Pay Attention: Nokia is Becoming Super Relevant Once Again Right Before our Eyes
By: Hillel Fuld
If you have been following this blog, you know we have an issue with a binary view of the mobile space. To create drama and a “story”, many online (and offline) journalists like to view this space in black and white terms. You know what I mean, “Alive or Dead”, “Amazing or Horrible”, and “A Killer or Will-be-Killed”. Except, that is not how this market really works.
Nokia is the perfect example to illustrate the complexities of the mobile industry. For years, bloggers, who are mainly U.S based, have declared Nokia (and Microsoft) irrelevant in the mobile space. Of course, that was never really the case and while the iPhone and Android were selling like hot cakes in certain countries, Nokia always maintained its dominance in a majority of the world. Nokia continued to sell a million mobile handsets a day in emerging markets, a number that anyone would be nuts to call irrelevant.
Except Nokia’s margin on these feature phones in emerging markets was close to non-existent, and in the world of US mobile carriers, the new and hot mobile apps, and the geeky tech blogosphere, Nokia did seem somewhat irrelevant there for a bit.
The fact that Nokia developers were making tens of thousands of dollars in monthly revenue, and the fact that Nokia was and still is the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer are just not as sexy as a new level in Angry Birds, as far as tech bloggers are concerned, and that is fine.
To be fair, this feeling of Nokia’s irrelevancy is not completely baseless and in the world of iOS and Android, Symbian was a problematic OS to say the least. Maemo, as you know, never came to fruition, so Nokia’s solid hardware without a great OS and hundreds of thousands of apps just don’t cut it in today’s market, said the blogosphere.
Well, this trend is reversing itself as we speak before our very eyes. Nokia, and by extension, Microsoft have their work cut out for them, and the main focus is on the marketing/branding side, but if today’s snapshot of the internet is any indication, Nokia is becoming super relevant in the mobile landscape at this very second.
Go ahead, open up any tech blog. You want a few examples? See The NY Times, or The Verge, or TheNextWeb, or TechCrunch, or Mashable, and trust me, the list goes on. Nokia is everywhere and almost everyone is saying the same thing. The newly announced Lumia 900, as well as its predecessor the Lumia 800 and 710 are fantastic devices running a stunning OS that has tremendous potential. See a spec comparison of the Lumia lineup and other Windows Phone devices here.
See the top stories on Techmeme to get a clear picture of what tech blogs are talking about today…
There are many skeptics of course, who believe Nokia and Microsoft are too late to the game, but we know what happens with those superior products that were late in the tech space. See below.Here is the bottom line. The Microsoft/Nokia partnership has all the components in place to become a huge player in this space. We are still in the early days and the mobile market is evolving hourly. Android is having some branding issues of its own and Microsoft is pushing full steam ahead with support from some fantastic and unique products, the likes of which the market has said it has not seen since the introduction of the original iPhone.
Will Windows Phone make it? No one knows the answer to that question, of course, but if our experience has shown us anything, it is that you cannot succeed in this space without a little help from the online and offline world of journalism. If no one is talking about you, no one is buying your product. So, Nokia and Microsoft set out to generate some buzz and get people talking. It is now safe to say “Mission Accomplished”.
Next step for Nokia and Microsoft? Close the “App Gap” of 350k-450k apps that exists between the Windows Phone platform and its competitors iOS/Android. Oh, and Microsoft, please fire the person who decided to call the platform “Windows Phone”. Rename it “Metro”, and while you’re at it, come up with a better name for the program to sync Windows Phone devices to a computer than “Zune”. We saw how well that went for you last time.
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