Nokia to tap MidEast passion for smartphones

Giant’s share of MENA smartphone market higher than global average

Tags: Nokia Middle East and Africa
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Nokia to tap MidEast passion for smartphones Nokia says it has better penetration in ME markets than it has in other locations.
By  Ed Attwood Published  September 25, 2010

Nokia's share of the Middle East and Africa smartphone market is outperforming its share of the global sector, and device owners locally are some of the most actively engaged consumers in the world, a company spokesperson has said.

Speaking to Arabian Business, Steve Lewis, head of marketing, Middle East and Africa, Nokia, said: "If you look globally at smartphone shares, we had around 40% with our Symbian platform, and in the Middle East and Africa [MEA], we're even stronger."

Lewis did not reveal Nokia's exact share in the MEA smartphone market but said that local interest in using devices for more than one reason was a driver behind the firm's success.

The executive said: "If you look at music usage, or photos, general use of the handset across many dimensions is very high."

He added: "Markets like Saudi Arabia are very actively using their devices all across entertainment, all across imaging, and all across sharing."

Lewis also indicated that the level of interest in social networking in the Middle East was high, with Facebook usage "almost double" that of many other markets.

Nokia is hoping to further tap into the lucrative appetites in the MENA market with the launch of its latest smartphone, the N8, which uses the Symbian 3 operating system for the first time.

Although the device was initially scheduled to launch in the third quarter of this year, speakers at the N8's pre launch, held in Dubai on Wednesday, admitted that the phone was now more likely to be in consumers' hands in October.

Other than the N8, Nokia is also unveiling the C6 and C7 models, as well as the E7, which is designed specifically for business users.

The E7 features a four inch screen and a full QWERTY pull out keyboard. It comes preloaded with Microsoft Mail for Exchange as a productivity tool, and allows users to both view and edit a series of Microsoft applications such as Powerpoint.

Nokia is hoping that the four models will help it reclaim its place as the innovator in the global smartphone market, where it has not produced a hit product since the N95 in 2006.

The world's largest manufacturer of mobile devices - with 33% of market share - was rocked earlier this year when second quarter operating profit plummeted by 15%.

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