Nokia joins tablet party with Lumia 2520 launch

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£309 device has 10.1-inch HD display, 6.7MP front camera and 32GB of internal memory

Nokia finally entered the tablet market last week, unveiling its new Lumia 2520 handset during its annual Nokia World event in Abu Dhabi.

The device marks a change in strategy for the company which, despite seeing rivals Apple, Samsung, BlackBerry, HTC, LG and Sony all launch tablet devices in the past three years (with mixed success), has taken a back seat to see how the market plays out.

And you can understand the manufacturer’s cautious approach. After all, Nokia was stung hard when it made a late attempt to break into the laptop space in 2009 with the ill-fated Nokia Booklet, which launched just a year before Apple’s first iPad was launched and the subsequent decline of the PC market kicked in.

But with analysts predicting that the tablet market will reach 665 million users within three years, the same mistake is unlikely and tablets can no longer be ignored.

But as Elop noted at the event, many manufacturers before it have largely failed to make a serious dent in the share of Apple’s iPad, which has around 39 per cent of the market, with Samsung’s Galaxy range back in second on 17.9 per cent.

Features
So what is Nokia doing differently  to avoid becoming just another entrant in an “overcrowded and fragmented” space, as Nokia UK and Ireland MD Conor Pierce labelled it at Nokia World 2011
in London.

From the point of view of features, the Lumia 2520 is a match for anything in the market today. It includes a 10.1-inch HD display (which we’ll discuss in greater detail shortly), a 6.7-megapixel rear camera and is the first tablet to include a Zeiss optics lens, as well as a two-megapixel front-facing camera.

It is also packs 32GB of internal memory which can be expanded by a further 32GB with a microSD card. And it is comparatively cheap at £309, particularly when compared to the iPad Air equivalent (32GB Wi-Fi, plus SIM slot) costing £579.

Partnerships
But features don’t always guarantee sales, as many of the execs of Apple’s rival manufacturers will testify.

The key, says Elop, is partnerships, and not simply  adding an operating system (Android) and hoping it will sell, he suggests.

Elop believes its close collaboration with strategic partner (and impending owner) Microsoft for its Windows OS,and the continued quarterly sales growth in its Lumia smartphone range will give it that point of difference required.

“If you look closely at the Android space, you will see many  which have fallen by the wayside because one vendor quickly rose to dominance and we recognised that threat,” Elop said. “So we determined that the best strategy was to partner with Microsoft and have a fundamentally different strategy.”

He continued: “We have made some big developments to the Lumia family, but we can go even larger – and we are.

“The award-winning design, the breakthrough imaging innovation and the new experiences that we have brought to you with Lumia smartphones, we are now bringing to the tablet market. The Lumia 2520 is a natural extension to the Lumia family.”

Fundamental changes
One of the main objectives, according to Elop, was to change the DNA of when tablets were actually used.

Elop explained that tablets were typically used for gaming, books and web-surfing, but “scientific” research shows that the peak times they are used is between 6am and 8am, and 6pm and 9pm – when customers are at home.

Elop says the Lumia 2520 has been designed to be used throughout the day – in the same way as you would use your mobile phone.

“Your tablet should be mobile and as connected as you,” said Elop.

“Our approach is to give people a tablet which is actually mobile.”

Design and connectivity
Key to this is design and connectivity. Elop, as all manufacturers have echoed previously, says the Lumia 2520 has been designed for comfort.

It weighs 615g (Apple Air, 478g) and is 8.9mm (Apple Air 7.5mm)  thick, with slimmed-down edges making it feel “light” and “easy to hold”.

“We designed the Lumia 2520 to feel great in your hands,” Elop said.

24/7 connectivity
However, the most important aspect, and key to “getting it out the house”, as Elop put it, is connectivity.

The Lumia 2520 is LTE / 4G compatible, using a “high speed” Qualcomm 8974 chipset, and includes both Wi-Fi and network SIM compatibility.

Elop explained research showed 80 per cent of tablets currently being used are Wi-Fi only – limiting their usage from a connectivity perspective – and ultimately less appealing to network operators, due to no ongoing revenues.

For that reason, Nokia will not be offering a Lumia 2520 Wi-Fi only option.

“We have designed the Lumia 2520 to get it out of the house, and making it mobile means it has to connect anywhere so it can be used anywhere. Operators are responding really well to this approach because 80 per cent of tablets today are Wi-Fi only, so there is a revenue opportunity as more tablets become mobile.”

Full article in Mobile News issue 551 (November 4, 2013).

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