Jul 12, 2013

    Latest Nokia phone boasts 41MP cam

    NOKIA is expected to unveil a new smartphone with a 41MP camera today, banking on advanced optics to make up for meagre marketing resources and a limited range of phone apps.

    However, analysts are sceptical that a new camera for the flagship Lumia smartphone will be enough for the Finnish company to regain market share from rivals Samsung and Apple.

    Several said that Nokia needs to market the handsets more aggressively - a tough challenge in the face of its dwindling cash reserves after years of poor sales and the decision this month to buy Siemens' stake in their equipment joint venture.

    "What I'm expecting to see is a powerful device that will differentiate it from competitors' high-end handsets. But whether this will be enough to compete with Samsung and Apple, I doubt it," said Mr Francisco Jeronimo of research firm IDC.

    "They need to raise the level of awareness. They may have the best camera, the best maps, but if consumers don't really know what they can do, that's not enough."

    Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop has bet the company's future on smartphones running Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system.

    While simpler feature phones still account for the bulk of Nokia's handset shipments, smartphones are viewed as crucial to its survival because of their higher margins, increasing demand for Internet access and consumers' growing tendency to switch to cheaper models made by Asian manufacturers.

    While existing Lumias have won positive reviews from critics and technology blogs, they have struggled against Samsung's handsets, which use Google's Android operating system, and Apple's iPhones, which run on iOS.

    IDC estimated that Android and iOS devices accounted for 92.3 per cent of all smartphone shipments in the first quarter of this year. Windows Phone, meanwhile, accounted for 3.2 per cent, with a shortage of apps proving to be a major handicap.

    Windows Phone has only 160,000 apps in its store, while rivals offer about five times as many because developers prefer to make them for the higher-volume operating systems.

    The new phone is expected to be the most advanced of the Lumia range. Nokia already has a 41MP camera in its 808 PureView phone, but that model runs on the Symbian platform, which is being phased out.

    The camera on the 808 PureView, which uses Carl Zeiss optics, has been widely praised for taking high-quality pictures even with zoom activated.

    A 41MP count far exceeds those of the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom, at 8MP and 16MP, respectively. It is also higher than those of some compact cameras, though the number of megapixels does not necessarily mean better photos, because factors such as lens quality also affect the end result.

    Recent Lumia phones have emphasised advanced camera features, including the Lumia 920's "floating lens" technology to adjust for camera shake, and six-lens optics on the Lumia 925 to produce sharper images.

    Nokia has not given details about the latest upgrade, but a source confirmed that the camera technology would be its main selling point, and the company's website promises "41 million reasons" to tune in to the event in New York.