Nokia finally launched its PureView 808 Smartphone with Dolby’s cinematic sound feature. The 808 set a new mark in the mobile phone industry with its 41 megapixel camera and all the features that consumers require in a Smartphone. A smart option or not, priced at Rs 33,000 and above Nokia claims to have brought a blockbuster in this segment of imaging, experts say otherwise.
But first, just let’s look at the plus points that the brand has been able to garner in the market.
When it comes to mobile handsets market Nokia is one brand that is present across all segments. “We have a lot of phones in the market that don’t lie in the category of Smartphones, in the range starts from Asha and goes up to 808 PureView which is our high end super camera Smartphone. The Smartphones are a trend because the feature phones are becoming smarter and the Smartphone are packing more innovation and customers are gravitating towards those that can do a lot more,” says Vipul Mehrotra, Director and Head of Smart Devices, Nokia.
Mehrotra also adds that Smartphones are now a necessity and the phones that Nokia brings in are consumer savvy enterprise devices and the company has invested five years to develop the PureView. Every time Nokia builds products it takes inputs from consumers across the world, to know what consumers do with the product and how can it be made better.
In fact according to a recent study by Nielsen Nokia has emerged as the leader in terms of dual-SIM handsets usage in the country. “When we went into the dual SIM market we brought innovation like easy swap, innovation at the simplest level to make these dual SIM phone much more user friendly so that everyone can use the product the easy swap is the reason for Nokia’s leadership in that segment.” he adds.
Moreover, Nokia plans to bring in innovations into the market, which will change its image in the market as a formidable smartphone player. 808 is not manufactured in India but claims to be far ahead of the portfolio in this segment. The target group for the 808 are casual smart phone users who love camera phones.
Kaustav Chatterjee, Head Product Marketing, Nokia, says, “We cater to all the segments, we mentioned that this is a fist of a world kind of experience, the phone caters to those who are serious hobbyists of photography, normal lay people who are interested in the latest technology and also those who are professionals, who use it as an image or a video capture device. It is a second or third addition to their devices, as professionals tend to carry a lot of equipment with them which weighs a lot and is bulky, this phone gives professional quality output in such a small compact size, at this rate, which is attractive in that category.”
“We are committed to bringing out the latest innovation in technology which will wow them, this phone is in that spirit, if one looks at the most successful camera Smartphone before this it was popularly acknowledged as N8, Nokia remains in the market to be the numero uno in camera Smartphones and with the leaps in its innovations it will remain so,” Chatterjee adds.
But can that really make a dent in the cameras market especially when DSLR cameras are becoming a rage in the market?
Not a rosy picture
In an interview earlier with Pitch, Nilesh M Fatnaney, Manager, Strategic Planning Draftfcb + Ulka had said “The Nokia Pure View 808 seems to have an effective maximum resolution of 8MP, the 41MP image is obtained by clever software tricks known as “Software Binning” & “Interpolation”. Here the pixels are multiplied by a software algorithm resulting into a higher resolution photograph but what suffers is the picture quality.”
“People have a propensity to own multiple products, each for a specific purpose. Mobile phones are capable of playing music but yet you see people owning iPods and other portable music players (PMP), Tablets like iPads and Samsung Galaxy Tabs are capable of performing basic computation but people still own a laptop or PC. Mobile phone cameras are generally used for documenting & most users will use a camera separately for their photography needs,” Fatnaney later added.
Commenting further on the usability of the latest launch retail and telecom expert Peshwa Acharya (CMO at Globacom) goes on to say, “This phone cannot be used by the common man to its full capabilities unless used by professionals. People today own multiple devices; hence it doesn’t seem to replace any category of devices.”
A dented image
There is further some more bad news as Acharya feels, “Nokia is losing its edge as a technology player across the world; it’s no longer a game of pedigree or market share. Even though India and African countries are the largest markets for Nokia handsets, it has seen a downtrend in the rest of the developed countries. The company had a 60+ market share a few years back but new entrants like Apple, Samsung and BlackBerry have taken over as the choice for premium users.” Lately it has entered the dual SIM segment but still has not been able to capture the higher bracket of mobile phone consumers.
So what puts Nokia in the weak spot? Acharya responds, “There are about 900 million connections in the country, CDMA and GSM, across all segments and categories, Nokia is not cashing in on the huge opportunity available. It somehow feels that dual SIM is for the low end economically unsound consumers. It is losing out on the high end Smartphone users who would also like to have multiple phone connections. Also Nokia does not have many models available in the category of dual SIMs, hence the instruments are popular among the mass segment but not the high end users who are moving in for HTCs and BlackBerrys.”
The retail expert further appends that one of the reasons why Nokia is losing out is because of its operating system, people prefer iOS, or android these days and Nokia still operates on Symbian platform. The Lumia that was introduced last year became popular because it gave the users a windows platform to use which was well known and widely used. Thus it seems that with 808, Nokia is trying to again beef up the market share in the higher segment.
Acharya also opines that phone users do not print pictures these days instead they upload on various social networking platforms, the camera is an important feature in a phone but for just uploading pictures 8-10 megapixels is good, nevertheless Nokia is trying to give the best camera phone that a consumer can have and with it trying to get a pole position in the market.
Nokia seems to be losing out in two major aspects of the mobile phone market, one is the OS and the other is the brand itself. The tech savvy and young generations are influenced by the international markets, where Nokia does not have a stronghold anymore; consumers are seen moving in for iPhones or Samsung Galaxy Phones and BlackBerry Handsets. Experts suggest that if Nokia did not compete with iPhone and Samsung and brings down the new Smartphone in the 20-25,000 range maybe more users will be attracted to it and Nokia might re-establish itself as a premier Smartphone brand catering to the masses.
A ray of hope?
Nevertheless the Pure View 808 is a phone that comes under the category of being a collector’s item. A 41mp camera, good range of apps, touch screen, Dolby cinematic 1080p full HD experience makes it a small portable high end camera that can make phone calls, receive emails and access various social network platforms. Till the time it does not put a dent in parent’s pockets it’s great for youngsters; and to capture images when professionals forget their DSLRs at home.