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Summary:

Nokia, like an aging boxer who’s put on too many pounds, is hoping to shed some extra weight to better compete with the young up-and-comers: The Finnish handset maker said today that it will cut its smartphone portfolio in half in 2010.

Nokia, like an aging boxer who’s put on too many pounds, is hoping to shed some extra weight to better compete with the young up-and-comers. The Finnish handset manufacturer said today that it will halve its smartphone portfolio next year to “cut down unnecessary differentiation” and put more effort behind fewer products.

The long overdue move to consolidate its lineup isn’t entirely unexpected — Nokia said two weeks ago it planned to whittle down its number of new models — but the degree to which it’s reducing its portfolio is drastic given that it churned out some 20 smartphone models this year alone. Cutting its number of offerings should help the struggling manufacturer, though, as it will allow Nokia to better tie its brand to a few flagship devices and cut the costs of developing a wide range of phones.

The company’s success selling low- to mid-range smartphones in developing markets is well documented, but Nokia continues to lose ground in the U.S. and Europe as superphones from Apple and Research In Motion chip away at its market share. And that’s a trend that’s likely to continue — in the short term, at least — as Google’s Android platform picks up steam.

But while a slimmed-down handset portfolio is sure to help Nokia fend off its challengers, the key to its success over the next couple of years will be its Symbian OS, which is slated to receive an extensive facelift next year.  Symbian has long been a serious vulnerability for Nokia, and many questions are being asked about how slowly the Symbian Foundation is moving when it comes to open sourcing its OS, but the platform has a massive installed user base and will continue to be the company’s primary OS as development continues on Maemo. Coupling an overhauled Symbian platform with a smaller lineup of impressive new handsets would be a solid step in reversing Nokia’s fortunes.

  1. Was there not two comments here? I could of swore I saw them on this post as I came back to read one in particular. Hmmmm, may be I’m going nutz

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  2. Yahoo is dying, Myspace is dying, Nokia is ALSO dying, but Windows Mobile (which is ALSO dying) might resurrect. No condition is permanent under the sun. ICT businesses must be dynamic otherwise their life expectancy will be less than five years.

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  3. I remember my Nokia 3315, many will remember 3310 its arguably most popular sibling, still kicking in hands of many of my friends. But i do not remember the Nokia phone’s model which I am using now.
    My point is models are many but people only remember those models that have some substance in it and not just another copycat.

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  4. dear Nokia:

    Instead of cutting back on the diversity of your phones, why don’t you update the firmware of your older phones? Do an installment plan so people in the US can afford your $600 unlocked phones? Have a decent HTML email client that ins’t tied into your crappy Messaging?

    Nokia’s diversity is what makes it work. Touchscreens are NOT for everyone.

    Nokia is suffering because outside of the traditional phone functions they suck ass and are not consumer friendly. Why can Apple provide new firmware for 3 year old iphones, but a six month Nokia is dead to them?

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    1. Hi Charlie,
      Thanks for the comments. I’m glad to hear you share our belief in offering different types of devices for different needs.
      Our comments about reducing the number of devices we offer was made with comments about fewer but better ones, including a better web experience and at better price points. Your other comments are noted and thank you for them. Some of our older models don’t support over the air firmware updates; of course the newer ones do.
      Nokia is working hard to earn your business back.
      KJL from Nokia.

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  5. People always complain about the costs of Apple products, but I am still using my 2 year old Air, and my 2.5 year old iPhone and designing iPhone apps on them. Stopped by the AT&T store last night to get a new one, but they annoyed me, and I’ll likely still use this until June or when the Tablet arrives. It’s sad when AT&T is more annoying than my nearly three year old phone!

    Apple’s implementation of a rational product structure was smart, and there were not the originators of this tactic. I even think that they should clean it up further. But, everybody in the in industry thinks that Nokia’s product map is nuts. I also highly agree with other comments encouraging Nokia to support past products. You can get away with it until you can’t!

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  6. “there are questions being asked about how slowly the symbian foundation is moving in open sourcing it’s OS”.

    If you people ever did any research as opposed to taking rumour and hearsay at face value, you would know something about how Symbian is being open-sourced. The Symbian OS is divided into packages. Each of these has an owner. Since Symbian was originally contributed by Nokia, the owners all come from there. A package cannot be released to EPL until all of the code in it follows the proper licensing. This is the responsibility of the owner. There are people in Symbian whose job it is to prompt the owners to do this. They are not actually doing it themselves. Anyway, it was stated upfront that the target date was H1 2010. So the only questions being asked are by those who haven’t bothered to understand.

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    1. excuses!!! just make a better UI with features for real people [vs. Finnish engineers] & traditional Nokia build quality, and people will line at Nokia’s door.

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  7. [...] share of the mobile phone market, that share is declining. As a result, the company intends to halve its smartphone portfolio, and has recently begun closing retail outlets. Perhaps that’s why the company sounded a [...]

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  8. [...] share of the mobile phone market, that share is declining. As a result, the company intends to halve its smartphone portfolio, and has recently begun closing retail outlets. Perhaps that’s why the company sounded a [...]

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