Last week Nokia South Africa offered local media the opportunity to view a number of products that are scheduled for release to the African market. Although the portfolio included a number of current models, the objective was to showcase all products the company is currently working on – including the company’s new flagship Lumia 1020 smartphone.
Gerard Brandjes, Vice President for Nokia in South and East Africa, spoke to ITNewsAfrica during a roundtable discussion about the Lumia 1020 smartphone and Nokia’s operations in Africa.
While anticipation for the new device is high, Brandjes was quick to clarify that an exact release date had not yet been announced.
“The Lumia 1020 will be available well before Christmas. I can’t give you an exact date yet, we are working with the operators as we speak to make sure that we are fully ready,” he said.
Asked whether all the products on show during the press event would be made available throughout Africa, Brandjes said, “The products that we announced today will be available in South Africa, Kenya and the surrounding markets. If you look at the African continent, we have business operations in most of the 64 countries on the continent. Some of our business operations are through distributors, so those devices will be available in our key focus markets – for example the Nokia 210 is now available, the 208 in a couple of weeks, the 620 after that, and then the 925 and 1020 well before Christmas.”
While not all Nokia devices will be available in all African countries, Brandjes said that most devices are similar in nature. “I think one of the other points to note is that a lot of the devices that may not always be available in South Africa may be available in others, because we work through our retail and operator partners. If you go into some of the other African markets, there will be a bit of a different portfolio – sometimes dual-SIM is more prominent, but most of the devices are similar throughout the various African countries.”
Nokia maintains a mixed portfolio of high-end and lower-priced devices. Brandjes revealed that Nokia had created separate business units that focus on each segment.
“At a high level, what is common between the cheaper and high-end portfolios is the Nokia brand and the value that we bring, and the equity that we have been able to create over the last decade – the reliability, the durability and the ease of use. It’s a common unifying factor, but I think what we have done rather well on a corporate level is that we have different business groups,” says Brandjes.
“We have a group called the Mobile Phone business group, which has their own R&D capability, own product expertise and then develop their own products, which is the Asha space. Then we have a similar group called the Smart Devices business group which again has their own R&D capabilities,” he continued.
On Nokia’s recipe for success-
“As we bring technology and innovation to your high-end devices, we filter that down to your lower-end devices. That has been fundamental to our success.”
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Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor