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GLOBAL – Nokia is celebrating selling 1.5 billion phones by looking to the future.

Antti Vasara

“It’s a fun number,” said Antti Vasara, Nokia’s Senior Vice President of Mobile Devices, “and when you start thinking about the impact of 1.5 billion it’s a pretty awesome achievement.”

After the toasts were finished, however, Vasara went back to work on how Series 40 could connect another billion people to mobile technology and the internet:

“What we are trying to do is a radical thing. We sometimes forget that half the world’s population does not have a phone. So, celebrating 1.5 billion is great, but it’s backward looking. What we want to say is – we are only half way to where we are going.”

A dozen Series 40 and Series 30 phones are sold every second around the world, and 3.5 million apps are downloaded every day.

“For a lot of people Series 40 is the first time they’ve ever had access to the internet or a computer. And the story of connecting those people is a huge story, because it will change the world.”

Series 40 began in the late 1990s in flagship devices, sold at fairly high prices to western customers, Vasara said. That has now been transformed into a range that is now selling in huge numbers in high growth economies, at a fraction of the cost.

“The people who buy these phones – and who will be buying these phones – are ambitious, and very aware of technology. They’re young, urban and what we call ‘hyper-social’. In other words, they know what the best of the best is – and we have to deliver a product that is state of the art and affordable.”


 the amazing Asha

The Nokia Browser exemplifies Nokia’s drive to build smarter phones for everyone, in Vasara’s opinion.

“In Europe and the US we download data without thinking very much about the cost, but in growing economies it is a huge issue. With the Nokia Browser you can get a full internet experience, with very clever cloud compression technology to make that experience affordable.”

Vasara, and his team, have also been concentrating on making Series 40 feel like “phones that are speaking your language.”

The future of Series 40 will be more about the services that you want in your “neighbourhood” – in your own language, delivering information that “feels very local.” Part of that will be working with developers to develop more Series 40 apps.

Even though selling 1.5 billion Series 40 phones is a wonderful milestone, it is the development of the platform and the product that gives Antti Vasara a sense of achievement:

“My proudest moment was actually producing the first Dual SIM device,” he says. “We were getting a lot of heat about it, and it was a huge priority – but the timing was so tight and we had many moments when we thought we couldn’t make it.  But we did – on time and with great quality. Now that was a milestone for Series 40.”