LOS ANGELES— Competition is heating up in the world of mobile computing with Nokia and Microsoft introducing two new smart phones, the Lumia 820 and 920, at a joint announcement in New York. The devices boast wireless charging and improved cameras, and will run on the new Microsoft Windows 8 operating system. The partnership is important, says Nokia Chief Executive Officer Stephen Elop.
“In order to deliver consumers a competitive experience, Nokia needed to be part of an ecosystem,” said Elop.
The ecosystem is a blend of software, hardware and digital networks. Companies like Apple, and newer player Google with its Android operating system, have created ecosystems that dominate the smartphone and computer tablet markets.
Elizabeth Fife, who studies the mobile computing industry at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business, says Microsoft wants a large part of the market.
“You have the services, the device itself, and when you control both of those elements, you have more power. You have the power of a platform,” said Fife.
Motorola, which was bought in May by Google for $12.4 billion, is introducing three new versions of its classic Razr phone. Like the new Nokia smart phones, they will run on the 4G, or fourth generation, high speed network.
Microsoft hopes to change the landscape with its next operating system, Windows 8. Elizabeth Fife says the system will feature versions for personal computers, smartphones and tablets.
“The Apple versus Google ecosystems that we've seen in the past two or three years [have dominated the market]. Perhaps there will be a new player, which is a good thing,” Fife added.
Upcoming announcements from other companies will broaden the playing field. New devices should include a new Kindle eReader from Amazon, an iPhone 5 from Apple, and late next month, a new tablet from Microsoft that will run on Windows 8.