Real Competition for iPhone 4S: Nokia Lumia 800 and Lumia 710

Apple's top of the range smartphone is already beginning to face some tough competition; Nokia has recently entered the fray, releasing two new handsets, the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710, which analysts at Barclays Capital say "will be competitive in the marketplace from both hardware and pricing standpoints."

Analyst Jeff Kvall comments that the new Nokia handsets are "well built (800 feels particularly high quality), fully featured, and competitively priced – below the iPhone 4S and on par with Android devices."

The Lumia 800 features an 8 megapixel Carl Zeiss camera, 3.7-inch touch screen and a single core 1.4GHz processor; it was put on the market at 420 euros (about $594) without contract, and free with certain carrier contracts, "the Lumia 800 is even more competitively priced when compared to the iPhone and the Galaxy SII," Barclays concludes.

A recent article on MainDevice suggests several advantages of the Nokia Lumia range over iPhone and Android smartphones, such as: the familiarity of Windows OS, more free cloud storage, and vivid range of colours amongst others.

Barclys Capital was also "pleasantly surprised" by the number of wireless operators involved on a global scale. Nokia has taken onboard 31 European providers to boost sales in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK beginning in November. The Lumia 800 will hit the markets in Hong Kong, India, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan by the end of this year. US and China will follow early next year.

"We remain confident Nokia will retain traditional advantages in scale and distribution," the Barclays Capital analysts conclude, adding "we should expect to see greater differentiation across Nokia's WP7 devices in future software updates."