacturers are on unending battles to dominate the industry. Apple recently unveiled the iPhone 5, Google with the Nexus 7, Samsung promises a Galaxy S IV in early next year.

In July this year, Nokia reported it had made losses of 1.1 billion euros in the preceding three months as it lost market share to Apple and Samsung. Sales fell 19 percent to 7.54 billion euros, with smartphones falling 34 percent to 1.54 billion euros.

According to Elop, Nokia was facing “greater than expected competitive challenges.”
Nokia was the world’s top mobile phone manufacturer for more than one decade, but has recently faced fierce competition.

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