Nokia launches cheaper Lumia and new camera phone

Nokia’s launched a new low-cost Windows Phone smartphone, aimed at bolstering its position in the fight against against Apple.

With the Lumia 610, the company’s hoping to remove a barrier that’s hampered the takeup of its Windows Phone models after the company ditched its own smartphone software last year.

“One year ago, we shared that Nokia was embarking on a new journey to build great mobile devices,” says president and CEO Stephen Elop.

“Today, with our fourth Lumia device, smarter mobile phones and an array of new services, we are demonstrating that we can change the clock speed of Nokia.”

The new model will cost 189 Euros – about $250 – and the company hopes it will become popular with younger people, thanks to social networking, games and other features. It’s expected to start shipping in the second quarter this year.

The 610 is the company’s fourth Lumia phone, and it says it now plans to release the high-end Lumia 900 internationally. It’s planning to open local stores to sell the phone in 28 countries, including China.

Also launched at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this weekend was the Nokia 808 PureView – based on the company’s older Symbian operating system – which is focused on photography and audio.

It includes a 41-megapixel sensor, Carl Zeiss optics and Nokia-developed pixel over-sampling technology, along with Nokia Rich Recording, full HD 1080p video recording and playback, and Dolby Headphone technology.

It’s also announced three new Asha phones, aimed mainly at developing countries, where the company already has a high market share.

According to research firm Strategy Analytics, Nokia’s now the number one Windows Phone vendor in the world – although that’s not the greatest of achievements, given Windows Phone’s still-poor market share.

“Nokia is by no means out of the woods yet, and it is still on a long road to recovery, but capturing top spot in the Microsoft smartphone ecosystem is an encouraging baby-step forward for the company,” says Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawston.