September 3rd 2013 marked the beginning of the next chapter for Nokia, with its focus shifting from devices and services to enabling mobility through its leadership in networking, mapping & location, and advanced technologies. But what does this moment of reinvention mean for the future of the Lumia and Asha phone ranges?
With Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s Devices & Services business, the Windows ecosystem is set to realize its full potential, providing the most compelling experiences for people at home, at work and everywhere in between.
But how will this acquisition affect current Lumia and Asha owners, and what kinds of developments can users expect to see in the future?
What’s next for Lumia?
Upon finalizing the transaction in early 2014, Microsoft will purchase the “Lumia” brand from Nokia. From there on, Microsoft’s aim will be to create a unified smartphone brand across Lumia and Windows. What this new smartphone brand will be called is yet to be determined.
However, Nokia’s design and manufacture teams will join Microsoft and new phones produced under Microsoft’s ownership will effectively be designed and built the same way as recent Nokia smartphones.
“Microsoft and Nokia have very similar values and vision when it comes to product quality. It’s what has made Nokia Lumia and Windows Phone such a great match. We value great hardware quality and a seamless user experience,” Says Tuula Rytilä, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Nokia.
Chris Weber, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Nokia says the Lumia range will retain the high standard of design and functionality, and will continue to get even better.
“Nokia devices haven’t changed – design, durability, apps and support. All of that is still there and we plan to keep it that way,” he said.
“The Windows Phone ecosystem gets more investment. Your support and updates for the lifetime of the phone is guaranteed. Then, more of everything because of that investment – innovation and better products faster”.
What’s next for Asha?
The Nokia Asha brand will also be acquired by Microsoft in the transaction. This move is set to bring amazing mobile experiences to even more people around the world.
“Asha under Microsoft is likely to create a better offer for customers. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has already stated that some Microsoft services that have previously been restricted to higher-end smartphones may come to Asha. They are looking into things like SkyDrive, Office and Xbox,” says Rytilä.
Chris Weber is also excited about the possibilities with Asha.
“It will mean faster innovation in our Asha and feature phone range – with the backing of Microsoft – a real boost to our goal of connecting the next billion people to the Internet.”
What about the immediate future?
In the six months leading up to the finalized transaction Nokia continues to design, develop and roll out new, exciting products.
“Nothing changes,” says Weber. “All of our guarantees and warranties and promises stand. Nokia Care points, the whole customer support network, also moves over and we will continue to deliver world-class customer service to people who use a Nokia device now and in the future.”
“For now, and for perhaps six months, it’s business as usual. New phones, support, apps – all of it. I can promise you, we have some fantastic stuff in the pipeline”.
As the next chapter in the Lumia and Asha story begins, the ultimate goal remains increasing the awareness and growth of Windows Phone, Asha and the feature phone ranges, build upon the success of Lumia and create a stronger, faster, more innovative route to driving the diverse portfolio and the exciting ecosystem around it.