By: Hillel Fuld
The mobile market is becoming an increasingly competitive space. With Android numbers exploding, iOS continuing to amaze in its popularity, and Windows Phone 7 enjoying some very optimistic predictions, companies like RIM, Palm/HP, and especially Nokia are finding it increasingly difficult to tread water.
However, while the tech press likes to see things in black and white, or more accurately in “alive or dead”, Nokia is far from its death bed, despite its decreasing numbers.
Is Nokia in trouble? Well, if the company does not make some drastic moves in the coming months, maybe, but has it shows its willingness to completely shake things up? Absolutely. It is for this reason; I believe Nokia will still be around in a decade from now.
In addition, let’s take a look at what characteristics a mobile company needs in today’s market in order to survive and succeed!
Global Distribution and Interest
There are many things you can say about Nokia, but there is no denying that in terms of its global presence, it is still a superpower. The latest numbers coming from the Finnish company speak of a million mobile devices sold daily.
While the western world likes to think there is nothing else beyond its borders, Nokia still accounts for over 55% of all mobile devices in Australia, 72% in Italy, and a whopping 80% market share in India.
If Nokia can make the right moves and execute the Microsoft deal well, the sky is the limit for these two tech giants. Based on IDC predictions, the Windows Phone 7 OS will be surpassing iPhone and BlackBerry sales by 2015 and with all high end Nokia devices running Windows Phone 7, this game is far from over.
For more information on Nokia’s global numbers, see this infographic.
One of the major issues consumers have today with Nokia is its software. Symbian is by all standards a mess of an OS. It might have worked years ago when there was no iPhone or Android, but today, consumers expect an intuitive and seamless UI, and Symbian fails to deliver that.
Nokia, apparently knew this and has joined forces, as you know, with Microsoft. Again, many things you can say about the software giant, but if you have spent thirty seconds with Windows Phone 7, you know that Microsoft is on to something here. While some might claim Android borrowed some UI elements form iOS and vice versa, Windows Phone 7 is a fresh and original OS that provides an impressive and intuitive user experience. Nokia made a smart and bold move here, which I believe will begin to pay off by year’s end.
Software is important; there is no doubt about it, but at the end of the day, we all depend on the hardware of our mobile phones, and without solid hardware, the most intuitive UI is not worth much.
Nokia is famous for its hardware and has always manufactured mobile devices to the highest possible standard. Phones like the N95, N95, N8 and others have received different reviews on the Web, but the common denominator is that everyone agrees that from a hardware perspective, Nokia phones lead the industry.
Running a great OS, like Windows Phone 7 on Nokia phones is sort of like putting the engine of a Lamborghini into the body of a Rolls Royce. You get the best of both worlds and that seems to be Nokia’s strategy here.
Apps, Apps, and More Apps
When talking about a mobile ecosystem today, the first question on the lips of any consumer is “how many apps does the OS have?” With 450,000 iOS apps, 250,000 Android apps, and all the other platforms including BlackBerry, WebOS, and the older j2Me apps, Nokia and Microsoft have a lot of catching up to do.
Having said that, the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace reached the 10,000 mark after just four and a half months, faster than both Apple and Google did. In addition, the apps have blown by the one million downloads mark and as of now, there are more than a hundred new Windows Phone 7 apps added every day to the marketplace.
Lastly, based on feedback I have gotten from developers who have apps on iOS and Android, the Windows Phone 7 development tools are significantly easier and more intuitive to develop on than Android’s. Overall, the developer experience on the new platform is very impressive.
In conclusion, there are a lot of question marks surrounding the Nokia Microsoft partnership, but between Nokia’s global audience, stellar hardware, combined with Microsoft’s impressive OS and increasing number of apps, Nokia seems to be planting the seeds for a successful mobile strategy.
Just to throw one more thing into the equation, Nokia has deals with global operators in place, which might come in very handy when we start seeing Nokia phones running Windows Phone 7 by the hundreds.
Finally, the latest events have shown that Nokia has what it takes to come back and dominate the space, although some might say the company has made a few mistakes along the way.
As always, we would love to hear your thoughts on the matter…