Nokia launches Lumia phones in Mideast as it looks to shine once more

Regional launch of Windows 8 smartphone range comes as Nokia attempts to regain ground lost to rivals Apple and Samsung.

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Nokia has launched its Lumia smartphone range in the Middle East as it looks to regain some of its former glory, having been eclipsed by rivals Apple and Samsung.

The Finnish phone manufacturer said the region is one of just six global markets chosen to launch the Lumia 920 and its smaller, more compact version, the Lumia 820.

The Lumia 920 handset will be made available exclusively with du in the UAE on 25 November, priced at Dh2,499. The Lumia 820 will be priced at Dh1,899, Nokia said.

"Nokia is back," announced Tom Farrell, vice president of Nokia Middle East, at today's launch of the new range.

The move marks the Middle East debut of Nokia's Windows Phone range, viewed by some as a make-or-break attempt for the brand to reclaim lost ground in the smartphone business.

Nokia's share of the mobile-handset market and the smartphone category in particular has slipped drastically over the years against competition from the iPhone and devices running on the Android operating system.

The Lumia 920 phone is being marketed as the world's most innovative, and runs Microsoft's new Windows 8 platform, which includes Arabic-language capabilities. It includes the new Internet Explorer 10 for fast web browsing and the full Microsoft Office Suite.

"The Middle East is a tremendous smartphone market and the [region] is important to us," said Mr Farrell.

The Windows Phone operating system includes 120,000 apps for download, but just 5000 are specific to the region. According to Microsoft's regional head, 1,500 app developers are registering daily and more region-specific and localised apps will be made available.