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GLOBAL – The launch of the Nokia 500 today marked a new departure for us. Not just because it’s our newest Symbian smartphone, but because of what we called it. Just numbers, no letters. More details on the reasons for this change after the jump.

1. Don’t tell us what to do with our phones

Most phones nowadays have very adaptable hardware and software. You can do whatever you like with it. Perhaps you use your Eseries business smartphone mainly for games or IM-ing friends? Maybe you’re crunching numbers on a spreadsheet using an entertainment-focused Nokia X7? That’s up to you – the classifications were indicators, but often, they didn’t match-up to what people were actually doing with their phones.

2. Hard to compare

How is the Nokia C7 different than a Nokia X7? It all depends what you want to do with it and what your budget is. What about comparing a Nokia C3 and a Nokia C3-01? It turns out they’re actually very different devices. Also, it made it hard to tell how much something should cost. To the average person, a Nokia C7 should cost the same as a Nokia E7. They have a point.

3. People are fine with numbers

People understand the logic behind ‘the bigger the number, the more you get’ philosophy. Theoretically speaking, if we were announce a Nokia 890 (which, to be very clear, does not exist), but it’s a bit out of your price range, you’ll know that the Nokia 790 (again, this model doesn’t exist. Yet. 😉 ) might be a more affordable option. Also, used consistently over time, people learn to know roughly what to expect from a model using its number as a reference.

So the new system is like this:

The first number is the relative price/feature point. So a Nokia 900* would be top dog and a Nokia 100* is the most accessible option. The second two numbers gives each device a unique identifier within that point. So we can release 99 phones at the 500 point before we have to recycle any names, for example.

Frankly, we like numbers. Because we aren’t afraid of experimenting, we tried something different. But at the end of the day, we learned that ‘numbers work’.

* Just to ensure we aren’t feeding the rumour mill, I want to make it clear the numbers used above are for illustrative purposes. Aside from the Nokia 500, we haven’t announced any new products today. But for a sneak peek at something really exciting – click here.