Nokia’s CEO takes on Android and quad-core smartphones

by: Mike AndriciMarch 17, 2012

In a couple of gray-hat marketing moves dating back to the end of January, Nokia’s CEO, Stephen Elop, first bashed the Android ecosystem, decrying its fragmentation, then went on to claim that quad-core smartphones are uncalled for, as they drastically reduce battery life.

In a Pocket-lint interview published back in mid-January, Elop was quick to point out that Nokia has a strong desire to differentiate their future smartphones as an alternative to both the iPhone and Android smartphones. He also left the impression that Nokia aims to further strengthen its association with Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 OS. Moving on to pick on their biggest competitor, Android, Nokia’s CEO said: “We don’t want fragmentation being introduced into Windows Phone because we are beginning to see how in a certain other eco-system that fragmentation becomes a problem.”

In a interview released on the same day as the above mentioned declarations, this time in a discussion with TechRadar, Nokia’s Elop tried to undermine the technological accomplishment of having quad-core processors in a smartphone. In what’s obviously a marketing move destined to protect the honor of the 1.4GHz single-core Qualcomm CPU used in the first three Nokia WP7 handsets, Elop said: “You don’t need a quad-core phone unless you want to keep your hands warm in your pocket. We’re believers in the experience so, fine you have this camera density and you have that camera density. Let’s put the pictures side-by-side and we’ll show which ones are better.” If it feels like the quote above doesn’t make that much sense, rest assured: you are not alone!

Finnish cellphone maker Nokia is the perfect example of an once-glorious company that somehow managed to lose grip of a huge hunk  of market. On decline for the past decade, Nokia definitely had a unique approach to smartphones, one that not a lot of customers (especially those from the US) seemed to agree with, as sales figures suggest. As a quick refresher, Nokia decided to stop using their in-house Symbian OS, persuaded by a hefty $1 billion deal with Microsoft to move to Windows Phone 7. Before the deal was announced, many were hoping that the #1 cellphone maker in the world will jump on the Android bandwagon.

Does this look like a marketing move to you? Do you find any logic to Stephen Elop’s claims? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!

  • vdr

    I really don’t care what Nokia think and have to offer anymore. I read articles about Nokia just because the 2 manager’s are so funny with their statements. They should right comics books…

  • Barry Fruitman

    It’s all about the experience. IF Windows 8 phone run as fast on 1 core as Android does on 2 or 4 cores, I’ll take the extra battery life, thank you. But that’s a pretty big IF and I haven’t tried a Windows phone lately.

    I do agree about cameras, though. Too many devices have uber-megapixels combined with crappy lenses. The result very high resolution photos of blur. Stupid.

    I’m excited about the Windows 8 tablets coming soon but not so much for the phones.

    • symbolset

      The quad core phones don’t use all the cores all the time. The excess are dynamically turned off. With the Tegra 3, for example, there’s actually an ultra-low power fifth core that’s used to manage things when the main cores are sleeping so that the battery doesn’t run down.

      But crank up a heavy duty application and those sleeping cores wake right up and get to work doing stuff no single-core phone could ever do. Which is the silliness of the thing. Who could credibly argue that one core is better than four? It’s absurd. When people say things like that we are supposed to point at them and laugh.

      Multicore is a very challenging segment of operating system design, and heterogeneous multiprocessing even more challenging. The lack of support suggests a weak engineering team – which was already implied when it took them a year to implement copy and paste. You have to believe if they had the ability we would not be seeing stories about how it “doesn’t need that” but rather stories about their plan to win the mobile core wars.

  • benjo

    He does actually make some good points. Quad core phones are completely unnecessary right now as very few apps will be coded to take advantage of the extra cores. The end result is quad core phones will be more expensive with relatively shorter battery lives with little noticeable real world performance benefits. There is a still a strong argument for single core devices but I feel the dual core situation has matured enough that overall they are the stronger option than either single or quad core right now. It will probably be at least another year or two before there is enough support to really justify having a quad core though.

    • wastry

      It’s called being “future-proof”. If someone is gonna be locked into a contract for 2-yrs, you might as well get one that won’t be obsolete in 6 mo

    • John Doe4spam

      Name one OS that truely supports quad CPU. Now name one app that won’t run on a 1gig single core.

      • some1tellingUotherwise

        John Doe4spam, wow, get ready to be bashed on by somebody from the future reading your comment, and get replies like “you shallow-minded idiot, quad-core CPUs are so obsolete right now, it won’t even launch the Angry Bird 2016 seasons! and that’s the lightest game you can find needing only 2 gb of RAM, while games like Modern Combat 7 : red dragon needs a minimum hardware of an octo-core CPU”

        just read a forum thread saying the same thing dated 2009, saying no PC games will really support a quad-core PC because who would need that much hardware anyway for running games?? well i can’t imagine playing present-day games running even on a dual-core, shogun 2 : total war even lags a bit sometimes on my core i7 and a year-old graphics card

        acting like know-it-all will only make you look very silly when someone reads their comments from a near future

      • from the future

        Windows 7 64-bit OS truly supports quad-core CPU if you mean all the OS of all platforms

  • I agree. WP7 is a prime example of getting a system correct without the power of hercules. My Samsung Galaxy S2 looks sluggish at times compared with my old Mozart!

  • JZ

    Nokia is still pretty big in India, but a few months ago, they even became #2 there to Samsung. It just seems like they are content to slide as a hardware provider.

    I am convinced that when WM8 is released and the Windows phones and tablets start to hit the market, they will take a huge chunk of market share from Android. Nokia will get a bump from this, but I am not sure how much. If people start getting coonditioned to Samsung and HTC devices, they might still want that maker even with Windows.

    BTW, Google is dumb, IMHO, to be so buddy buddy with Apple. They seem determined to not do anything that would be competitive and that might piss off Apple. But Microsoft is not going to eat Apple’s lunch when their phones and tabs come out. Android is going to take the hit. If Google were smarter, they would be more competitive so win over as many native Apple users as possible now, since they will lose so many users later.

    • symbolset

      Nobody is going to take the hit. There was a lot of this talk before Windows Phone launched too: how Microsoft was going toe-to-toe with Apple, and Android wasn’t even worthy of mention. It was going to utterly destroy the iPhone, restore Microsoft’s reign in mobile, usher in a new age of mobile to desktop convergence with Microsoft firmly in charge. The AAPL bubble would burst. They even had a funeral for the iPhone:

      But that was then, and this is now, and all those horrors failed to occur – in retrospect they all seem rather silly. Now all the same arguments apply as before. It’s do-or-die time. They’re bringing their A-team and their A-game. Billions in marketing. They’re the 800 lb gorilla on the desktop. Strong brand. Millions of users. Committed CIOs with quadcolor flag tattoos. Yadda yadda, ad nauseum. And then nothing. A damp firecracker. A suspicious lack of credible numbers.

      There is no reason to expect this time will be any different.

  • I just want the option to have a phone that can do mobile computing. That’s why i am excited with these quad core phones arriving.

  • Dissappointed

    The statement is flawed. Saying quad core processors are not needed yet just reeks of Nokia’s inability to keep up with the competition. Rest assured apps will be developed to make use of quad core processing really soon and then Nokia and Microsoft can fall back even further in the race. Why didnt microsoft make the same claim when they release win7 64-bit ages ago when affordable computers still cant fully utilise the features yet? The technology industry has always been a catchup game. You snooze you lose. Try harder. Should be expecting more from Nokia and Microsoft than making statements like this.

  • Curoi

    This guy (Elop) is high or something and is losing (or has lost) touch with reality! He needs to get back to Earth. The days when Nokia set mobile standards and over-charging us for their under spec-ed phones are over a long time ago! I think it’ll take their market share dipping to 1% for him and Nokia to wake-up from their pipe dream!

  • Androidauthority

    They are still being stubborn, Nokia Android would sell like hot cakes.

  • Yman

    Seems an idiot and looser’s arrogant statement!

  • I think Nokia is stubborn and does not want to take the reality. Quad core is the future. One core – dead. Windows phone – no any future, almost dead. You should think that one BIG FAMILY is the only one – ANDROID’s FREEEEEEDOM !!!