Will Nokia Find its Niche in the Smartphone Market?

Not just anyone can be Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and that has been a tough pill for many other smartphone manufacturers and mobile operating system designers to swallow.  Since the iPhone was first launched in 2007, the device’s general design pretty much defined what a modern smartphone is. On the software side, Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system has captured close to 88 percent of the worldwide platform market.

To compete with these giants, manufacturers like Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) want to carve out new niches for themselves, but unseating the Google-Apple duopoly will be no easy task. Nokia is betting that its partnership with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) will help its line of smartphones capture a larger share of the business market. Along with that plan, the Finland-based company is expanding further into the low-priced basic cellphone market to boost sales.

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Together, these two avenues are where Nokia believes it can launch its comeback. At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday, Nokia unveiled two new low-priced basic cellphones and two lower-priced versions of its flagship Lumia Windows smartphone. These devices are aimed at helping the company expand its position in the market — or at least maintain its position as the second-largest maker of cellphones worldwide behind Samsung (SSNLF.PK) — and fend of challenges coming from Chinese manufacturers like Huawei and ZTE (ZTCOF.PK).

According to The New York Times, Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop said the new, lower-priced Lumia handsets allow the company to sell a full range of smartphones, a component it had been previously lacking. “These are less expensive devices, but they will move in much larger volumes,” said Elop, a former Microsoft executive…