Orange said the launch of four new LTE devices, announced by the operator today, is not an attempt to snare market share away from premium handset vendors like Apple and Samsung.
The launch, which comes after Orange said it experienced a 48 per cent increase in its own-brand smartphone sales between 2013 and 2014, amounting to a total of one million units sold, sees the company bolster its smartphone line up with four LTE CAT 4 devices in the low, mid-tier and high end range.
Speaking to Mobile World Live, Orange VP marketing for connected objects Thierry Piganeau, said the multi-device play was designed “to address all customer requirements, starting with first time 4G users, as well as those more advanced looking for a flagship product”.
Piganeau said the devices also represent a wider strategy to provide mid-range customers “with a brand and a technology that they can customise and be familiar with”, as they are often offered a lot of devices from unknown manufacturers.
“In a lot of cases, they are given phones from Chinese brands and they don’t know or trust them,” he said. “These devices have been tested and validated to work perfectly with our network, and while this is also valid for Orange customers using Apple, Samsung, Sony and Huawei devices, the reason becomes even truer for an Orange smartphone experience.”
Piganeau believes there is room for a company like Orange to further boost its smartphone portfolio, without stepping on the toes of the leaders in the space, given that “the demand for this technology is not strictly restricted to the premium market”.
“We are not taking share from Samsung and Apple, I don’t even believe we are competing on the same level,” he said. “Our ambitions lie in the mid-range and entry level, where the market is fragmented. We have a strong brand to push out that is recognisable by our customers, and with 100 Orange branded devices, our success shows a clear desire for the products.”
Specs and the rest
Of the four new offerings, the Orange Dive 30 and Dive 50 make up its low-tier play, and are priced accordingly at €79 and €89 with screens of 4 inches and 4.5-inches, respectively.
Orange said both devices are able to offer 4G speeds of 150Mb/s, while the mid-tier Dive 70 is priced at €139, and has a HD 5-inch screen.
The Dive 70 also has a unique security feature built into the device, through a partnership with Keeper Security, and comes with an embedded password and file security vault. Another unique feature for this device alone is the inclusion of an intelligent home screen, after Orange partnered with Yahoo for the first time to integrate Aviate.
The Nura 2, which comes as a follow up to the Nura 1, could however be positioned as a premium device offering, and is indicatively priced at €239, coming equipped with a 5.5-inch full HD screen. Orange said it is also the first Orange device to include an octa core processor and has 2GB of RAM, as well as 16GB memory, and has been developed in collaboration with China Mobile.
All of the newly launched devices will also run Orange’s new 7 software suite experience, which includes new wallpapers, animations and an improved personalised start up programme.
“The Orange 7 experience is aimed at giving quicker access to services in a fast and intuitive way,” said Amman Abid, head of strategic projects and communication at Orange. “The upgrade gives users a more rounded Orange experience and we have also refreshed a lot of the material design.”
The Dive 70 launched in France yesterday, and will be rolled out in Slovakia, Romania, and other European markets in due course, while the Nura 2 will be made available in in its home market at the end of September. Dive 30 is already available, and is set to launch in Poland and Romania soon, while the Dive 50 will launch in November in “several European markets”.
Orange said all the devices will be available for sale exclusively in the company’s branded stores.