What's Wrong With Nokia, Part 1

51 Comments

Nokia_N97_mini_3_lowres.jpgI was swapping tweets yesterday with Michael Gartenberg, a respected gadget analyst who attended Nokia World, the Nokia-sponsored lovefest held this week in Stuttgart, Germany, and it was clear he was feeling underwhelmed. Understandably so. I didn’t have to fly to Germany to figure out that Nokia is on a slippery, muddy slope with the rain coming down hard overhead, but I’m waiting for Gartenberg to pen his thoughts all the same. In the interim, let’s chew on the sheer number of OS platforms Nokia says it’s going to support.

  • Symbian for its cell phones.
  • Windows 7 for its netbooks. (It calls them “booklets.”)
  • Maemo Linux for mobile computing devices such as the N900.

Jonas Geust, vice president of the Nokia N-series division, told the Taiwanese publication Digitimes that “Nokia has enough platform diversity in its products and there is no need for Nokia to adopt any more operating systems.” For heaven’s sake, the company shouldn’t even be thinking about more operating systems — not unless it gets its house in order.

Maemo-based Internet tablets have sold fewer units than the U.S. has scored runs in international cricket. And when it comes to the high-end, aka the most profitable, segment of the phone business, Nokia is under attack. Yet in response, all the company did was come out with a mini version of its high-end phone, the N97, which wasn’t selling terribly well to begin with. As for those booklets, well, they’re going to be competing with the Asian computer makers in a market where margins are less than 5 percent. Good luck selling a booklet for $810 a pop.

My only question is, how are the developers that are Nokia loyalists going to deal with all those platforms? Thoughts?

51 Comments

Ving

Nokia really need to start thinking about adopting the Android platform before they lose ground in the smart phone market. In a few years time, everyone will have smart phones and where will that leave Nokia??

I haven’t owned a Nokia phone since the 3210 (great phone btw). I know many people who bought the Nokia N97, really disappointed and changing it for either an iPhone or Android phone. Can’t say I blame them.

Maha

Nokia is always know to be perfect device manufacturer among all but i have observed that their latest devices are not only expensive but also having OS and features issues, that lead the users to look for more options.

Bob

“Maemo-based Internet tablets have sold fewer units than the U.S. has scored runs in international cricket.”

Love it!

Jim

Like others have said: Nokia, just BUY PALM already. Mobile operating system and U.S. presence problems would be solved in one shot, via webOS.

lamapper

As for Nokia buying Palm that would be a step in the wrong direction. The Palm OS and any Windows based OS is the wrong direction. Now it they installed damn small Linux or another distro that would be huge. At least they allow for Maemo and that is a step in the right direction.

Panch Rupaiyya

What exactly is a “gadget analyst”? Which schools offer a course in “gadget analysis”? Who are some of the other “respected” “gadget analysts” in America and the world? Are there conferences where “gadget analysts” meet and analyze gadgets?

Dan White

Good observation. We attempted to develop Web Runtime widgets. We have given up since they launch N97. The one big mistake they did was to fund developers in Eastern Europe to create widgets (such as Facebook) that use undocumented Symbian features. This is a no-no. Why do I want to develop on their platform, if all i can achieve is second class citizen?

Ashutosh

Especially if you look at 2 million N97s, they are being sold all over the world however Apple and RIM have attained their sales through much tighter geography. Imagine if they have Nokia’s spread?

Nokia’s problem is not the hardware. The problem is the ecosystem supporting their phones. They are harping on services but doing nothing about it. Ovi is a big fail. They were not wrong in pushing Ovi because that’s the ONLY way forward. Nokia has a huge base and rather than focussing on new phones, they should be improving the services part of the existing phones by firmware updates, providing enough applications, enticing developers.

But I get a feeling, Nokia seems to have just one focus, Getting the “new devices” right and leaving aside the whole bunch of existing customers. I hope they realize the importance of services soon otherwise they might be shown the “Ovi” (which means door in finnish) from the Smartphone market.

Skyler (Maemo Ninja)

First, the N900 is $650 USD, secondly the previous internet tablets didn’t do so well, because until the N900, they have been simply Internet Devices (not even PDAs really) that were facing competition from smart phones. Nokia, by adding GSM capabilities has changed the market that Internet Tablets exist in. And for all purposes, I can’t even say the N900 is an “Internet Tablet” anymore. http://bit.ly/3F4V5q

powel

nokia should go for android head-on. it’s all theirs to win, or otherwise dillydally and loose.

slim

Nokia is the Mercedes-Benz of handsets. they were the mack daddy (great UI, rugged, good radio, etc.) when phones were for TALKing. now a very limited group aspires to have a Nokia, with HTC, Samsung, LG, and Apple running circles around ’em. they’re “my Dad’s phone” now.

IMO, it may be cultural. Fins (no offense) aren’t the most flexible, risk taking folks out there. a friend who works at Nokia, said they had all the same great technology as Apple just sitting in house waiting to be used. BUT it doesn’t get “green lighted” or marketed well.

why? risk aversion, poor leadership, too big to succeed, lack of Interweb savvy, or maybe they’re still making phones for…my Dad.

Chris

“Gadget analyst” is my favorite term of the day! It makes sense, I just haven’t heard it said that way before. I agree, good luck selling a booklet for 800 bucks! I wouldn’t pay that.

Om Malik

Chris

See my reply above.

666,000 or so a month vs 1.25 million iPhones and similar amount of Blackberry’s sold every month, you know they are in trouble. LEt’s wait and see how the sales do for them. I think the company is a bit delusional as of now and is not actually doing anything concrete to stem the share loss and compete actively.

I love the Nokia phones, but lately they are just looking dowdy and unimaginative.

Israel Nicolas

Om

That is not the right way to look at it. Nokia has a battalion of phones in the class of N97. It is not like Apple which has ONLY the Iphone, Palm with the Pre, and RIM with only the Blackberry. Nokia has no “flagship phone” since they have a wide array of models to compete against their rivals.

N97 sales figure is very impressive considering the number of models that Nokia already have on offer on that segment. They will not lose sleep because that ONE SINGLE MODEL failed to top the iPhone.

Om Malik

Let me show you how Nokia is in trouble and this is from their press release of the Q2 Earnings:

* Nokia expects its market share in mobile devices to be approximately flat in 2009 vs. 2008.
* Devices & Services net sales of EUR 6.6 billion, down 28% year on year
* Nokia net sales of EUR 9.9 billion, down 25% year on year
* Nokia mobile device ASP of EUR 62, down from EUR 65 in Q1 2009.
* Nokia mobile device volumes of 103.2 million units, down 15% year on year (Estimated industry mobile device volumes of 268 million units, down 12% year on year.)
* Nokia estimated mobile device market share of 38% in Q2 2009, down from 40% in Q2 2008

So yes, they sell a lot more phones, but they are making less money and they are seeing slide in their share of the mobile market. Fewer those “hit” phones, harder it is to maintain the margins and market share. Yes, they can sell tens of millions of $50-$80 phones in India and China and Africa, but is that enough? My view is that it isn’t. Anyway let’s see how they fare in the Q3 once the sales of N97 and other high end models are accounted for.

Carniphage

I would agree Nokia are in deep trouble.

Their strong market share is irrelevant because market-share is not a good indicator of profitability.

Profitability is much better indicator of profitability.

The mobile phone business, is not a technology business. Or a software business. It is mostly a fashion business. And Nokia’s products have become uncool and unfashionable.

Every premium cellphone buyer will replace their phone on a regular 18 month cycle. They will replace their top-of-the-line smartphone with another top of the line smartphone.

They will only replace their phones with Nokia if Nokia offers a product that is cool.
In a very short space of time, Nokia could lose a huge amount of market share.

The announcement of the N900 means that all Symbian phones are yesterday’s phones. They are all instantly deprecated to a second-tier of smartphone. Nokia are going to pay a price for that as all Symbian smartphones lose value.

The N900 itself seems to be a good product. The interface looks slick, the widgets are nice. And I hope someone has fixed the maze of nasty menus which make Symbian phones a chore to use.

But is it good enough to attract people away from iPhone and Blackberry in the volumes that Nokia? Which Nokia needs to just stand still?

I fear the N800 is let down by something more fundamental than user-interface. The form-factor seems just too thick and brick-like. In a fashion-led market it is not enough to be geek friendly. It has to be woman friendly. Is has to be teen friendly.

C.

marees

Om,

I think Nokia will need another 2 years (2012) to turn things around. they have been caught flat-footed by iPhone, but they are too smart to go the way of GM. For another 2 years revenues/profits might be flat, but I would take a 40% marketshare anyday.

Apple always starts with a bang. but it is always the Hare and the Tortoise story. remember Apple had the lead over MS-Dos/Windows, but ultimately MS prevailed.

Likewise after 5 years, I bet Nokia would have vanquished Apple.

NB

Why are you so sure that Apple can be vanquished by Nokia? In the fast paced world of technology, I wont be so sure that neither Apple not Nokia could be ruling the day.

Did you predict 3 years ago that we would have Apple, RIMM, (a resurgent) MOT, (a resurgent) PALM in smartphone competition today and Nokia would be an afterthought?

Cheese

Is it me ..or are you not contradicting yourself on the market share of Nokia in 2009? Admittedly, it is not growing, but then again it is not shrinking. Given what’s happening in the mobile world on the high-end and the point about volume growth not being positive, isn’t this “not too bad” for Nokia? Of course they’d be crazy to be complacent.

Having said this, the original point of the article is indisputable. Nokia is putting it’s eggs in all baskets. A strategy which reads “we don’t know who will win, so we bet on all”. To the list of partners of Nokia, you could also add Intel and moblin – keeping ARM and home grown OSs guessing. And just to make things a bit more fun, throw in Android and Chrome.

gp

Hi Om ,
Have considered amount cell phones nokia sells in a month which easily more than all iphones and RIM phones combined in a year , iphone is just a single phone (two variants ) nokia has too many choices and its always offer it unlocked and thier primary market is not US but asia and Europe , where people like reasonable choices

NB

This is countering Israel N’s write-up below (couldnt ‘reply’ to him).

But that precisely is the problem. iPhone sells a simple (for the consumer to mke a purchase decision) product line and devs have to worry about one product line – nothing wrong with that. From where I see, seems that the company is diluted (in many different ways which is a by-product of its past success). Someone mentioned innovators dilemma – with a 40% Market share, they are staring at that # going down, not up – esp with a hungry pack of fast running, innovative device makers running after them. My 2c – I am not an expert.

stasguy

@ lamapper: You stated that windows 7/vista needs 4 GB of RAM to run smoothly and that linux will work well on 512 MB of RAM. One of my computers has .75 GB of RAM, and runs windows 7 beautifully, but when I installed Ubuntu, my computer came down to grinding halt. Also, skype works like a charm on my winmo phone over cellular data.

lamapper

Its a bit disingenuous to imply that Windows 7 runs well in under 2GB, many other pro Windows 7 techs have publicly stated just the opposite. They have even provided benchmarks as proof. Sure you can run Windows 7 on less than 2GB of RAM, I never said you could not, but to run well, you need more memory and you know it.

Its FUD to give others the wrong idea. I too was disappointed, but not surprised when MS stopped supporting XP, at least it could run fast on a netbook with under 1 GB of RAM. But discontinue it they did. And that was to be expected, wasn’t it.

At least with any Linux distro, the choice to discontinue is mine alone, not anyone else s. As it should be.

As for running Skype or any VoIP over cellular, why? I know you can, but why? You should have WiFi access at home and at work. With WiFi access, you should not be required to use cellular minutes. Such tethering is one of the big complaints that are driving more cell phone users away from cellular to begin with. (One company tried to stick me with an artificially inflated bill due to texting, when I pointed out to them that I was paying an additional fee for all I could eat text messaging, they got real quiet. Their mistake was attempting to get me to still pay that bill. Illegal based on the contract we had, they wrongly assumed I would not churn. Or if I did churn I would go to yet another cellular provider. They all do it. They were wrong.

Using WiFi over cellular will eventually come back to haunt you in some hidden, inflated fee or charge. At least I was paying additional for text messaging, yet they still attempted to exploit me. Stupid.

Wait until the foreign manufacturers come out with the dual cellular / wifi enabled devices expected this year. At that point why would you purchase a cellular only phone and limit your options. A phone that will let me decide when or when NOT to use cellular makes sense, gives me options.

As for ubuntu I run it fine in 512 MB on a netbook, however it does run better with 1 GB of RAM. Heck I would like to have 2GB of RAM in my tower, even though all Linux distros run fine in 1GB or less. As the operating system leaves the extra RAM for apps and does not gobble it up. For embedded devices there are Linux distros with smaller memory and hard disk footprints than ubuntu. And you still could use apps programmed in C, PHP. And if you can use applications programmed in C and PHP, you can probably utilize C++, Perl, Python, Ruby, and many other higher level languages.

Remember there are well over 500 different Content Management Systems out in the market, many fully customizable with only PHP. Thus if your PIM does not do something, no problem, you can add any features as long as it is PHP based. That is the power of any Linux distro ported to any embedded devices. With Micro SSD cards, your storage is virtually unlimited. The Nokia N800 has two Micro SSD slots, stick in two 32MB or 16MB cards and one could be for applications and the other for data. Sweet because its all built in.

That is what blows alway all the other proprietary operating systems for embedded devices and so called smart phones that do not allow you to use Linux.

Freedom, options, choice are all there for you if a device is SMART and uses Linux.

Remember you should NOT have to use Linux either, it should be a choice. If you want to use Windows 7 or Symbian, fine, go for it. But give me the option, the choice, that is SMART!

Jesse Kopelman

If Nokia wants to make money off of netbooks they need to bring something different to the table. I don’t know what new functionality they could bring, so it seems like they need to go the route of Sony with Vaio and sell this as a premium product based on aesthetics. That will be tough in the US, where they don’t have the brand cachet. If Nokia wants to sell netbooks and N97-type phones in the US, they need to step up their marketing.

lamapper

So they are dividing it by cell phones, netbooks/booklets and mobile computing devices?

Cell phones – none of them are truly “smart” as users are not able to install the operating system of their choice. This is by design in a vain effort to vendor lock-in the customer. Basically a fail, if I can not install any Linux distro, no matter how damn small (pun intended).

Netbooks/booklets – My def is a device smaller than a breadbox (laptop) and larger than a hand held PC (mobile computing devices); they typically have less than 2 GB of RAM, therefore running Windows, any version on them is not what I would recommend. Lets face it Windows 7 / Vista need 4GB or more to run well, probably more like 6GB or 8GB. What would the battery life be like than? Fortunately I can run a bevy of Linux distros on a netbook (approx 2lbs), thin size maybe an inch; with only 512 MB of RAM; therefore any netbook / booklet (I agree with many that it is a stupid name and failed branding attempt). And if my netbook has either 1GB or 2GB of RAM (why would you need more RAM than that for its intended purpose, surfing web, email, social media, watching H.264 movies and content, etc…) than the bevy of Linux distros that support and can be loaded on these devices will not only run faster, there will be more system memory available for applications. That is always a huge WIN! (Example netbook: Asus Eee PC, perfect size, configuration and price, < $399 when first released, cheaper today)

Mobile computing devices: what a crap label. Lets call them Smart hand held devices. They run at least one Linux distro, if not more. Even a Linux distro like Maemo, offers development tools and plenty of applications. And once you have used that size screen, yes the Maemo Linux allows for a full web browser, you will not be happy with the smaller cell phone size screens anymore. These mobile computing devices, are most definitely SMART. They most certainly are PHONES. Whether they are called that or not. And Maemo is NOT brand new this year. Its been around and matured quite a bit. Funny how people forget about the Nokia 770, 800 and 880, this platform and footprint have been around since 2005!

The only reason a Linux smart hand held (cell phone or mobile computing device) has not taken off is because the wireless cell phone providers want to vendor lock you in to their network.

If consumers would exercise their consumer rights and only buy devices that allow you “jail break” and install a Linux distro, you would see this as the default operating system. You can bet that Microsoft has a hand in promoting the vendor lock-in model. Back in 2007 or 2008 one of the Linux magazines detailed all the different operating systems that were available for cell phones and hand held devices. The hardware vendors were happy to lock down their hardware for a chance to get promoted by one or more of the wireless cell phone providers. This is the real problem with cell phones.

Why consumers think they have to put up with the Customer-No Service of ALL the current cell phone providers (Metro PCS might be a slight exception here, but none of the others) is beyond me. But do not take my word for it, google RipOffReports.com and use that site to search for complaints against any and all of the Wireless cell phone providers as I did, you will discover there is not a good one in the bunch from a customer service perspective.

How many of your friends have gotten an inflated bill, in the thousands of dollars, in the mail and when they research the charges discovered that they had NOT made those charges. Almost every one of my friends has experienced this from more than one provider. They wrongly assume that you will put up with their antics. You do not have too.

Vote with your dollars. In the distant past I have paid between $60 and $150 per month for different cell phone plans. However after one company attempted to scam me with charges I did not make, I dropped them and moved to a second provider. I was okay with the second provider until I changed my plan to include all-I-could-eat instant messaging, the monthly fee was hefty, but I was willing to pay it to avoid BS charges and another bad customer no service experience. Sadly when the plan got set up wrong and I got a mistakenly inflated monthly bill, you would have thought that the company would have reversed the charges to keep a good customer (over 2 year track record with them at that point). You would think and you would be wrong like I was. After that second company's customer-no-service antics I 86ed (got rid of) all of them. Switched to VoIP, which you can run on any of the Nokias (770, 800, 880, 900) and have been deliriously happy for years now. My Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is less than $100 per year, or about $8 – $9 per month.

Granted VoIP is not cellular, so you have to have WiFi access, but I always do at work, home and most areas I go out to these days. So for approx 80% of my life, VoIP definitely cuts the mustard and at an affordable rate. If someone calls when I am offline, they can leave me a message. I am old enough to remember no answering machines, only beepers and trust me it works just fine. If your business requires you to be in contact, they can provide you with a cell phone or beeper for that purpose. Regardless you should be compensated extra if they expect you to take your work home with you. I also remember when a mother or father would not interrupt family time (dinner or otherwise) for a phone, as nothing was more important than family. Values that are still true today.

Stop calling any vendor-locked-in device “smart”, as that model is very, very stupid. They simply are not smart. To be smart the device allows you access, control; which means you can install some distro of Linux; whether Maemo, busybox, damn small linux, etc… there are Linux distros that will run on processor speeds less than 200 mhz and in memory models under 128MB; which means there is a distro of Linux that will run on any cell phone. Its just that the vendor refuses to let you.

That choice should be yours not theirs. Think about it. Run windows if you want to, but make sure you have options to do more or something else because that is SMART.

It's called freedom and choice. You know Americans have died for you to have freedom, why would you let any entity, company or otherwise take that sacrifice away from you.

So on this memorial day, remember those that died so that you could be free.

Now make sure your purchases align with your values and make sure you have options.

Remember if you buy a device that runs Linux, most of the time you can install some version of Windows on it. However if you buy a device that only runs Windows you may be prevented from installing anything else, especially Linux.

So if you love Windows, fine, but why not give that device additional life when the version of Windows you are using no longer is supported by the company. Especially if the devices costs more than $500 to purchase.

If the device costs less than $50, you might consider it a throw away when the company stops supporting the operating system, but in this day and age, that is still a shame.

Wouldn't it be nice if you could donate it to someone and they could get use out of it? Linux and open source gives you these options, years later, no other vendor does.

If the device will not install at least one Linux distro, it just ain't SMART! And never will be, no matter how its marketed. Can you say FUD, I knew you could.

Nokia Geek

Om, another strange posting from you. Nokia’s move to introduce a Linux phone N900 is just the right step. Linux has a high appeal to developers, and it is in a stark contrast to the closedness of the iPhone OS. Linux runs on standard x86 PC hardware which is a huge plus for developers. Nokia’s Qt fits in this context well, as it is an open source portability kit.

I am writing this posting on my N97. I have now used this phone for 6 weeks and I am very happy with it. It has multitasking, a better screen resolution than the iPhone, as well as a better camera. I cannot imagine myself downgrading to an iPhone 3G S. When N900 comes out, I need to think about an upgrade to that model.

steve

For smartphones the story will be applications. If you don’t have a lot of best in class applications, you’ll lose. I don’t see any way hordes of developers are going to support Nokia. The same for RIMM – RIMM has great enterprise email, but nothing else that is really best in class.

Their netbook play seems silly…

Carniphage

The Symbian developer community were a pretty unhappy bunch. The platform was split into many different hardware devices. The OS had branched. The development tools were poor.

If they were unhappy then, they are going to be absolutely furious now.

The application market is all about the top end devices. And Nokia have just dropped Symbian from the top end.

C.

Nokia Geek

I do not think it is a good strategy for developers to concentrate on one OS. Both Linux and Symbian S60 are Posix compatible. Developers should write their software to be portable.

Jody

You make absolutely no sense. They are still going to sell hundreds of millions of Symbian phones over the next few years. Any idiot develper who is annoyed because it isn’t the cutting edge deserves to miss out.

Papyromancer

I’m a Nokia fanboy, I love my n810, and I love how easy it is to install any operating system I want on it. Android’s almost ready for it. I’m contemplating putting Arch on it so that it parallels my netbook.

Nokia makes slick hardware that runs anything linux. I think they’re on a good track. I can see them picking up Ubuntu’s ability to run Android apps and pulling that into their Maemo platform and scoring a huge hit.

Carniphage

Nokia are acting very oddly at the moment.
When the N96 came out – they immediately pre-announced the N97. Even though the N97 was six months away.

This killed all sales on the N96.
Why did Nokia do this?

Now the N97 is out, and Nokia instantly pre-announce the N900.

And the Maemo device pre-announcement effectively brands Symbian as a low-end platform!

Nokia does not need to worry about the competition. Nokia’s worst enemy is Nokia.

C.

gbp

Om,
Some one has to give up among ( RIMM, APPLE, PALM, WinMo, Andriod and Nokia) on the operating system. The best for Nokia is to tie up with Google and start making hundreds of models.

If you leave APPLE aside, WinMo and RIMM have money to stay longer.
Google makes money on something else to spend on Andriod.
That leaves Nokia and PALM.
But PALM came out with all new WebOS.

My 2 cents , Nokia should either buy PALM or team up with Google.
Partnering with Microsoft will not get them anywhere.

The following should be done ( of course anything can change) based on their current offerings.

Take out Windows 7 , drop Android or Maemo on those tablets.
Decommission Symbian.
Cut down hundreds of models.

alex

I used to make nokia phones for a living, there were constant design problems from the start and most people who made them never owned one.

Shakir Razak

Hi,

Isn’t the whole point of the way that Nokia is structured, and the way they have these multiple platforms, so that they can cater to multiple niches (slice and dice the market), and in the interim, until the market definitively coalesces around specific OS’s in the future, the customer can decide what their needs are.

Also, it’s somewhat naive to not realise that while Nokia might have a slightly higher manufacturing cost then some asian manufacturers, and the Maemo tablets are still early entries, just like the RazR was for Apple, Nokia will still be making a fat margin, with its efficient manufacturing bases – for goodness sake, if it’s able to make profits on low cost mobile phones, the idea that, in time, it can’t make a decent margin on a sub-$180 tablet (not to forget the various baked-in ancillary services/revenues)!

Kind regards,

Shakir Razak

Jon Martin

This is an odd article because it doesn’t mention Qt or the N900 or the fact that the N97 has sold pretty well considering what a mediocre phone it is.

Everyone said the problem with Nokia is the Symbian UI and now they have come up with the Maemo UI for the N900 (which is a phone you know and not an internet tablet). Nokia folks are walking around Espoo looking pretty pleased with themselves, which is in stark contrast to the miserable faces we’ve been seeing for the last couple of years.

If they can sell 10m N97s in a few months just see how many N900s they will sell – because it is a beautiful phone. The Apple cultists won’t buy it of course but everyone else will. Nokia is very much back in the smartphone game.

Nicholas

The whole “fanboy” thing is getting old already, but if that what makes for an argument, feel free to discount your opinion by the mention. First, Maemo is cool, but it is not Nokia’s primary OS, nor has it been incredibly sophisticated. I played with this for some years, and while I felt that the Linux direction is interesting and potentially valuable, it is only so as THE primary OS with a rational development path. It never helped that until the N900, which is actually still the future, Nokia hobbled the tablets with low powered processors. They mostly were not even phones.

The new OVI stuff looks cool, and as an Apple developer, I look forward to other options. Android is not there. The Palm WebOS is limited. And, RIM is impossible. Nokia still has a clean shot with an effort. But, my opinion remains that a Chrome like perspective across all profiles will be the only way to compete in a year. Imagine that Apple comes out with a cheaper device, and that it runs Mobile Safari and is limited to widgets. Bam, there goes the mid end market with only two development profiles, and a possible tablet in the future.

Call that Apple fanboy, but I am pretty pissed at Apple. I also stated a half dozen years ago that Apple should develop a mobile OS based on OS X with a simplified UI. It is simply where things should go, and the NeXT development tools allowed for rapid development. Now things at the global scale should go towards web interfaces like WebKit with the ability to run full apps at the high-end. These are going to be our desktops in another 5 years, so there is plenty of opportunity, but Nokia isn’t really doing it yet.

And, if Nokia lets me mess with OVI, I may buy an N900! I think that it is very cool.

Ryan

Its the same, tired story. The competitive landscape has changed, and Nokia just doesn’t have the make-up to ride this wave. Innovators Dilemma anybody?

Nicholas

I agree with the assessment. Windows is a bizarre choice, and I would have rather seen a larger Maemo tablet. Maemo is interesting, and they have finally made the UI more friendly and sophisticated. A mobile web perspective from top to bottom would be the best choice for Nokia. This would allow for a rational development path across devices.

The Netbook may sell well particularly packaged through AT&T and such. It gives Nokia a decidedly automobile like product line. Perhaps not the best metaphor! Sadly, it is all confused, but as a developer, I am interested in the N900 and potential future products like it. That would be my choice as a development path.

NerdUno

Sadly, the E71 will be our last Nokia phone. Until Google came along, Nokia was the only cellphone maker that knew how to spell S-I-P much less implement it on a phone. So, wouldn’t you know, Nokia has decided to get out of the SIP business. Kinda reminds me of Ford. 99.9% of the police vehicles in the U.S. are Crown Victoria’s. Municipalities bought them rain or shine, recession or not. So guess which model car Ford decided to stop manufacturing? Just makes you wonder what the people steering these companies are smoking, doesn’t it?

John

Nice article and I believe you are right about a number of problems, however to answer your last question regarding how developers for Nokia devices are going to cope with all those platforms, I believe the answer is using Qt, a product that Nokia aquired from the Norwegian company Trolltech when it bought them last year. Qt already runs on embedded Linux, X11 and Windows, and I believe they are porting it to S60, so just a matter of time and developers will be able to write their apps once and deploy on all the mentioned platforms.

Steve O'Hear

Hey Om,

I’m not sure the N97 isn’t selling well. I read differently into the numbers that Nokia put out. As for supporting multiple platforms, I agree it looks a little thinly spread, but for developers, in the long term, Nokia is banking on its purchase of qt, the cross platform development tool.
http://qt.nokia.com/products/

World-wide Nokia has everything to lose as the leader in the space. But whatever we think of its aging S60 UI etc. it’s still resonating with consumers here in the UK, for example.

– Steve

Om Malik

Steve

They said $2 million units in 3 months. versus about 3.79 million units sold for iPhone in Q2 2009 or 666,000 Nokia N97s per month versus roughly 1.25 million/month iPhones. Blackberry added about 3.8 million net new users in their fiscal Q1 2010. So whichever way you look at it, things aren’t looking as hot for N97.

Tim

I don’t know, having one model among dozens that is selling at half the rate of iPhone does not sound all that bad to me. Any idea what sales are across entire Nokia smart phone line? Also, what is installed base? If I bought an N96 last year, it may be harder to sell me an N97.

Jody

Why does Nokia have to have any one model match the only model Apple sells. Considering they outsell Apple across their entire S60 line by such a huge margin I don’t see such a problem.

And as mentioned, once QT, Python, and the web runtime is across all their platforms what difference does the underlying operating system make?

Leslie

At this rate Nokia will soon end up producing the low end phones for third world countries. ( No offence).
It can stop even thinking of being a player in the smartphone arena. N97 was such a shock. How could such a product ever end up with the end user?

Federico Campo Piombi

Do you actually believe that in the 3rd world countries people still talk using Nokia 1100s? Have you read Sarah Lacy’s post comments over TC?(you ain’t Sarah Lacy right?)

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