Nokia unveils two new 'phablets'

Technology giant Nokia hailed a "generation of innovation" as it launched a raft of new products including its first Windows tablet device and two new large- screen smartphones, or " phablets".

4d284a12-3afa-11e3-aac7-0a0c02230000
Two new 6in screen smartphones, or phablets, were unveiled the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1320 (Nokia/PA)

The new Lumia 2520 tablet, designed to "work anywhere" and give users greater mobility, was unveiled at a news conference in Abu Dhabi.

Two new 6in (15cm) screen smartphones, or phablets, were unveiled - the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1320 - offering easier access to apps and other new features.

Three new upgrades to the Asha smartphone were also annnounced - the Asha 500, the Asha 502 and the Asha 503 - offering a new design, smarter camera and other features.

Former Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop, speaking at the launch in Abu Dhabi, said the new tablet device was a "natural extension of the Lumia family".

"At Nokia we have found that tablet usage peaks between six and eight in the morning and between six and nine in the evening. During the rest of the day tablet usage drops quite dramatically," he said.

"We are looking to shift this trend - your tablet should be as mobile and as connected as you are."

The launch comes before Nokia's handset business is taken over by Microsoft and as Apple was also expected to release much-anticipated new devices.

Apple is expected to unveil the iPad 5 and iPad Mini 2 devices with experts saying they ex pect the iPad Mini 2 will contain a better camera and a retina display, and could trigger the customary pre-Christmas technology rush.

There are also suggestions it could feature a fingerprint scanner, similar to the one used on the iPhone 5S, launched last month.

The security feature, on the iPhone 5S, is built into the home button and uses a laser cut sapphire crystal with a sensor to take a high-resolution image of a user's fingerprint.

According to Apple, the technology can ''intelligently analyse'' the print to provide accurate readings from any angle - although hackers later said they were able to crack the safety feature.

It is a busy week for technology firms with Microsoft holding an event for its Surface device in New York tomorrow. It is expected to reveal a new tablet.

The announcements come as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins speak at an Apps World event in London, covering the present and future of apps as well as sharing insights into the industry.

Mr Hawkins will speak today and Mr Wozniak will address the event tomorrow.

The Lumia 2520 runs on Windows RT 8.1 and features a 10.1in (25.7cm) HD display and a fast charging capability providing up to an 80% charge in one hour.

Nokia said its users would be able to benefit from both 4G LTE - wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones - and Wi-Fi, making the tablet more mobile.

The tablet also features a 6.7 megapixel camera and optics which allow people take pictures even in low light.

Users will be able to benefit from the Nokia Storyteller feature, an application that introduces a new way to curate and relive images and videos as a story on a map, as well as Nokia Video Director, offering the ability to edit videos shot on the tablet - as well as content from Lumia smartphones.

The tablet pairs with the Nokia Power Keyboard accessory, offering up to five extra hours of battery life and two built-in USB ports.

The tablet will be available in red and white in a glossy finish as well as cyan and black in a matte finish with an estimated price of 499 US dollars (£309) before taxes or subsidies. It will be available initially in the US as well as the UK and Finland, with additional countries following shortly afterwards.

The Nokia Power Keyboard will be available alongside the Lumia 2520 at the recommended price of 149 US dollars (£92).

The Lumia 1520 will be available in yellow, white, black and glossy red and offers the latest imaging innovation from Nokia - a 20 megapixel "PureView" camera with optical image stabilisation, enabling sharp images even in the dark as well as oversampling and zooming technology. It also features the new Nokia camera and Nokia Storyteller applications.

It will have an estimated price of 749 US dollars (£463) before taxes and subsidies in Hong Kong, Singapore, US, China, UK, France, Germany, Finland and other European markets, with other markets to follow.

The new Asha 500, 502 and 503 have been described by Nokia as "pushing the boundaries" of affordable smartphone innovation. Support for 3G is available on the Asha 503, which also includes a five megapixel camera.

The smartphones feature faster and easier sharing of images on social networks with one easy "swipe" to access the camera and one touch to post.

The Asha 500 is expected to be available in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East with an estimated price of 69 US dollars (£43) before taxes or subsidies. The Asha 502 will be priced at an estimated 89 US dollars (£55) before taxes or subsidies in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East.

The Asha 503, including 3.5G connectivity and a five megapixel camera will be priced at 99 US dollars (£61) before taxes or subsidies in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

Chris Edwards, contributing editor to the magazine Engineering and Technology and a technology expert, described the development of the new tablet device as "inevitable".

"It was inevitable as soon as Nokia, or that part of Nokia, was bought by Microsoft - for them to launch a Windows tablet makes perfect sense.

"The tablet seems to be an inevitable move and seals the deal with Microsoft as their new parent."

He said the development of the new "phablets" reflected growing consumer demand.

"To some extent Nokia has been late to the party, as they have been with smartphones - they seem to be quite a fast-growing segment," he said.

"It seems that people want something where they can use Facebook and send emails more easily on the screen without having to use a full-size tablet.

"It makes sense for them to do this but they are not exactly leading the way with this."

He described the sale of low-cost smartphones as Nokia's "biggest success story".

"This is one of the these things where actually Nokia's biggest success may be seen and we don't see very much of because of the publicity for the high-end smartphones. A lot will depend on power consumption because African consumers in particular are sensitive to this because of the lack of reliable electricity in rural areas."