Nokia touts cheapest color handset in India

Aimed at first time buyers and a successor to the successful Nokia 1280 which sold more than 100 million units, the entry level Nokia 105 is priced at just 1,249 rupees (US$22.90).

Nokia has launched what it claims to be its most affordable handset in its current range with a colour screen. It's available in two colors, black and cyan, weighs just 70 grams and has a color display of 3.68 cm. The battery allows 12.5 hours of talk time and the handset has essentials such as a FM radio, speaking clock, and flashlight.

"The very human and fresh design of Nokia 105 makes it distinct in this price range, and utterly modern despite a traditional form factor. Our most affordable device with some of the best category features, is the ideal handset for first time buyers to enjoy the benefits and experiences of mobility," said T. S. Sridhar, regional general manager (South) for Nokia India, in a report by Gizbot.

According to the report, the company will no longer deal with black and white screen handsets with the Nokia 105's release.

Nokia 105
The Nokia 105 retails at just 1,249 rupees (US$22.90)

Nokia has been facing tough competition in India from brands such HTC, LG, Samsung and especially India's very own Micromax. The Nokia brand does carry weight with its strong reputation amongst older mobile users. However, with the Nokia 105, Nokia is trying to break into the larger youth segment of India.

Obviously Nokia must have done enough market research to determine there is a demand for such a basic handset amongst first time buyers and the youth in India to launch a no frills phone. I would assume another target audience Nokia is trying to reach are people who just need a basic phone for calls and text messaging, and don't need all the bells and whistles of a smartphone.

In that scenario, Nokia has a tough battle against Tata, as they have a large assortment of no frills CDMA phones by both Huawei and Samsung for around the same price range. In the case of Tata's phones, their phones are locked onto their network, meaning once the CDMA SIM is removed, another carrier's SIM can't be used to activate the phone. I know this from experience as I had a Tata Samsung CDMA phone for two years.

Nokia could potentially reach an even larger audience with not just the Nokia 105 but other handsets if they were to enter an exclusive agreement with one of the mobile operators in India, as Huawei and Samsung have with Tata in India. However, as mentioned earlier, the Nokia brand name itself is strong in India and can carry on its own.