Phone manufacturer Nokia might be down but is definitely not out of the game.

Nokia's President & CEO Stephen Elop underscored this message at Nokia Connection 2011 in Singapore (CommunicAsia 2011) on Tuesday (21 June). This was Elop's first major speech in Asia since becoming CEO.

"This is a new season at Nokia," he said to a gathering of about 500 participants, including Nokia's partners and developers. He unveiled the phone company's new strategy and latest innovations in smart devices, mobile phones and development platforms.

"Earlier this year, we outlined a comprehensive strategy to change our course," said Elop. "Innovation is at the heart of our strategy, and today we took important steps to demonstrate a new pace of innovation at Nokia. It's the beginning of a new era for Nokia."

Elop underlined two major changes in Nokia's future direction--shifting from Symbian to Windows as mobile operating system platforms and focusing on connecting the next billion phone users to the Internet through Nokia devices.

Elop repeated his commitment to a first Nokia device with Windows Phone this year. He also announced continued support for Qt (applications) as part of 'next billion' strategy.

Three new devices

In mobile phones, Nokia introduced three new affordable devices--the Nokia C2-02, Nokia C2-03 and Nokia C2-06. The portfolio includes dual and single SIM options, and all three models offer a new, advanced web and maps experience for Series 40 phone users, as well as the choice of a touch screen or a keypad.

Elop also restated Nokia's commitment to Symbian. This July, Nokia will start shipping Nokia N8s, E7s, C7s and C6-01s with the new Symbian Anna software update, which includes a number of user experience improvements. By the end of August, existing owners of these devices can also download Symbian Anna. And over the next 12 months Nokia plans to bring up to 10 new Symbian-based smartphones to market, said Elop.

Nokia also revealed its latest smartphone: the Nokia N9, an all-screen device with three home views and a new user interface navigated through a simple swipe of the finger. The Nokia N9 comes in a polycarbonate design that enables superior antenna performance for better reception, better voice quality and fewer dropped calls; and a smarter all-round experience with NFC for sharing and pairing to accessories. The Nokia N9 will drive new innovation in the consumer experience, and inspire developers to build more powerful Qt applications.

The Nokia N9 introduces an innovative new design where the home key is replaced by a simple gesture: a swipe. Whenever you're in an application, swiping from the edge of the display takes you home, said Marko Ahtisaari, senior vice president, design, Nokia.

"With the Nokia N9, we wanted to design a better way to use a phone," said Ahtisaari. "To do this we innovated in the design of the hardware and software together. We reinvented the home key with a simple gesture: a swipe from the edge of the screen. The experience sets a new bar for how natural technology can feel. And this is just the beginning. The details that make the Nokia N9 unique--the industrial design, the all-screen user experience, and the expressive Qt framework for developers--will evolve in future Nokia products."