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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Apr 2014

Nokia has no plans to launch Android-based phones: CEO

Vivek Sinha, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 09, 2013
First Published: 22:33 IST(9/5/2013) | Last Updated: 22:37 IST(9/5/2013)

Nokia will continue to bank on Windows operating system for its smartphones under the lower-priced Asha and premium-end Lumia series as it seeks to emerge as a credible competitor to smartphones manufactured by Apple and Samsung, chief executive Stephen Elop said on Thursday.

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Elop sought to put on rest any speculation that the Finnish handset giant may be forced to launch a smartphone on Google's highly popular Android operating system to spike sales and regain lost marketshare.

"So as we go through a transition where do we equip all our focus and so that we have the best chance of breaking through…it is the Windows phone," he said.

Elop explained that Samsung's success in the global smartphone market has more to do with its own strong product line rather than only Andorid.

Android continues to be the dominant operating system across the world with over 70% mobile devices running on it.

Despite Nokia's sales of its smartphones under the Asha and Lumia series picking up, the company still lags behind Apple and Samsung in absolute sales numbers. Elop attributed this to a late fightback by the firm.

"Samsung and Apple have been building that for quite some time… it will take some time (for us)... but sales volumes are picking up nicely."

Globally, Nokia has sold around 20 million Asha smartphones since June 2012, and another 20 million Lumia smartphones since their launch in December 2011.

Nokia hired Elop in 2010 to turn around the fortunes of a company that was once a dominant handset maker across the world.

In 2011, Nokia decided to shun its rickety Symbian platform that was considered unsuitable for smartphones and switch to Microsoft's Windows.

Two years on, this shift is yet to bear any significant results in terms of sales volume and Nokia's shareholders this week were saying that the company should reconsider the move.

Elop unveiled Nokia's new $99 (Rs 5,370) phone under its Asha series in India on Thursday.

The new phone offers Internet access on a touch-screen with built in applications for popular social media sites and more features than earlier models, which fell short of a full-fledged smartphone.

Although more people are buying phones with computer-like features, most of the handsets Nokia sells are regular phones.

Its failure to cash in on the smartphone boom saw it last year cede its 14-year reign as the world's top phonemaker to South Korea's Samsung Electronics.

While Nokia has seen brisk sales of its Windows-based Lumia smartphones, it still has just a 5% share of a global smartphone market dominated by Samsung and Apple Inc.

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