Nokia Intros Barracuda, Entry-Level Phones

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Leading mobile phone maker Nokia took the wraps off a spate of new low-cost and entry-level phones today, all of which are designed to appeal to consumers in emerging markets—although Nokia believes the slim, Bluetooth-and-camera equipped Nokia 2630 (a.k.a. “Barracuda”) may be a revenue winner for the company. Although some of the handsets may eventually make their way to the North American market, initial availability of the phones will be limited to emerging markets in Asia, the Pacific, Africa, China, and Latin America—a stance underscored by Nokia’s introducing the phones at an event in New Delhi, India.

The Nokia 2630, also known by its Barracuda monicker, has been much-anticipated by analysts and other industry watchers; it was initially shown at an investor event in late 2006, helping to calm fears that Nokia was out of touch with the trend toward slim, aggressively designed phones. The Barracuda is just 9.9 mm thick, and offers an integrated camera, FM receiver, PIM tools, email, MMS, and Bluetooth technology for use with wireless peripherals—it should be priced at around €85. Moving up a little bit, Nokia also introduced its clamshell 2760 model, sporting a video-capable camera, video playback, Bluetooth, more built-in memory, and GPRS capabilities; the Nokia 2760 should be priced at about €90. Both models should be available during the third quarter of 2007.

“The progressively stylish design of the Nokia 2630 and Nokia 2760 phones offer a striking visual and tactile impact, but also incorporate a feature set designed to enhance the total user experience,” said Soren Petersen, Nokia’s senior VP for Mobile Phones, in a release. “And by including a camera and Bluetooth technology, we are enabling entry consumers to share their experiences on the go.”

Nokia also unveiled the clamshell CMDA 2505 handset, the FM and MP3-capable Nokia 1650 and clamshell, GPRS-equipped Nokia 2660, and the Nokia 1200 and 1208 phones, which are actually designed to be shared by multiple users by offering unique call-time tracking applications and phone books for multiple users. All the phones will have prices below €100—many substantially below that price point.

“At these prices, the largest volumes are sold—on both developed and emerging markets. Of course we expect to see very high volumes from Barracuda,” Kai Oistamo, head of Nokia’s mobile phones unit, told Reuters.