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India's diverse, so Nokia won't junk feature phones for smartphones: Viral Oza

Wednesday, 25 December 2013 - 9:10am IST | Agency: DNA
Over the last few years, the camera has become not just an integral part but a diffferentiating aspect mobile handsets in the Rs 3,000-50,000 range. In tune with this reality, Nokia India announced a high-end camera phone device, the Lumia 1320, in Goa last week. Viral Oza, the company's marketing director, updates Priyanka Sahay about Nokia's changed approach to the mobile phone market in India. Edited excerpts:

How does Nokia plan to maintain a balance between feature phones and smartphones?
In February 2011, we unveiled our global strategy and two important pillars were the strategic partnership with Microsoft for our Windows phone and second was connecting the next billion to the internet. So what we have been doing is executing on those pillars with the launch of the Lumia and the Asha respectively. We have phones from Rs 1,000 to Rs 50,000.  In that sense we are balancing both. From a smartphone perspective, we have been extremely successful in offering the Asha series. The smartphone market is expected to grow at 30%. With the Lumia 500, 502 and 503, we have a strong range. We have had nine launches in the last 11 months.

Will Nokia move away from feature phones to low-cost smartphones and high-end smartphones?
Well, we’ll be there in all three actually. Nokia has a large consumer base which we want to keep engaged to ensure that they get the benefits of latest technology; it’s a matter of time before they start graduating to hi-tech phones.

Today smartphone has reached the Rs 4,000 price band; but, there is a large market which is below Rs 4,000. We continue to innovate and we continue to cater to that segment. India is a diverse market, so feature phones are going to be there for quite a long time.

How important has the camera become in a handset?
The 7650 was the first camera phone we introduced. Capturing memories... that has always been extremely important to consumers. Over the years, we have innovated our imaging capabilities.
First it was capturing the moment; now, it is the quality of the moment captured. I doubt if there are many consumers who will buy a phone without a camera. It’s not just megapixel size but what kind of effects you can have. These effects come at different price-points.

How is the Nokia-Microsoft deal working out?
It is under formalisation. It is in for approvals across various regulators. The process is expected to be completed in the next quarter. Currently, we are operating as Nokia and as Microsoft separately, and it’s business as usual.




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