The scale of the challenge facing Nokia in the smartphone market was underscored on Tuesday when a powerful new handset from Taiwan’s HTC overshadowed two new models from the Finnish giant.
HTC, the world’s fifth-largest smartphone maker, launched HTC Sensation, offering an entire library of movie and TV shows via a wide screen, with a fast 1.2GHz processor, which is particularly important for services such as games. The phone, aimed at the premium end of the market, will compete with the iPhone among others and will use Google’s Android software
Nokia, which dumped its once-dominant Symbian software earlier this year after trailing Apple in the high-end handset market, launched two new models in a bid to stem customer defections while it works on a new offering.
The Nokia phones will run on an improved Symbian software, with new icons, better text input, faster Internet browsing and a refreshed Ovi Maps application, while it develops its new devices using software from Microsoft.
The E6 and the X7 will go on sale for 340 euros ($491.6) and 380 euros respectively excluding subisidies and taxes, later this quarter.
“The HTC Sensation reflects the mountain Nokia needs to climb to close the hardware and software gap with rivals,” said Ben Wood, research director at CCS Insight.
“On the day Nokia unveils the 600Mhz X7 ‘entertainment phone’ it has been trumped by HTC’s Sensation which has a dual-core 1.2Ghz processor.”
The iPhone was using 600 MHz processors two years ago.
Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop dropped Nokia’s Symbian software in February, saying the company would instead use Microsoft’s unproven technology.