Quite recently, I had the privilege to visit Nokia World 2010, their annual phone and developer event, which was sold out. There were a lot of people out there who were curious about Nokia’s latest devices and development initiatives.
When I landed out at the event hotel, few people were speaking about how Nokia was in disarray with resignations from the top few people who have mattered to them for the past few years, including their CEO Anssi.
However, the events that followed were much of a revelation. After the Nokia N97 debacle, I finally saw with my own eyes, that Nokia had finally understood what a touch smartphone should be like. Let me just add here, that Nokia is the market leader in phone manufacturing and they are not just about a smartphone, yet they have always been innovators, even when they have failed to challenge this segment with their devices.
Nokia has worked in many ways to actually fulfill their mantra of "Connecting People" by bringing people together in places where no other manufacturer would go; the rural areas of developing countries. Kudos to them for that, but yet, living around New York, I always wondered whether Nokia would cater my needs, and they most probably have got an hang of how to do it.
Let me tell you that I was almost first in line at the Nokia flagship store in New York when they launched the Nokia N97, and I was very very disappointed with it. However, I was pretty happy when I saw the new Nokia devices launched this time around. Out of the new Nokia offerings, including the Nokia N8, Nokia E7 and other similar devices like the Nokia C6 and Nokia C7, I wouldn’t buy any, however, from here on I believe that the future Nokia devices will be far more better than their competition.
Going forward, with a new CEO in Stephen Elop, I feel that Nokia with its huge history have a really good chance to get back into the smartphone market, specifically the touch phone market, where they are nothing but bystanders right now, except for maybe Nokia N900.
Nevertheless, Nokia still has a long way to go before it can actually sit on top of the smartphone pile and they do have to take care of a lot of things which are not working in their favor. I have several grouses against Nokia and these are the some of the few that I feel could be a deterrent to them:
Delivering on Time
The one big problem Nokia is facing right now is the ability to deliver on time. They still don’t have the OS for the Nokia N8 fully ready and they don’t have a clear cut idea when it would be ready, even though they keep saying that it would be ready in the next few weeks. For a device that was announced months ago, it should have been ready by now.
Nokia, in my opinion, do not have the flexibility to bile time, because there are not many devices out there from them that would make people go crazy. They have to keep pushing devices as fast as they can. I have met and heard from people who were anxious to get their hands on the Nokia C6 and other Nokia devices, however, the numerous delays have made them go to some other manufacturer. Driving away customers to the competition is something which Nokia does not want to be doing right now.
Stick With One OS/Platform
Right now Nokia has too many things going on at once, they have an unfinished Symbian^3 which is baffling. They are also already working on Symbian^4 which is baffling again, considering that they haven’t yet finished work on the predecessor.
To top that they have Meego, which is again a good OS, but Nokia hasn’t yet found good devices to put them on. There was a lot of disappointment when Nokia did not speak about Meego at the Nokia World 2010, that goes on to show what developers and consumers have been waiting for. In my opinion, they should just stick with one platform and continue working on it, rather than doing things simultaneously and having nothing ready at all.
Another problem I came across while speaking with Nokia product managers was that, the future Nokia Symbian^4 OS will not be compatible with older devices including the Nokia N8 and Nokia E7. Hey Nokia, why don’t you take a leaf out of iOS and Android books? Most of their devices are portable to any new OS they ship, why couldn’t you do it with your latest high-end devices at-least? That is an absolute #FAIL for me.
Creating a Smartphone Browser
I understand that they are working on one, but they should have been ready with it. Smartphones are as much about browsing as much as about apps. In the past two years, every other smartphone browser has grown leaps and bounds except for Nokia’s. Agreed that they are working on a new browser, but where is it? Why was there no demo at Nokia World? Why isn’t the new browser shipping with your latest flagship device?
Stop Confusing Users With Similar Devices
Out at Nokia World, 4 devices were announced, the Nokia N8, Nokia E7, Nokia C6 and Nokia C7. All of these devices were similar except for the Nokia E7 which had a QWERTY. The point here is that, most of the devices had the same features, some had more, some had less.
Nokia here wants people in different segments to have affordable phones, but why are you cloning your flagship device? Why offer competition to your own devices? If you want to create affordable phones, do it, but do not confuse the users as to which one they should buy. Just make a flagship device and sell it, then make affordable devices which are not similar but offer smartphone capabilities.
These are just some of the things on top of my mind which I feel is hindering them right now. I may be right or wrong, but remember, these are my opinions. The future is now in Nokia’s hands, let’s hope they don’t ruin it going forward.