Finnish handset giant Nokia today launched its much awaited Android-based smartphone 'X' in India for Rs. 8,599, aimed at protecting its turf in the fiercely competitive market.
The company had announced 'Nokia X' family of affordable smartphones, which runs Google's Android apps, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last month.
The company had said then that Nokia X+ is expected to be priced at euro 99 (about Rs. 8,400), Nokia XL at euro 109 (about Rs. 9,200) and Nokia X at euro 89 (about Rs. 7,500).
Nokia said it will bring the other two devices -- X+ and XL -- in the Indian market in the next 60 days.
"India is one of the fastest growing markets for smart phones in the world. With the launch of Nokia X, we are adding more ammunition to our smartphone portfolio. We believe Nokia X is a unique combination of Nokia quality and experiences, Microsoft services and Android apps," Nokia India Managing Director P Balaji told PTI.
India is the third largest market for smartphones. IDC data showed that smartphone sales in the country surpassed 44 million units in 2013, up from 16.2 million in 2012.
The surge has been mainly powered by home grown vendors like Micromax, Karbonn and Lava, which offer smartphones for as low as Rs. 3,000.
Also, IDC attributed the migration of users from feature phones to smartphones primarily due to the narrowing price gaps between these product categories.
Asked if the handset will eat into the business of its Asha range of affordable smartphones, Balaji answered in the negative.
"Asha, Nokia X and the Lumia range are three separate offerings. While the pricing of each of these will come down with time, they have their own set of features that offers value to a particular set of people," he added.
Terming the Nokia X as a "feeder" for its Lumia range of premium smartphones, Balaji said the device will help users experience Microsoft services like Skype and Outlook before they actually opt for the Lumia devices.
Currently, 520 is the cheapest handset in the Lumia series. It is available for about Rs. 9,999 (dealer price) and Rs. 7,600 (eCommerce sites).
The dual SIM Nokia X is a 4-inch device, powered by a 1 GHz dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. It features a tile-based design, 512MB RAM (up to 32GB expandable memory), 3MP camera and 1500 mAH battery.
The Nokia X is based on the Android open platform.
While Nokia X users will not have access to Google's app market 'Google Play', they can sideload Android apps from third party app stores as well as Microsoft app store.