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Nokia launches first tablet, phablet phones

23 October 2013, 06:33

ABU DHABI, Oct 22, 2013 (AFP) -Nokia, whose handset division is to be acquired by Microsoft, launched its first-ever tablet computer in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, aiming for a stake in a fast expanding sector.

The Windows 10-inch screen tablet, Lumia 2520, was one of six new devices unveiled in the Emirati capital, including two so-called "phablets" -- large screen smartphones.

The Nokia Lumia 2520, available in red and white in a glossy finish as well as cyan and black in matte, is to go on sale in the United States at an estimated price of $499 by the end of the year.

"Initial roll out is to begin broadly in the US as well as the UK and Finland, with additional countries to follow shortly after," the company said in a statement.

"The award-winning design, the breakthrough imaging innovation, and the new experiences that we have brought to you with the Lumia smartphones we are bringing them to the tablet," Stephen Elop, executive vice president at Nokia Devices & Services, told reporters.

The device has a 6.7 MegaPixel camera and Zeiss optics.

Later on Tuesday in San Francisco, Apple was expected to show off slick new iPads to take on rival tablet makers in the runup to end-of-year holidays.

Industry tracker Gartner this week forecast that global tablet shipments will reach 184 million units this year, in a massive 53.4 percent rise from last year.

The Nokia phablets, Lumia 1520 and a less-expensive Lumia 1320, have a six-inch screen.

The Nokia Lumia 1520 "delivers a brilliant image experience," said Elop. "It has optical image stabilisation. It has the latest technology to capture more details in every picture you take."

The Lumia 1520, available in yellow, white, black and glossy red, will first be released in the United States, Hong Kong, China, Singapore as well as European markets with an estimated price of $749.

The 1320 version, to be available in orange, yellow, white, and black, will sell for around $339 and first go sale in China and Vietnam, followed by other Asian markets and Europe.

Three new low-cost smartphones -- Nokia Asha 500, Asha 502 and Asha 503 -- are mainly targeted at developing markets in Asia and Africa.

The Asha 503, which includes a five MegaPixel camera and comes with a dual SIM option, is most expensive among the three costing around $99.

Microsoft, which is trying to refocus the company around "devices and services" after missing out on the transition to mobile computing, announced in September it will buy Nokia's mobile phone division.

The deal worth $7.2 billion gives Microsoft Nokia's mobile phone operations along with an array of patents and licenses to help compete with rivals Google and Apple, as well as Samsung.

Nokia pioneered the mobile phone and dominated the market for 14 years, until it was overtaken by South Korea's Samsung in 2012 as the top-selling brand.

The company, long the pride of Finland, was blindsided by the shift to smartphones and struggled to fight off increasing competition from Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy.

Microsoft and Nokia have been partnered since 2011, co-creating Nokia's Lumia line of smartphones using Microsoft's Windows Phone software.

A Nokia distributor in Portugal, Agnieszka Loureiro-Pelc, told AFP that the deal with Microsoft "will definitely be a boost for the new development of Nokia."

Despite strong competition, "recent months have shown that the last Lumia products are quite strong and able to face the competitors," said Loureiro-Pelc, managing director at Azinor group.



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