Nokia is losing smartphone market to Apple, RIM and even HTC in terms of hardware and it is losing to Android and iOS in terms of software. Nokia is just not losing the smartphone race. It is losing the not-so-smart phone race too globally. US and UK are big smartphone markets, rest of the world still consumes a more traditional phones. Nokia which has a very stronghold in these markets is losing to local players. Nexian, i-Mobile and Micromax are eating into Nokia’s share in emerging markets.
Two things happened to Nokia in the last three years. It grew blind to the smartphone race and was left behind. Apple took Nokia on from the blindside. Let’s just say this is a honest mistake. In the not-so-smart segment of the phones, Nokia ignored some key categories. This is Nokia’s second mistake. It stopped innovating. In India for example, it completely ignored the dual SIM category. It is the same category on which, Micromax has based its entire product line and business on. Nokia phones will last longer than a Micromax phone. But that’s not visible in front of all the bling’s of Micromax. Micromax is launching a brand new model every month, sometimes in an entirely new niche. Nokia is still stuck with its old form factor phones. The cheap Chinese hardware couldn’t have come at wrong time for Nokia.
Nokia still makes and will continue to make some of the sturdiest phones. Nokia 5233 is cost-effective touch screen phone launched in India and it is an instant hit. It has topped the list of most sought after phone in web searches and it is the top phone used to access opera mini browser. Nokia’s 1100 is the best phone ever for the emerging markets.
Every 2 in 5 mobile related search queries in India are about Nokia.
Nokia N8, Nokia’s latest offering in the smartphone basket, is quite a sturdy phone. With a 12 megapixel camera, it is the best camera phone money can buy. N8 got solid hardware, unlike iPhone. The only problem with it is the software. As I have been advocating for quite a while, after you buy a piece of hardware, a phone or a tablet, all you are left with is the software. Nokia, unfortunately doesn’t make good software. It should leave it to someone who makes better software. For that to happen, Nokia has to accept that its software sucks. Even if it tries hard to get into the software race, it might succeed partially. But by the time, iOS, Android and even Windows Mobile would be much ahead of the race.
Nokia is very close to committing its third mistake – insistence on using Symbian software. The first two things could have happened to any company. Few bad years and competition is eating away market share. But not looking at the trends and not adopting to the market situation is a mistake Nokia cannot commit. Not if it wants to be the leading phone vendor of the world. It still leads the market by a considerable percentage but that will be short lived. Smartphone only mobile vendors like Apple and RIM have entered the top 5 space. That is not a happy sign for Nokia.
Software fight is not a fight worth fighting for Nokia. It should instead concentrate on what it does best – producing great hardware. For software Nokia can leave it to experts like Google and Microsoft.
Nokia should get on board with Google and install Android or it can get in bed with Microsoft for Windows Mobile. Either way, Nokia will be a winner.
Nokia choosing Android, would be the final trophy for Google. As for Microsoft it would be more than happy to get Nokia on-board.
It’s time for Nokia to seriously consider an alternate to Symbian. Android or Windows whatever the choice is.