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MWC 2012: Nokia Targets Android Users

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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Stephen Elop says his company is ready for the “war of the ecosystems”

Nokia’s main aim will be to get Android users to switch to Windows Phone, CEO Stephen Elop told Mobile World Congress (MWC) this week.

Elop set out the Finnish manufacturer’s plans to persuade Android users to switch platforms in his keynote speech at the event in Barcelona.

Fighting talk

“Our focus is on competing with Android,” Elop told the audience in Barcelona. He acknowledged the achievements of Nokia’s competitors, before pointing out their weaknesses.

Apple created the ecosystem approach with iTunes and the AppStore, he said, but its closed approach blocked innovation and created a “vacuum” in the industry, which Google exploited with a more open system.

Windows Phone had to respond to both these forces, he admitted, claiming that the company’s road map was inspiring confidence from mobile operators in the prospects for Windows Phone, according to a report on CNet.

The Nokia CEO was keen to stress the aesthetic qualities of its Lumia range and hit out against the relatively boring design of most modern smartphones.

“Design really does matter because of the sea of black and charcoal gray,” Elop said. “Homogeneity is not good for consumers.” The company does practice what it preaches, as Lumia handsets are some of the most colourful devices on the market.

Nokia is still the biggest mobile manufacturer in the world by volume, but has seen its share of the smartphone market crumble in the face of Apple with its iOS and Android manufacturers such as Motorola, Samsung and HTC. In an effort to reverse this trend, it agreed a strategic partnership with Microsoft last year for its smartphones to run Windows Phone. Nokia had sold one million Windows Phone 7 handsets last year with just two devices in the range – Lumia 710 and 800.

At MWC, Nokia launched the Symbian-based 808 PureView, which has a 41 megapixel camera, and the Lunia 610, its cheapest Windows Phone handset to date.

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