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Samsung Targets Nokia’s Smart Feature Phone Crown with REX series Launch

by Neil Mawston | 2月 15, 2013

Samsung, the world’s number one mobile handset vendor by volume, has launched a new series of ‘smart feature phones’ called REX, which is a direct challenge to Nokia’s Asha range, focusing primarily on developing markets.

According to our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, while Samsung currently dominates the smartphone market along with Apple, traditional market leader Nokia remains a force in the market for phones that have entry-level app and internet capabilities, but don’t run a branded mobile operating system, which are defined as ‘smart feature phones’. This is thanks to the launch of the Asha series, which we estimate topped 9 million units shipped in Q4 2012, a little over a year after its launch.

The new Samsung REX series is a similar proposition to Asha, with four touchscreen devices (the REX 60, 70, 80 and 90) running basic apps, sporting ‘always-on’ dual SIMs, and offering web access through Opera Mini. Retail prices should range from US$80-120, and India will be the primary target market, with other Asian and South American countries soon to follow.

This is a shrewd, albeit inevitable move, by Samsung, which was never likely to give Nokia a clear run at the huge smart feature phone market. With smartphone penetration in developed markets such as North America, Western Europe, Japan and South Korea entering a mature phase, emerging markets - especially the BRICs - will be the engine of handset growth in the coming years.

This move heightens competition for the first time mobile internet user and will spur further innovation and price competition. Others are sure to follow, especially those who have yet to hit the mark in smartphones.

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