Nokia to focus marketing more on products and features, less on Lumia brand

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BARCELONA, Spain--Nokia (NYSE:NOK) plans to shift its marketing for its Lumia line running Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone software this year away from the Windows Phone and Lumia brands and more toward Nokia-specific products and unique features, according to a Nokia executive.

Nokia has spent the last year and a half trying to build its Lumia brand and help Microsoft gain momentum with Windows Phone, so far to mixed success. In the fourth quarter Nokia sold 9.3 million Asha phones, more than twice the 4.4 million Lumias it sold. During the second half of 2012, Nokia shipped 15.8 million Asha phones, compared with 7.3 million Lumias. Microsoft captured 3 percent of the global smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2012, up from 1.8 percent in the year-ago period, according to Gartner.

However, now Nokia will move to highlight its differentiating features, including its Here location platform and imaging capabilities, according to Samuli Hänninen, Nokia's vice president of smart devices. Nokia announced that its Here Maps, Drive and Transit services will soon come to non-Nokia Windows Phones. The company also rebranded its augmented reality City Lens service as "LiveSight," which also powers a new service called Place Tag, which adds location stamps to photos with relevant information.

Hänninen said Nokia's Lumia marketing will evolve from "brand-led to being product-led. Those are the things we are doing as we speak." He hastened to emphasize that in the U.S. market, carrier partners and Microsoft have a strong say in Nokia's marketing.

In terms of how Nokia will continue to differentiate, Hänninen said pointed to Place Tag as an indicator, since it combines both location and imaging capabilities. He said Nokia will continue to bring high-end features to lower price points, as it did with Lumia 720, which Nokia introduced Monday. That device's f/1.9 aperture and exclusive Carl Zeiss optics are designed to deliver higher-quality photos in low light. Hänninen said Nokia continues to work on bringing things like its PureView high-end camera technology to more devices, but he did not indicate when it would do so.

"We want to make sure that experience is perfect when we get ready," he said. "I don't want to [release] any half-baked products" just to get into a war over specifications.

Hänninen said he thinks most of Nokia's smartphone innovation will continue to happen at the high end but that Nokia will continue to filter those features down to mid-range and low-end devices. "Without compromising on the differentiators we need to be able to bring them down both to the mid-tier and low-tier." He also said Nokia will continue to "differentiate on every price point."

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