Nokia plans ‘phablet’ in new handset range

Device usable as phone and tablet will be similar in size to Samsung’s Galaxy Note

Among the products planned by Nokia for this year is a lighter and more advanced version of the existing flagship Lumia 920. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Among the products planned by Nokia for this year is a lighter and more advanced version of the existing flagship Lumia 920. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

 

Nokia aims to revitalise its smartphone business with flagship launches this year including a move into the supersized tablet phone market.

The Finnish handset maker has lost groundto rivals such as Samsung and Apple in recent years in smartphones. It aims to turn around its business with a wide range of devices - in effect, taking the opposite approach to Apple, which focuses on just one phone every year.

Several high-end smartphones are planned this year to add momentum to the slow growth in sales of its Lumia smartphones that use Microsoft’s Windows software, which are still dwarfed by Apple and ­Samsung.

The Lumia range is seen as key to the future of Nokia, which abandoned its own operating system for an exclusive partnership with Windows two years ago.

Those with knowledge of the company’s plans said the most innovative would be a device that could work as a phone and a tablet – known as a “phablet” – similar in size but with more advanced specifications to Samsung’s popular Galaxy Note.

This will be the Finnish group’s first move with Lumia into the larger-screened mobile smart devices market, where Apple and Samsung have already established a dominant position.

Nokia will also launch the first Lumia smartphone to use its advanced Pureview imaging technology, according to those familiar with the plans, with a July launch being considered for a handset that has a 40 megapixel camera and a flash.

Other launches being planned include a lighter and more advanced version of the existing flagship Lumia 920 unveiled last year as well as another, lower priced version in the autumn. Nokia declined to comment.

Nokia will today reveal its first-quarter results, which are expected to show that it is only gradually growing smartphone sales. Analysts expect the company to ship about 5.5m Lumia smartphone units in the quarter, upfrom 4.4m in the last quarter of its financial year.

Sales of Windows phones have overall begun to build after a slow start two years ago, although there have been fears among some operators over the pace of momentum in certain markets after high-profile phone launches last year.

Nokia is planning to work closely with mobile operators to encourage sales, with exclusive phone launches being lined up with carriers around the world. (c) 2013 The Financial Times Limited