The world’s former leader in cell phone devices isn’t ashamed to admit that it’s playing catch-up. In a recent media conference at SM Megamall to introduce enhancements to its premium smartphone, Nokia even included a hashtag in its collaterals that said it all: #switchtolumia.
Will Filipinos make the big switch? Put another way, will they go back to Nokia after having tried a slew of seemingly hotter gadgets with all sorts of cool apps?
Hong Kong-based Gary Chan, Nokia’s head of marketing for “Pan Asia,” is confident that a good number of the brand’s former users will. For one, said Chan, the Lumia is the most “personalized” smartphone there is in the market today.
The Philippines, after all, was once known as “Nokia country.” The brand still enjoys a great deal of equity and prestige among Filipinos, said Chan. Nokia launched the first-generation Lumia in the Philippines almost a year ago.
“This phone, for instance, helps you tell from looking at the screen that it’s mine because it has pictures of me, my partner and things and people that are important to me,” he said, while showing us his yellow and black Lumia 920. “It’s highly customized for my life. By looking at the screen, nobody can mistake this phone for someone else’s.”
Nokia adopted and even took the social networking platform to the next level by allowing Lumia users to group contacts into family, best friends, friends, co-workers, acquaintances and, if you like, even enemies. You can prioritize these various groupings to allow you to see the preferred groups’ activities on your phone screen.
Chan hasn’t grouped any of his contacts under “enemies,” but his contacts grouped under friends notify him of posts and updates they make on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networking sites.
After you “pin” a tile containing, say, all your friends on your home screen, the phone will update you automatically. You can resize the tile to small, medium and large to limit and accommodate more tiles or groups on your screen.
“The feature works across all social networks,” said Chan. “It’s not just about apps, but apps that allow us to quickly get in and get out. If I see something interesting that my friend has posted, I can tap right away and go straight to the link. If I want to reply on a tweet he made on Twitter, I can reply to him directly through the (phone’s) OS without going to the Twitter app.”
This time, Chan introduced not one, but three new variants of the Lumia designed to appeal to varying needs and budgets. And for the first time, Nokia is inviting the public to its stores to road-test each device.
“The 920 is the big brother, while the 720 is the little sister,” he said. “If you want one that’s lighter and with a smaller four-inch screen, then go for the 520, which is the baby brother.”
They’re all new and comes at a fraction of the first-generation Lumia’s P30,000 price tag. The 720, for instance, retails at P14,590 per unit, while the 520 is priced at an affordable P7,990. Even the 920, Lumia’s top-of-the-line phone, has a suggested retail price of P24,850.
Like their predecessor, the three phones run on Windows Phone 8 OS. Nokia’s Symbian OS has become a thing of the past. In 2011, Nokia decided to “move” its smartphone OS by jointly investing and developing its Windows Phone 8 OS with Microsoft, said Chan.
Although Windows Phone 8 OS isn’t exclusive to Nokia, the Finish cellphone pioneer reportedly activates four out of five Windows Phone 8 devices. Because of this development, Nokia believes it has redeveloped a “great” relationship with erstwhile as well as new consumers. In turn, these consumers are responding positively with what the brand has to offer.
“The game-changer is not just the OS, but the hardware that goes with it,” said Chan. “For instance, we have some assets unique to Nokia, and we went to our R&D archive to highlight it. Last year, we started equipping our Lumias with cameras with high megapixels.”
Nokia has raised the bar through its new-generation Lumias: 8.7 MP for the 920; 6.7 MP for the 720; and 5 MP for the 520.
It’s a fitting move since Nokia pioneered in cell phones with built-in cameras. Thanks to Lumia’s so-called Optical Image Stabilization feature, your photos no longer appear blurry in dim or low-lit conditions.
“The feature is very useful when you’re taking pictures in dark places, and your camera needs more light,” said Chan. “It also keeps your photos from looking blurry at the slightest hand shake.”
Finally, to give its users added mobility, especially when traveling for the first time in a major town or city, Nokia has equipped its Lumia devices with Here, a navigational platform that includes maps, transit routes, places of interest and even traffic data. Nokia has enabled Lumia users to download maps of frequented places on their phones.
At the moment, said Chan, the feature is exclusive to Nokia. And not a few travelers have sworn by Here’s accuracy and usefulness.
“It’s a free download that provides turn-by-turn navigation,” said Chan. “In effect, it becomes your sight map when traveling. And unlike most mapping providers, it saves you money because you don’t need to connect to data networks while abroad to enable it.”