emerging markets

Windows Phone and Android have a lot in common. Both are competing for second place in app revenue against the juggernaut that is Apple, and both types of handsets/tablets are more affordable than iOS devices. Although Android has a leg up over Windows Phone worldwide, Microsoft’s mobile platform has a great opportunity to surpass Android in a number of emerging markets like China and Brazil.

There are many factors at play in the ongoing mobile battle between Microsoft and Google. To get a better idea of how each side stacks up, we spoke with Martin Koppel, COO at mobile payment specialist Fortumo. If Martin’s predictions are correct, Windows Phone’s continued growth in developing markets will soon put it on much more even footing with Google’s mobile OS.

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Nokia rumored to be working on dual-SIM Windows Phone

There are some of us who require a mobile phone with multiple SIMs, whether this be due to having two numbers or be frequently traveling abroad with a local SIM on-hand to avoid extreme contract fees. Nokia has dual-SIM hardware available within its Asha line of low-end smartphones, but we're yet to see a Windows Phone support this feature.

That's about to change, account to a new tweet by leakster @evleaks with the codename "Moneypenny" being thrown into the mix. We previously looked at Moneypenny when both itself and "Goldfinger" were unveiled, the former reported to introduce Jedi hand gesture support.

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Latest data from AdDuplex shows the Lumia 520 continuing to dominate. While at the same time Windows Phone 7.x concedes more market share to Windows Phone 8. Nokia finally reaches 90% dominance with Windows Phone.

What’s the current Windows Phone landscape look like? There’s really no better way to tell than by looking at the data from AdDuplex. The cross-promotion network for both Windows Phone and Windows 8 gives us insight that we might not get from places like IDC or comScore. We’ve got the report for this month and so far the biggest trend for this month is that the Lumia 520 continues to dominate.

Let’s check out the rest of the data below.

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Latest data from AdDuplex shows the Lumia 520 owning 33% of the Windows Phone global market; Nokia inches closer to 90% dominance

Another month, another very informative report from AdDuplex. As the largest cross-promotion network on Windows Phone and Windows 8, AdDuplex has been a solid source of data to get a bird’s eye view of the Windows Phone platform.  

What can we learn from the data from the past month? Globally, Windows Phone 8 is now on over 70% of handhelds running Microsoft’s mobile operating system. Read on for more insights into the world of Windows Phone.

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According to the IDC, Microsoft is still doing well in one of the largest and most important emerging markets, India. Latest figures have Windows Phone at a 5.4% market share, giving Microsoft’s mobile OS a ranking of second most popular OS in that country, ahead of the iPhone and BlackBerry.

This will be the third-consecutive quarter that Windows Phone has held that position in India, meaning this is not a variance.

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So far the Nokia Lumia 520 has been a sleeper hit. It’s the cheapest Windows Phone to date and it is constantly topping charts for in emerging markets. It seems we hear stories weekly on how the device is selling well in market after market. Here in the United States it’s available for AT&T as a GoPhone and T-Mobile sells a variant called the Lumia 521.

So how’s it going to fare against further attacks in the low-end smartphone market against competitors like Samsung and Apple?

Over at Forbes, Tero Kuittinen outlines a brinkmanship scenario where Nokia comes out on top. Don’t worry, I wasn’t familiar with the term either. Brinkmanship is the situation where you push dangerous events to the verge of disaster in the hopes that your opponents will have to make concessions and/or back down. In this case, Nokia is in a position to own the low-end smartphone market because companies like HTC, Blackberry, and Apple won’t be able to make appealing devices at low prices.

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In tech media, it’s always the big, whizz-bang devices that tend to garner the most attention from enthusiasts. After all, they tend to have a disposable income and they are at the forefront of mobile technology. They're also the loudest for complaints or praise, dominating the conversation.

The Nokia Lumia 1020 is a perfect example, coming in at nearly $700 without a subsidy and $299 with—most people can’t afford it, but it reaps the headlines. And people still want it to have better, more expensive specs. Meanwhile, mid to low range devices are met with derision and scorn as people who are in well financed, established markets chime in on a device not aimed at them. We even see it here on this site, where people just want quad-cores, 1080P displays and envelope-pushing gizmos, yet they lament devices like the Lumia 625.

But the reality of the market is that smartphone prices are dropping favoring devices like the Lumia 52x and Lumia 62x or Huawei with their Ascend W1 and W2. According to the IDC, the average smartphone price has plummeted from $450 to just $375 in the last year. That trend is expected to continue with the average price headed to $350 and lower in 2013 and that directly cuts into the profit margins of Apple and Samsung, who often bet on high-end smartphones like the iPhone 5 or Galaxy S4 (neither of which are cheap).

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Today Huawei, in partnership with Microsoft and cellular provider Airtel, announced the launch of Hauwei's W1 smartphone in Nigeria. The event took place at Airtel's headquarters in the city of Lagos. The joint event saw Huawei, who has decided to take a run at the Windows Phone market, come together with Nigeria's largest 3.75G carrier. Despite the excitement, no availability or pricing information were made available.

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Although we're not expecting too much more in terms of new Windows Phones for the next few months, Nokia is just getting the Lumia 610 into people's hands in various countries or unlocked for those who want it.

The Lumia 610 is Nokia's device for emerging markets and thus features lower specs than most users are accustomed to, in turn they are able to keep the price down, hovering below $300 contract-free.

We just had ours show up on our doorstep so we figured we would give you a quick tour. While plastic throughout the device comes in four colors including black, cyan, magenta and white, giving it quite a nice appeal. Truth be told, while it lacks the ClearBlack screen (but it does have Gorilla Glass), it's a nimble little guy and quite impressive for those who can spring for the higher-end Lumias.

Featuring a 3.7" screen, 256MB of RAM (ala "Tango"), a 5MP camera and 8GB of storage (5.59 GB available), the 610 is not particularly mind-blowing, especially with its Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 7227A  800MHz CPU, which just gets it by in terms of performance.

The bigger story of course is that this phone allows Nokia to push down into the rapidly expanding emerging markets of the world, someplace where Apple can't go but Android has with a vengeance (the quality also drops rapidly on the latter on such low-end hardware). Will the 610 be successful? All in all, it's so far not a bad experience and we imagine for many, this will be a solid Windows Phone introduction.

We'll have more over the next week on this device, so pay attention to Windows Phone Central.

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Although one would think the Lumia 610 goes far enough to compete with low-end Android devices for emerging markets, according to Niklas Savander, executive vice-president at Nokia, covering Brand, Marketing, Sales, Supply Chain, Customer Care and Information Technology, they still need to go lower:

"We are competing with Android, Android is in many markets at the €100 price already, so that would suggest that if we are at €189 with the Lumia 610 we still have work to do when it comes to creating a lower-end first-time user smartphone."

That's certainly a tall order as the Lumia 610 already ditches things like gyroscope (compass?), ClearBlack, some RAM, CPU speed and more. Other areas where Nokia could reduce costs though would be to newer-but-low-cost SOC chipsets, even cheaper screens and overall leveraging of existing production lines.

When we heard Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, speak at the Mobile World Congress last week, he mentioned how the sub-$100 smartphone will come next year, so clearly even Google has their eyes set on that milestone too. The question is will Nokia have to reduce features or will production of smartphone parts become cheaper to reach that point? More likely a combo of both.

Source: Pocket-Lint

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One of Mobile World Congress's keynote speeches just wrapped up and this one featured three different speakers: Dennis Crowley, founder and CEO of Foursquare, CEO of HTC Peter Chou and CEO of Nokia, Stephen Elop. The topic was simple: Mobile OS & Applications, specifically what challenges each CEO is facing and how the mobile OS can transform technology.

Each CEO gave their take on what they do and what they are doing for the future. Crowley is concerned with data aggregation on Foursquare and how to "give that back" to the customer in a useful manner. Chou was interested in the infinite possibilities of smartphones but more importantly how to smartly managed that e.g. HTC Sense. Finally Nokia's Elop focused on three areas:

  1. Ecosystems including big apps versus local apps, with the latter being Nokia's concern. This can be seen in things like App Highlights on their phones.
  2. Location-based services e.g. filling in the "Where? equation" on smartphones. We see this demonstrated with their Drive, Maps and Transport apps
  3. How to monetize this ecosystem for the smaller developers in emerging markets

Elop's discussion was frankly much more interesting as he was laying out, in no uncertain terms, what Nokia's plans were. They see growth in the untapped emerging markets, where 60% of cell phone users do not have a smartphone yet. He reiterated once again how he thought Nokia could be a "disruptive force" in the industry with Windows Phone (versus iOS or Android) and that Nokia had a great symmetry with Microsoft in regards to software/hardware design.

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Seems almost silly posting supposed renders of a phone that will be announced in less than 24 hours here at Mobile World Congress, but lets get on with it.

The latest stems around the Lumia 610, a low-end phone for emerging markets e.g. India which is expected to help push Nokia (and Windows Phone) deep into areas where Apple and even Android have trouble due to rising costs. The 610, according to BGR will have:

  • 3.2" screen
  • 3MP camera
  • Cost Rs 11,000 (Euro 175)
  • 256MB of RAM

Going further that image above is reportedly what it looks like. To which we all say "sure, why not?". Nokia is certainly capable of making this phone and "610" screams budget phone as the higher the numbers go, the more high end they are and vice versa for Nokia. All we can say is lets wait till tomorrow and we'll probably even see one in real life instead of shady Twitter accounts, m'kay?

Source: Twitter (@Nokia_N8); BGR

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Although Qualcomm is sitting comfortably with Microsoft and Windows Phone, it looks like their monopoly on the OS has finally given in. Today, ST-Ericsson has announced a deal with Nokia to supply low-end chipsets for upcoming Windows Phones. The deal both confirms and contradicts and earlier report about Microsoft's plans, though it does reinforce earlier rumors of a Nokia-ST Ericsson alliance.

So far, Qualcomm's chipsets, while diverse and flexible in design, have only been used in "high end" phones. Microsoft and especially Nokia though have been keen on cracking the low end market found in developing/emerging countries and ST-Ericsson will reportedly help in that area. STMicro's shares were up 4% and Ericsson's was up by 2% as of the news. From ST-Ericsson:

"We are pleased to have been selected by Nokia as a key partner for Windows smartphones, in line with our goal to be present in all segments and major operating systems," said Gilles Delfassy, president and CEO of ST-Ericsson. "Our NovaThor platforms continue to gain traction as they enable customers to bring great smartphones to the market."

This is an early breaking story so we expect more details soon. The current Lumia devices (710 and 800) both use Qualcomm chipsets and that's expected to stay the same.

Source: Reuters; Finanz Nachrichten; Specs of the U8500 chipset after the break

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