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Will mix of nostalgia and tech help iconic Nokia 3310 make a comeback?



New Delhi, Feb 26

Born in the year 2000, it had a dark blue body, emitted a deep green light from its tiny screen, and housed a charming game called “Snake”. And an entire generation grew up loving the iconic Nokia 3310.

Then came the Nokia 1100 in 2003 — a sturdy affair with an inbuilt torch — which quickly became the best-selling consumer electronics device of its time.

It was the Golden Age of Nokia — with hardly a competitor in sight.

Inevitably, though, the age passed, and Nokia devices, with their “indestructible” bodies and long-lasting batteries, disappeared after ruling the Indian market for several years.

But they left behind two key legacies: a brand with great recall value, and a wide and surviving sales network.

With market buzz suggesting that the 3310 is set to make a comeback — perhaps as early as May — the brand recall and sales network can only help.

The relaunch will be accompanied by some Android-based phones like the Nokia 6 — to be launched in China on February 26 — and the Nokia 8, to be showcased at the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which begins on February 27.

Are the ever-evolving, 4G-conscious Indian smartphone consumers likely to embrace an upgraded 3310, which is expected to cost a little over Rs 4,000?

“We have to understand that, in India, we still have people who don’t have a mobile phone. And if Nokia, with its adequate distribution network, is able to tap that near-edge market, the 3310 has the potential to do wonders and become a leading handset,” Faisal Kawoosa, Principal Analyst, Telecoms, CyberMedia Research (CMR), told IANS.

“There is still enough of India that can consume it. After all, in India, three of the top 20 handsets that are deployed are still from Nokia,” Kawoosa added.

Mobile handset shipments touched 265 million in 2016 with feature phones making up about 59 per cent of the overall market. It is a strong reaffirmation of the fact that it would take quite a bit longer for India to become a smartphone-only market.

“Two-thirds of the Indian market is still feature phones, and among feature phones, 3310 was the king. It is going to be a niche product but we have no reason to believe it cannot be successful,” Jaideep Mehta, Managing Director, IDC South Asia, told IANS.

According to Tarun Pathak, Senior Analyst, Mobile Devices and Ecosystems at New Delhi-based Counterpoint Research, one of the biggest challenges for the new Nokia would be to live up to its legacy.

“Users will not look at Nokia as a start-up, but rather as a billion dollar company of the past. To convert this challenge into an opportunity, Nokia needs an impressive start. I think the new Nokia should differentiate its products from the experience perspective rather than mere specifications and target the mid-end smartphone segment,” Pathak told IANS.

After acquiring Nokia for $7.2 billion in 2013, Microsoft soon realised it had made a huge mistake and sold off the company’s phone-making business to Apple’s supply-chain partner Foxconn.

Nokia announced last year that it had licensed Finnish company HMD Global to produce Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets.

HMD has reached agreements with both Microsoft and Nokia for the use of the Nokia brand and some design rights. HMD is planning to spend some 400 million euros to market the Nokia brand for the next three years.

When it comes to smartphones, people would expect the same reliability from Nokia as they did with their feature phones.

“People who started their mobile phone journey with a Nokia are over 30 years of age. So, the biggest challenge for Nokia to succeed in smartphones would be to connect with teenagers and youth who drive smartphone sales, either by being the primary users or by influencing their elders to take a decision,” Kawoosa explained.

For Nokia to make some inroads in the smartphone segment, it needs to leverage the wide base of users who have actually experienced using a Nokia — and somehow ensure today’s buyers are influenced by them.

“Say, something like ‘offers for parents to gift a Nokia smartphone to their children’ to pass on the trust to the next generation,” Kawoosa suggested.

Nokia has to keep it simple. It’s known for its hardware and that is where it should be playing, the experts said.

“Launching products like the 3310 is more likely a strategy to bring alive the emotions and connect that users had with Nokia as a brand in the past. It is a good strategy to start with. And India will be a critical market as close to 145 million feature phones will be sold in the country in 2017,” Pathak said.

“People still remember the reliability and sturdiness of the devices. There is no doubt that it will help Nokia gain some foothold in the market as a new entrant,” Mehta said.


By Nishant Arora

(Nishant Arora can be contacted at [email protected])


Radiation from smartphones may up miscarriage risk: Study



Pregnant woman, smartphone

New York, Dec 14: Pregnant women’s exposure to non-ionising radiation from smartphones, Bluetooth devices and laptops may more than double the risk of miscarriage, a study has showed.

Non-ionising radiation — radiation that produces enough energy to move around atoms in a molecule, but not enough to remove electrons completely — from magnetic fields is produced when electric devices are in use and electricity is flowing.

It can be generated by a number of environmental sources, including electric appliances, power lines and transformers, wireless devices and wireless networks.

While the health hazards from ionising radiation are well-established and include radiation sickness, cancer and genetic damage, the evidence of health risks to humans from non-ionising radiation remains limited, said De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente — a US-based health care firm.

For the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, the team asked for 913 pregnant women over age 18 to wear a small (a bit larger than a deck of cards) magnetic-field monitoring device for 24 hours.

After controlling for multiple other factors, women who were exposed to higher magnetic fields levels had 2.72 times the risk of miscarriage than those with lower magnetic fields exposure.

The increased risk of miscarriage associated with high magnetic fields was consistently observed regardless of the sources of high magnetic fields. The association was much stronger if magnetic fields was measured on a typical day of participants’ pregnancies.

The finding also demonstrated that accurate measurement of magnetic field exposure is vital for examining magnetic field health effects.

“This study provides evidence from a human population that magnetic field non-ionising radiation could have adverse biological impacts on human health,” Li noted.

“We hope that the finding from this study will stimulate much-needed additional studies into the potential environmental hazards to human health, including the health of pregnant women,” he said.

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Samsung likely to lose ground in smartphone market in 2018




Seoul, Dec 14: Tech major Samsung Electronics Co may lose ground in the smartphone segment in 2018 due to surge of Chinese smartphone manufacturers, an industry tracker said on Thursday.

“Strategy Analytics said the company is expected to post a market share of 19.2 per cent in the global smartphone industry in 2018 by shipping 315 million units, down from 20.5 per cent estimated for this year”, IANS quoted citing Yonhap News Agency reported.

According to the experts, the weaker outlook comes as rival Apple Inc is anticipated to expand its presence in the high-end segment, while Chinese companies are quickly making inroads to the industry with affordable devices.

“While the iOS-powered smartphones do not have competitors, Samsung will face tougher challenges in the Android segment,” said Park Nam-gyoo, a professor of business at Seoul National University.

With this, for the very first time Samsung will post a decline in smartphone shipments on-year, excluding 2016, when the company suspended the production of Galaxy Note 7 because of safety issues.

However, Samsung Electronics did not reacted on the outlook yet.

In the meantime, Apple is predicted to take up 14.3 per cent of the market in 2018 by shipping 234 million units, up from 14 per cent posted this year.

China-based Huawei Technologies Co and OPPO Electronics Corp are also expected to expand their shares to account for 10 per cent and 7.8 per cent, respectively in 2018, the data revealed.


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Twitter launches live stream of Gujarat assembly elections



New Delhi, Dec 14: Social media giant Twitter on Wednesday announced that it will live stream the conversations related to the high stakes Gujarat assembly elections on its platform as the political interest and discourse on the polls generated over 800,000 tweets in the last week on the microblogging website.

The live stream of elections will be available in English and Hindi, and will take place on Thursday when the second phase of polling is being held, and on counting day December 18, news agency IANS quoted citing the company said in a statement.

“We are excited to launch the first live stream of elections in India providing people with the opportunity to follow all the election-related action in real-time, with the best analysis and commentary in the business,” said Amrita Tripathi, Acting Head for News Partnerships, Twitter India.

The live stream is available for free to logged-in and logged-out users on the microblogging website and connected devices globally.

Each stream will be accompanied by a Twitter timeline depicting in real time Gujarat Election-related conversation.

In November, Twitter observed a growing interest in Gujarat politics as conversations related to the Assembly election climbed to 20 per cent.

The social media titan also introduced initiatives like real-time updates on the campaign trail and connect electors to politicians on key issues.

The company also revealed an emoji, available till December 22, which can be activated using hashtags such as #GujaratElection2017, #GujaratElection, #BattleforGujarat or #ElectionCaravan.


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