The E72 with its superb email features stands out as the favourite phone
Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, Nokia’s president and CEO, faced a tough 2009. Though profits and revenue continued to improve, they were consistently below shareholders’ and analysts’ expectations. Part of the challenge came from stiff competition from Apple and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry in the lucrative smartphones category in the more mature markets. Analysts say while Nokia’s been making smartphones for a long time now (remember the original Communicator with a QWERTY keyboard?), innovative and state-of-the-art phones from the likes of RIM and Apple have somewhat taken the sheen away from the Finnish phone giant.
“We continue to face tough competition with respect to the high end of our mobile device portfolio,” Kallasvuo said in recent statement while rolling out a “portfolio renewal” plan.
Nokia now appears to be responding aggressively. Last year in early December it rolled out a new addition to its E Series of business phones, the E72, which many say can give comparable phones from competition a run for their money. The E72, Nokia’s business and personal phone targeted at young professionals, seems to have made quite an impact in India already. The Brand Derby survey respondents voted it as the fourth most successful launch across all categories in 2009, which also makes it the most successful phone launch of 2009. The QWERTY-keyboard phone boasts top-order email and messaging functionality creating bruising competition for the likes of RIM’s BlackBerry.
“According to research by Nokia, globally people are spending an average of five full days a year — equivalent to a full work week — responding to email. Close to half of the consumers (46 per cent) choose email over voice or text to send and receive important information. And so a highly dependable and flexible email and messaging functionality for both professional and personal use was a priority,” says Viral Oza, head of activation (media & online marketing), Nokia India.
The E72 comes with onboard clients for Mail for Exchange and IBM Lotus Notes Traveler — as much as 90 per cent of corporate emails are within these two clients. Besides, it can handle up to ten email accounts simultaneously. The easy interface allows the user to easily toggle between the clients instead of logging in and out. It includes an Opti NAVI Key for more intuitive scrolling through menus, email, documents and fast panning of images.
Office capabilities include a new version of Quickoffice which delivers Microsoft Office 2007 compatibility. It also boasts maps with free GPS navigation feature, and LAN/broadband connectivity. “The E72 is targeted at the young professional who doesn’t want to compromise on productivity or features, aspires for something stylish and at the same time wants the best value proposition in terms of price,” says Oza.
The E72 launch was supported by an above-the-line 360-degree marketing campaign, starting with ads on TV and the print media. A bigger focus went into promoting the E72 on the Web — where young people spend more time these days. Outdoor advertising was focused heavily on airports as the young professional today is a frequent flyer. Oza claims E72 sales have been high at airport outlets.
According to Informa Telecoms & Media, there are 4.2 million mobile email users in India, growing at 96 per cent a year. The number is expected to cross 50 million by 2014. Nokia is aiming to tap this growth with the E72 and similar phones. But then competition has only intensified — today almost every player offers a QWERTY phone with email function. Nokia will need more winners, like the E72, which can stand out.