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It's no secret that Nokia (NYSE: NOK ) isn't in the best position to dominate the smartphone industry any time soon, but that doesn't mean some of the company's recent moves aren't promising. Nokia's strengths are in its low-cost phones for emerging markets, which just might keep the company afloat.
How low can you go?
This week Nokia introduced four new phones at the Mobile World Congress, and three of them are available for less than $200. Nokia's new Lumia 520 is currently the company's lowest-priced smartphone at $180, but earlier this week The Wall Street Journal reported CEO Stephen Elop hinted at the conference that an even cheaper Windows Phone could debut later this year. If Nokia were to pursue that idea, it may be one of the best decisions it's ever made.
Last year, executives from mobile carriers in developing countries asked the GSM Association, a collection of mobile operators worldwide, to pursue a smartphone in the $50 price range for emerging markets. These areas need capable phones that don't come in at the high price points -- and Nokia may be the best company to bring it to them. Right now, Android devices lead the way in low-cost smartphones. That's one of the reasons why Android dominates the global smartphone market share with about 68%, and Apple's premium iPhone has about 19%.
Nokia's $180 Lumia 520 isn't expensive, but it's not as cheap as some emerging markets consumers need i