Rohit Mishra

Thoughts which don’t fit in 140 characters.

Is Nokia Capable of Fighting Back?

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[caption id=“attachment_65” align=“alignright” width=“280” caption=“Nokia N8”]Nokia N8[/caption]

Nokia appointed Anssi Vanjoki to lead its fightback against IPhone and Android and regain its place at the top of smartphones market. Anssi fired out a passionate blog post , where he outlines his strategy on mobiles. I was an ardent supporter in Nokia and believed that N97 will be a killer product in my Jan 2009 post. To be considerate to Nokia, N97 was a disaster. The specs were only on sheet and everything from lack of RAM to an out of place Symbian brought the phone down. I went on to buy a Nokia 5800 XpressMusic phone last year, but that was only because there was no affordable Android mobile in that range. I will NOT let anyone buy a Symbian touchphone now over Android.

As Anssi acknowledged in his post, the greatest of Symbian fans like Ricky Cadden have quitted Symbian.

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Anssi made it clear that they are not interested in making an Android handset. He further confused people about its Meego strategy. Nokia tries to differentiate between smartphones and mobile computers. As far as most of us are concerned, both are the same thing.  He says

The Nokia N8 will be our only Nseries device on Symbian3. Of course, we ‘never comment on future products’, but a Symbian4 Nseries device is a strong possibility. A very strong possibility ;-)

That means NSeries - Nokia’s flagship will move to Meego but can also be on Symbian. Developers - start work on Meego, but also be on Symbian. WTF!!

There is another major problem. When the N97 came, it generated a lot of buzz due to its significantly better hardware specs than IPhone. Anssi says

I have been testing the N8 and I believe it is going to surprise a lot of people with its power and speed. The camera and HD quality video and deep integration with Ovi services will make this an entertainment powerhouse.

The new N8 has got nothing special in terms of hardware. IPhone 4’s Retina Display has set the display standard, Facetime has the simplest video calling whereas Motorola’s Droid, HTC’s EVO  and Samsung’s Galaxy have created new standards in screen size and processor speed. The 680 Mhz processor won’t match the speeds of 1GHz processor that every major manufacturer has on its phone. HD Video recording has also become common. That leaves the 12 MP camera, but as we know from the camera wars, megapixel is not everything.

Nokia makes its phones now with Ovi Services in the background. Ovi Maps are horrible and there are few takers for Ovi Files, Ovi Calendar etc The Ovi tie up that Nokia is talking about, is actually a weakpoint. They are much better off getting their devices to sync perfectly with Google’s cloud apps like GMail and Google Calendar.

One more thing:

Nokia has not been able to tie up with major operators in USA who will subsidize its phones. The high price means few buyers in USA, less developer attention and that in turn makes the Nokia ecosystem pretty deficient.

Nokia can give a good phone again, but that will only happen if they laser-focus on making a good phone and let go all the unnecessary traps that a company of their size often gets into.

Photo courtesy Flickr/abulhussain