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Nokia launches 'last chance' phone

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Nokia launches 'last chance' phone

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Nokia unveiled its most powerful smartphone ever on Wednesday in what may be the struggling Finnish company’s last major shot at winning back a market lost to Apple, Samsung and Google.

The stakes are high for both Nokia and Microsoft.

The new Lumia 920 and smaller Lumia 820 run on the latest Windows Phone operating software which Microsoft hopes will rival Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android which currently dominate the market.

Analysts were initially less than impressed and Nokia’s shares plummeted 15 percent shortly after the unveiling, to 1.94 euros.

The Lumia 920 sports “Pureview” camera technology to reduce blurring from hand motion, and wireless charging capability. Powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor, it comes with augmented reality technology that lets users see details of their surroundings through the camera.

The phone – available in yellow or red – sports a bigger, brighter 4.5-inch screen than Nokia’s previous
smartphones, taking a page from rivals such as Samsung, which has backed larger displays in past years. It comes with an 8.7 megapixel camera, in line with rival devices, but Nokia hopes the “Pureview” technology will give it an edge.

“The Lumia 920 feels like more of an evolution of existing Lumia phones than the revolution we expected from the close collaboration between Nokia and Microsoft,” said Ben Wood, head of research at CCS Insight. The two companies “will have to spend eye-watering sums on marketing and offer the new phones at aggressively low prices.”

If the new phones do not appeal to consumers, it could spell the end for loss-making Nokia and deal a serious blow to Microsoft’s attempts to regain its footing in the market.

Nokia has posted more than three billion euros in operating losses in the past 18 months, forcing it to cut 10,000 jobs and pursue asset sales.

Its share of the global smartphone market has plunged to less than 10 percent from 50 percent during its heyday, before the iPhone was launched in 2007.

Windows phones have only captured 3.7 percent of the global smartphone market, according to Strategy Analytics. Android phones have 68 percent, while Apple has 17 percent.