Nokia: An eye on the next billion

  • TECH
  • Tuesday, 21 Sep 2010

LONDON: With roughly 80% of the world’s population in reach of a cell tower, Nokia believes it is the mobile phone that will offer the first PC-like experience for many of the next billion people who will go online.

“More people will join the Information Age using a mobile phone than a PC,” said Nokia executive vice-president for mobile phones, Mary McDowell, during her keynote on the last day of Nokia World.

And it will not be high-end smartphones but more traditional mobile phones for the emerging markets that will drive the next handset revolution, she explained.

It is here that McDowell said Nokia intends to sustain its leadership in voice and data for the masses, and that it was well-placed to grab much of the projected worldwide growth.

To demonstrate its commitment to emerging markets, Nokia updated its portfolio of feature-rich mobile phones and underscored the importance of locally-relevant Internet services to get the “next billion” people onto the Web.

“New kinds of services and powerful software typically associated with smartphones are becoming more important in the traditional mobile phone space,” she explained.

“We are rolling-out targeted services to meet consumer demand for connectivity, access to information and affordability.”

One of the examples of locally relevant services is Ovi Life Tools, which delivers up-to-date information on agriculture, education and entertainment straight to a user’s mobile phone.

The service is currently available in India, Indonesia and China, and has more than 4.7 million users, Nokia said.

McDowell also announced a new feature-rich phone for emerging markets — the Nokia C3 Touch and Type, which has smartphone-like features but at a more affordable price.

Like its name suggests, the C3 comes with a touchscreen as well a traditional keypad and is Nokia’s second Touch-and-Type model after the X3.

The Series 40 phone comes with a 5-megapixel camera, a music player, FM radio and support for up to a 32GB memory card.

It also provides access to the Internet via 3G, messaging and e-mail along with applications from the Ovi Store.

McDowell also said that Nokia’s recent acquisition of Novarra has brought new browser technology and the power of cloud services to the Series 40 platform.

“This enables more Internet users in emerging markets to get more out of what the Web has to offer.”

The Ovi Browser is now in beta release and is aimed at making Series 40 browsing faster, easier to use and more personalised.

The C3 Touch and Type is priced at 145 euros (about RM585) and will available in the fourth quarter of this year. — KELLY GOH

Related Stories: Nokia: The empire strikes back Quick peek at Nokia phones on the horizon

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