N97 mini, X6 and X3: Nokia unveils new smartphones to rival iPhone (w/ Video)
Nokia, the world's leading mobile phone maker, unveiled Wednesday three new smartphones as the Finnish firm tries to claw back market share from Apple's popular iPhone and RiM's Blackberry.
The three new Nokia phones, two of which feature touch screens, are scheduled to be in stores during the fourth quarter of 2009 as Nokia increasingly focuses on applications and services.
"Nokia aims at reaching the many, not the few, with our rich portfolio of services. We are doing this through an increasing number of open partnerships with world leaders in many fields," chief executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said in a statement.
Nokia is the world's largest maker of smartphones, with 45 percent of the market in the second quarter, but its product line has been seen as ageing as Canada's RiM and Apple have snatched market share with more advanced models.
The new Nokia N97 mini will have a touch display and will feature the Lifecasting with Ovi application, enabling users to update their account on the Facebook social networking site with their cell phone.
Meanwhile the Nokia X6 and X3 will update the Finnish company's music phone selection.
In recent weeks Nokia has also launched a mini laptop "Booklet 3G" and the N900 smartphone, and announced that Microsoft Office software will be available on Nokia smartphones as of next year.
But while analysts said Nokia was moving in the right direction, they do not expect the new devices to have a big impact on profitability this year.
"It is not likely that there will be much impact from this in terms of sales or profitability during the remainder of this year, but it will be visible next year," FIM Bank analyst Michael Schroeder told AFP.
"Time will tell how Nokia can turn these (new products) into sales and how consumers will accept them," he said.
Analysts said that while big scale was to Nokia's benefit, it had its disadvantages too.
"Nokia has to think about large volumes and it cannot make changes that quickly. And its Symbian S60 (smartphone) user interface is not very modern," Pohjola Bank analyst Hannu Rauhala said.
Schroeder also criticised the Symbian user interface as outdated and complex and said he considered the N900 smartphone, running the new Linux Maemo platform, the most interesting of Nokia's new products.
Nokia's sales have been sliding since the third quarter of 2008 and it has boosted its profitability by slashing costs and reducing its workforce by some 4,000.
In July Nokia reported a second-quarter net profit down by 66 percent on a 12-month basis to 380 million euros (541 million dollars).
(c) 2009 AFP