By Prince Osuagwu
There is so much noise, particularly in the Nigerian market, about Nokia’s brand of windows phone tagged the Lumia portfolio. Even with the way the device maker is promoting the ranges, it creates a lot of curiosity as what could be in these devices that have not been seen before.
So when Hi-tech recently cornered the company’s Nigeria General Manager, Mr Chris Brown, the questions were centered around what distinguishes Lumia with other Nokia brands that seems to see it swallow a great chunk of Nokia promotions.
However, in a few minutes we were able to discover that besides being a flagship windows debut for Nokia, there’s also emotional attachment involved as the portfolio shows prospects getting it back to the market top spot which it relinquished to competition a couple of years back. Brown’s account here, clearly testifies that. Enjoy the excerpts.
The noise about Lumia, everywhere is deafening. is there any special thing why it should be so?
I leave you to judge what you will make of a phone that can easily sync into your office files because it is windows. A device with intuitive user interface, built aesthetically and fits the pocket of every strata of income earner. If all these are not worth the interestsw , well, I don’t know what else.
You introduced new ranges, 520 and 720 that are relatively entry level phones in Nigeria recently. Was it a good strategy to come behind other OEMs with same windows entry level devices?
We brought out the Lumia portfolio and started releasing them in ranges. This ranges, Lumia 520 and 720 are about the most cost effective windows phones. We deliberately introduced them here to enable Nigerian subscribers who are longing for smartphones to join the train and not cut out of the smartphone experience. Because we have discovered that a lot of Nigerian users are trendy and fashionable, we incorporate rich user experience, wonderful features and different colours into the phone, to actually give the user an opportunity of a choice. Remember, irrespective of the fact that the phones were made with entry level users in mind; the phones are Windows OS, with all the features of a high end phone.
You seem to be introducing these phones here much later, after it has gained ground in other markets, why?
The company, generally chooses which phones to introduce and where to introduce them. Nigeria is an emerging market with great potentials and Nokia attaches a lot of importance to this market because of its significance to our growth. We introduce products that will add value to the market and also to our own operations. If we introduce a product elsewhere before Nigeria, it is definitely not because we look down on Nigeria market. It is prime to us and we are proud of the prospects we get here.
Since last year that you introduced the first Lumia ranges 900,710,610, what percentage of the market have you amassed?
Its not about market share, we have succeeded in making people aware of the Lumia ranges and the rich functionalities that can give consumers satisfaction. Remember, we have also launched the Lumia 720 before this launch. In fact the interest has been growing week after week. We believe that the awareness that has been created about Lumia and the bug it’s catching among Nigerian users will lead to increase in volume sales and greater market share. We will continue to invest and accelerate growth of Lumia in Nigeria
With the level of competition in the windows space, can Nokia ever get the market back?
Competition is healthy. In the smartphone market, there is a lot of competition. A lot of new vendors coming up with millions of new devices everyday. The competition is intense. We as Nokia, also identified in 2011 that the development of what we were doing in the old platform was not going to make a great impact in the smartphone. So we made a shift in the 2011 and what we have seen today even in our group financial results shows that the shift to Lumia was a great one and has helped a lot.
We are happy with the prospects we have seen in Lumia and will continue highlight the portfolio. Now we are investing in branding, trying to show the consumers the value Lumia can give. We are looking forward and never will look backwards, we are going to make the products available, particularly in this region that we have identified as having class and style and with the way things are going, Nokia has no problem at all. Nokia Purview 808 is one of devices you introduced with a lot of fanfare and the functionalities kind of caught the bug among many generations that can use it for different goals. Suddenly Nokia is no longer talking about it. Is there any defect you spotted that the public does not know
Not really. Pure view is another top brand that Nokia developed. It’s a product which stands out of the crowd in terms of features and particularly the camera technology. The device is so dear in our mind and a lot of competition have leveraged on the technologies imbued in the 808 PureView to enrich their own products. We are not keeping quiet on it. I will only implore you to keep your eyes and ears open and watch the space to see what developments that would be coming in the nearest future, about the PureView device. It was meant to be a surprise, I didn’t know you would touch that spot.
We made a mistake in under promoting the features of the device. However, we don’t chose what and what not to promote in a phone. But like I have said, watch out how we are going to correct that mistake in the shortest possible time.