Not even Android can save Nokia now

May 18, 2012
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How many of us first started with Nokia? I’m willing to bet that for most of you, a Nokia device was your first mobile phone. Having ‘grown up’ with Nokia phones, I’ve since made the graceful hop to Android, and it’s never been better. That being said, I still think back fondly, almost like an adolescent love relationship that all of us have had – and still cherish in my heart the time we spent together. However, this broken love is just a remnant from the past, and I, and the market, have affirmed their love for Android. Not everyone has plunged into the ever growing world of Android though, as we are still hearing cases of people going to the extreme, and, in some instances, selling parts of their bodies, or even their virginity to get the latest iDevice.

The Nokia 3310 was my first phone. Unfortunately all that is left of it are entertaining memes on the internet. And, having outgrown dumb phones, Asians – who were once Nokia’s biggest supporters – are disappointed that present day Nokias haven’t brought their once famous durability to their latest devices.

After the 3310, I had the Nokia N95 and the Xpress music 5800, which in my opinion are the best that Nokia has ever produced. Nothing after that mattered. Nokia even had to swallow their pride and admit their failure with the N97. The N8 and N9 came and went – creating little ripples.

Fast forward to 2012, and Nokia is mired by problems more pressing and numerous than ever before. They recently lost their position in the great mobile phone shipment battle to Samsung, while their flagship Nokia Lumia 900 has received mixed reviews. Other problems include:

It is no surprise that the company is imploding. After all, they jumped from a burning platform to another burning platform.

Here’s why.

Nokia Smartphones Don’t Command Value

By this, I meant the selling value. Nokia phones have always been the ‘cheaper’ alternative. In fact, in Asia, the price of WP7 devices halves in 6 months). This is a problem, because it means that they don’t make as much as competitors per smartphone. Being ‘cheaper’ also means that telcos would have to sell in higher volumes to match what they earn from Android and Apple. This is not a good picture.

But there is also a lingering question: will consumers pay less, if and when, access to Android and iPhones are equally affordable?

There might be those who would choose Nokia’s ailing phones, but I believe that the number of people who would do this are few. Consequently, telcos shun WP7 because the demand is so low.

What’s worse is that the Ovi Store has been completely removed from Lumia phones. This means that most app revenues have to be shared with Microsoft. There aren’t ways to sideload apps apart from a developer unlocking tool. This may sound irrelevant, but not when you compare how much Apple is making from their apps alone.

nokia-microsoft-wp7Nokia’s decision in going with Windows Phone is costing them more than they bargained for. Plus, Nokia will have to start paying Microsoft for WP7 licensing fees (sooner or later). There is also a question where Elop said WP7 would allow Nokia to differentiate better than competitors. How is it better than Nokia phones running Android?

We will never find out. It’s too late to turn back the clock.

Nokia Products Don’t Inspire Desirability As Others

I consider the late Steve Jobs as a marketing person more than a tech genius. Today, almost every corporation worships the means and methods laid down by Jobs. Others look to the life of Jobs like the way they read Sun Tzu’s, Art of War.

Steve Jobs marketed well, and the results are obvious.

Which brings me to the next question – What is outstanding about Nokia’s advertising and marketing? Most of us will draw a blank when asked this question.

That’s a marketing nightmare for Nokia’s marketing people.

That means that Nokia is either not doing enough marketing, or their marketing is so bad, that tech writers like me have no lasting impression of any part of it.

Nokia Is Not Fully Utilizing Their Tech

Nokia is a strong contender in terms of hardware. They were, if I may say, the best from yesteryear. However, hardware makes up a fraction in terms of consumer desirability. The premium smartphone market is the most rewarding, and there are consumers that are willing to pay good money to hold the latest devices in their hands from the tech worlds’ red carpet.

Symbian hasn’t delivered anything on par with iOS and Android, and WP7 is still wallowing slowly in infancy. WP7 isn’t a game changer the way Motorola introduced the original Motorola Droid years ago.

Instead, Nokia’s Lumia range is WP7 slapped on slightly better hardware.

It shows.

It Is Too Late For Nokia To Jump On The Android Bandwagon

Let’s imagine for a moment that Nokia decided to go Android.

2012 has arrived and the Nokia has arrived with a quad core processor; packing an 8MP Carl Zeiss lens. Nokia also announced the Nokia Android Pureview – a 41MP, quad core beast that neither Samsung nor HTC has even come close to creating. Nokia Android users gain a whole world of access to apps via the Google Play Store. At that point, Elop has turned the company from the red into piles and piles of green cash. Nokia also holds the title as the manufacturer with the most mobile devices shipped with Samsung at a close second. Nokia continues to pressure HTC to continue bundling Beats Audio headphones with their devices as it launches their new Nokia Android XpressMusic range.

Sounds interesting?

Perhaps.

Would Nokia have successfully differentiated themselves from the other phones in the segment – absolutely! Their superior hardware would shine and would put them way ahead of HTC, and possibly enable them to fight Samsung head on.

That hasn’t happened, and going Android now would be too late.

That would be spreading the fire.

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