Technology giants Sony and Nokia unveiled new mobile phones yesterday in bids to increase their shares of the smartphone market.
The handsets, which were shown at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, displayed very different strategies in attempting to carve out a slice of the lucrative but ferociously competitive market.
Japanese firm Sony showcased its Xperia Z2 smartphone and tablet range, which will introduce high-resolution video technology to the mobile market for the first time.
Nokia’s X series of phones will target emerging markets with simple, low-cost handsets.
Aimed at the demanding Asian market, the Z2’s 20.7 megapixel camera will offer four times the detail of an HD camera and will be the world’s first waterproof smartphone and tablet, according to Sony.
The new device will also feature digital noise-cancelling technology, and is for its size the slimmest and lightest phone and tablet, the company said. The Z2 will go on global sale next month.
Sony president Kunimasa Suzuki said: “We have redefined the smartphone once again through our camera. Xperia Z2 offers an innovative experience that captures memories in stunning detail through 4K video shooting, or offers new ways to use the camera with our unique Xperia camera apps.”
The new devices aim to consolidate Sony’s position behind Apple and Samsung in the smartphone market.
Finnish company Nokia also announced the release of its first smartphone to run on the Android system.
The Nokia X, X+ and XL will use Google’s Android operating system, rather than Microsoft’s Windows Phone technology featured in Nokia’s Lumia range, even though Microsoft is in the process of buying Nokia.
However, the low-cost Nokia X devices will not feature many of the Google services that come with Android, and instead emphasise Microsoft services such as Bing, Skype and Outlook.
Microsoft is buying Nokia’s phone business and patent rights in a £4.5 billion deal expected to be completed next month. The cheapest device in the new range, the Nokia X, has a four-inch screen and will retail at £73. It will be available in green, red, cyan, yellow, black and white.
Barely a decade ago, Nokia had dominated the phone market, but failed to anticipate the advent of Apple’s iPhone or the software revolution it would usher in.
The buying up of Nokia by Microsoft is seen as a way for the two companies to engage with the fast-moving sector successfully.
The Finnish firm, which is committed to connecting the “next billion” to the internet, also launched a further two low-cost devices, the Nokia Asha 230, priced at £37 and the Nokia 220, priced at £24.
Stephen Elop, executive vice- president of Nokia, said: “Nokia has connected billions of people around the world, and today we demonstrated how our portfolio is designed to connect the next billion people to great experiences.”
He said that their “deliberate approach” was to offer four tiers of products, including the new entry-level devices primarily for “growth economies” and their existing Lumia devices, which was where Nokia “introduce the greatest innovation and provide full compatibility with the Microsoft experience”.