Nokia is stuck in a rut, losing ground quickly and unable to change its ways to meet consumer demand. Four years ago, one would find it unthinkable that the leading handset manufacturer in the world would lose more than 20% market share (that is a conservative estimate, most have it around 40%) in two or three years.
Nokia is still producting great hardware. The N97 is a magnificent device, capable of replacing your digital camera, video recorder, music player and mobile phone. However, it is run by software made in 2001. Symbain OS has become the Windows XP of the mobile world, unable or willing to change its ways. Perhaps market dominance and huge profits do this to a company, but Nokia has acknowledged that there is a problem and has still failed to fix/dump/upgrade Symbian OS.
The real question is if Nokia can recover before the cost of an iPhone gets to the price point where the avg mobile user can afford it. The iPhone is still a bit of a “fancy” phone, but if and when it reaches $200-$300 without a contract you will see a mass exodus of former Nokia users who would have been bound for the N95-N97 range of handsets.
Nokia needs to do a couple of things.
1) Get their app-store (Ovi) working well
2) Revamp symbian or dump it in favor of another OS
3) Ensure that whichever OS they go with has a killer development environment for it
4) Create more standard phones, 30 different screen sizes may no longer be possible, reducing the number to 4 or 5 would actually help.
Not only have the users spoken, but so have the software devs. Companies like Nokia have not offered an easy way to distribute or build applications for their devices and platforms. Apple has taken care of that and is reaping the benefits by getting the loyalty of users and developers. I’ll be the first to tell you how much I loath objective-C, but developing on a standard screen size with a small variety of phones (Edge, 3G and 3GS) makes up for having to deal with Objective-C (well, almost).
Nokia needs to “reinvent” itself and do it quickly, or it will be making a comeback like Palm did with the Pre, 5 years from now.
All hail competition….. :-)
I look forward to your comments….