Feature phones help prop up Nokia

Nokia reported a smaller than expected fall in third quarter profits as price cuts and new models lifted sales of its basic phones in key markets like India.

Feature phones help prop up Nokia

Nokia, preparing to fight its way into the high end of the smartphone market with the launch of its first Windows phones next week, sold slightly more feature phones than expected – nearly 90 million for the quarter.

Protecting its position in emerging markets like India is crucial for Nokia as rivals like Apple push in with cheaper smartphones.

It seems that Nokia is further into a recovery, or rebound, than had been expected

The struggling Finnish handset maker reported third quarter underlying earnings per share of €0.03, compared with a forecast loss of €0.01 in a Reuters poll of analysts and a profit of €0.14 a year ago.

“The results were clearly better than expected. The mobile phones volumes shipped had the biggest role, also the smartphone volumes were on a higher level than expected,” said Swedbank analyst Jari Honko.

“It seems that Nokia is further into a recovery, or rebound, than had been expected. Fourth quarter guidance signals that this trend will continue,” Honko said.

Windows Phone

Nokia, left in the dust by Apple and Google in the booming smartphone market, will introduce its first new model using Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform next week in London.

It unveiled the Microsoft deal in February and has since struggled with a fast decline in smartphone sales as it has tried to sell models using its old Symbian platform.

Its smartphone sales dropped 38% from a year ago to 16.8 million phones. Apple’s iPhone sales dropped to 17.1 million in the September quarter, disappointing investors, but were still head of Nokia and the new iPhone 4S is breaking Apple’s previous sales records.

With Microsoft software, Nokia hopes to gain the kind of attention Apple and Google have attracted from software developers that enrich their devices.

So far Windows Phone’s success has been limited – its market share is just 2-3%, compared with around 50% for Google’s Android and around 15% share for Apple

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