Nokia to ship Windows Phone in time for holiday sales

Finland's Nokia Corp., the world's largest mobile phone maker by volume, will ship Nokia Windows Phones in time for Christmas holiday sales, analysts expect, but they are divided on the numberof smartphones based on Microsoft Corp.'s platform it could launch at the Nokia World 2011 event in London later this month.

Nokia Chief Executive Stephen Elop has been pushing hard to get a new Windows Phone device out in the market in the fourth quarter, so the company hasn't had enough time to truly differentiate its first Windows Phone handset from those produced by competitors Samsung Electronics Co. and HTC Corp., analysts say. "It is more likely that Nokia launch a standard Windows Phone on Qualcomm chipset given the time since Nokia announced its new strategy and the launch event," said Nomura analyst Carmen Boyero.

The priority for Nokia is most certainly to get something on the market and then gradually learn from that and update," she added.

However, the new Windows Phone 7.5 platform, codenamed Mango, has got plenty of positive feedback, and that could help boost consumers' interest to buy, said Swedbank analyst Jari Honko.

Swedbank has a buy recommendation and a EUR5.40 price target on Nokia. Nokia shares are down 45% at EUR4.60 since Elop announced on Feb. 11 that the company will make Microsoft's Windows Phone its main smartphone platform, part of a strategy overhaul that aims to recover the significant ground it has lost to rivals like Apple Inc. with its iPhone and the surge in phones based on Google Inc.'s Android.

Nokia has seen its global handset market share drop to 22.8% in the second quarter from 30.3% in the same period a year ago. In the smartphone market, Nokia's old Symbian operating system has had an even more dramatic fall, down to 22.1% in the second quarter from 40.9% last year.

"This first Windows Phone launch is of course important for Nokia but I don't expect it to launch anything completely different from what Samsung and HTC are making," said Pohjola analyst Hannu Rauhala.

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17 June 2024

16 06 2024