Q&A: The Nokia renaissance

Following the release of the Lumia 800, Nokia has been reborn. We chat with the mobile giant's UK MD about how the company is turning things around.

The Lumia 800 is flying off the shelves in the UK, helped by a marketing blitz and upgrade offers. Indeed, after including a free Xbox for customers upgrading, Orange is declaring it Nokia's most popular device ever.

But one phone doesn't make a company turnaround and while poor sales figures in Q3 for Windows Phone don't reflect the unprecedented interest end users and developers are showing in Windows Phone since the recent Mango release, success is far from guaranteed for Nokia.

We asked UK managing director Conor Pierce to explain how the troubled Finnish firm back on the right track.

How successful can the Lumia really make Nokia?

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I've nailed my colours firmly to the mast by saying to [Nokia CEO} Stephen Elop that my ambition, and my expectation of my sales team, is to bring Nokia back to leadership in smartphones in the UK. That's a big statement, from where we are now. I didn't give a date though

You're going to have to sell a lot of phones to beat the competition - how is Nokia going to stand out in the market?

First of all you have to have just that irresistible lust for beautiful devices, which now we have. That coolness factor is now back in our new Lumia range. If I put it down at home my children are screaming for this device - they love it, it's one of those things you just want to touch.

That irresistible device is something we definitely need in our portfolio. Then we need also scale. So it's not just one device; some of our competitors just have one form factor or one device and it just naturally falls into different price points. We need to bring a variety of devices, not as wide or as broad as we had in the past, but definitely hitting the sweet spot in consumer trends and price points.

What direction are you going to go in with the new devices: a more powerful flagship device or more for the mainstream user?

What I love about this device and what's coming - not just the Lumia 710 but beyond that in 2012 - two thirds of the UK market still don't have a smartphone. That's not the 'buying' universe, that's the universe, of UK and Ireland.

It's really important because there's such huge expectation that this one device will change the world. It's the beginning of a journey.

What's been clear in the research groups [we've done] with consumers is that people want to make a move to smartphones but they're really nervous about it. One of the wonderful things about our brand - and there are many - is that people trust it.

And actually when you put that beautiful hardware and that brand with this really intuitive UI, people are going to make the move. I'm not declaring any [numbers] but we're already seeing that in the pre registrations and pre orders across the customers. [Windows Phone is] not exclusive like other operating systems can be. It's really open, it's really user friendly and as we grow, and grow throughout 2012, we'll embrace everybody into the smartphone world and make it real and affordable.

I'm so excited about that because that's our brand promise and this relationship with Microsoft really helps us deliver.

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