Nokia's Lumia 1020 camera bet may not be enough to challenge rivals

Rumours are rife that Nokia will unveil a new Lumia smartphone with a 41-megapixel camera on Thursday, with reports speculating that the new Windows Phone-based device will be called the Lumia 1020.

Nokia is expected to unveil the new device complete with Xenon flash in New York at its Zoom Reinvented event, which has been marketed under the slogan "41 million reasons to zoom in."

Sources told Reuters that the camera technology would be the device's main selling point, and the Daily Telegraph added that a 41-megapixel camera compares extremely favourably with the iPhone 5's 8-megapixel camera and LED flash.

However, analysts are sceptical that the advanced camera will persuade users to choose its new smartphone over an Apple iPhone or Samsung smartphone, thus enabling Nokia to regain market share.

Reuters said the new smartphone is expected to be the most advanced of the Lumia range, noting that Nokia already has a 41-megapixel camera on its 808 PureView phone but that model runs on the Symbian platform, which is being phased out.

"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," Francisco Jeronimo, an analyst at research firm IDC, told Reuters.

Pointing to Nokia's reduced cash reserves, Jeronimo has raised doubts about the company's ability to market the device aggressively enough to consumers. Indeed, Nokia's cash base is being further dented by its plan to buy out Siemens' 50 per cent stake in the Nokia Siemens Networks joint venture.

Analysts remain concerned about Nokia's cash burn, which was believed to be as much as €800 million in the second quarter, and have called for the manufacturer to take a slow and steady approach to building market share, rather than accelerate cash burn further still.

Nokia has certainly generated enough speculation ahead of the event, providing it with a level of news coverage that will not be unwelcome. It has its work cut out to improve its smartphone sales further: Lumia sales still represent a fraction of the smartphone market as the Windows Phone operating system from Microsoft continues to struggle against the might of iOS and Android.

Indeed, the Telegraph noted that Nokia has sold around 20 million Lumia devices in the past two yerars, compared with 248 million iPhones and 800 million Android phones.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this Daily Telegraph article

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