MANILA, Philippines — Struggling Finnish phone brand Nokia is hoping to regain its local market share lost to other mobile vendors with the upcoming release of the Nokia Asha 305, a low-priced touchscreen phone for the mass market.
Set to be available on store displays by the end of July, Nokia’s fresh attempt at the low-cost phone segment is powered by its proprietary Series 40 OS, which helped propel it to market leadership in the past several years.
Donning a P3,890 price tag, the Asha 305 comes with a 2-megapixel camera, a 2GB memory card, and a hot-swappable dual SIM card slot, which allows for easy swapping of up to five SIM cards.
As a promotion for the cheap phone’s launch, Nokia said the Asha 305 will come out of the box with an exclusive Electronics Arts Games Pack, which include best-selling mobile game titles such as Tetris, Bejeweled, Need for Speed, and The Sims, among others.
Announced in early June, Nokia’s new series of touchscreen phones is its latest attempt to claw back into the highly competitive mobile race now dominated by smartphone vendors such as Samsung and Apple.
Over the past years, Nokia’s global market share was rapidly eroded by the increasing preference of consumers for software-flexible smartphones and compounded by its risky move to gamble with Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform, a relatively untested and unpopular mobile OS in the market.
In the past months, the Finnish phone manufacturer had to cut corners by announcing massive layoffs and plant and office closures in its efforts to stay afloat aboard what has now been popularly referred to as a “burning platform,” Nokia Chief executive Stephen Elop’s allusion to its legacy Symbian OS.
Just recently, Nokia announced a 50-percent price cut for its flagship Lumia phones in the US barely three months after launch as it caves from competition from rivals in the smartphone market.
In its latest data release, GfK Philippines indicated that while feature phones — where Nokia had traditionally been a strong player — continue to enjoy vast market share locally, smartphones are beginning to reach mainstream status as one in three phones sold in the country for the first five months of the year belonged to the smartphone category.