Blog Post

Why Nokia Needs New Symbian OS in 2010

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

Nokia (s nok) today offered a rosy outlook for the mobile handset market in 2010, saying it expects industry volumes to grow by roughly 10 percent over 2009. The forecast the Finnish manufacturer gave for itself, on the other hand, wasn’t quite so optimistic. The company said at its Nokia Capital Markets Day in Helsinki that it expects its market share to be flat next year compared to 2009, although the average selling price of its devices may erode less in 2010 “compared to recent years.”

Nokia also said it plans to re-engineer its Symbian user interface — which has long been a serious vulnerability — and deliver two “major product milestones” in both the first and second half of next year. Nokia also said it plans to launch its first Maemo 6-powered mobile computer in the second half of 2009 and vowed to provide third-party developers with better tools for building apps for the company’s Ovi service. And, as EVP Tero Ojanperä told Om earlier this week, Nokia will continue to expand its services business and offer affordable, localized services to consumers in emerging markets.

While Nokia’s long-term prospects appear to hinge on its Maemo operating system, vast improvements to Symbian would go a long way toward boosting the company’s standing in the smartphone market over the next two years, according to a research note from RBC Capital Markets.

“Nokia is focused on improving the mobile device user experience and its dual approach on feature phones and smartphones,” RBC Managing Director Mark Sue noted. “A major revamped version of Symbian may accelerate Nokia’s competitiveness in the smartphone market, a market which has only become more competitive in recent years…Brand, volume and scale still remain Nokia’s strong points.”

Indeed, Nokia’s global footprint remains impressive, and the company seems to be learning from its many missteps over the last couple of years. If in 2010 it can bring an upgraded Symbian OS to as it continues to develop its Maemo platform, the guys from Espoo could find themselves back in the smartphone game in Europe and North America.

7 Responses to “Why Nokia Needs New Symbian OS in 2010”

  1. Espoo 2009 is very much like Detroit 1979. Very insular and due to this insularity and having HQ in a market where they dominate, not nearly enough exposure to the competition. While I like my E71, I have been vastly disappointed with the N97, N97 Mini and the X6. They make damn good hardware but their software sucks.

    Worse yet, they are hellbent on fragmentation – not eliminating it, but maintaining it.

    Many of the developers I talk to hate Symbian. They hate building stuff for it, they hate getting stuff signed. In contrast the iPhone and Android are said (by these developers, including some folks based in Europe) to be far easier to do cool stuff in.

    In the past it was Symbian or nothing, especially for Europeans. Now, however, there are other viable options that are a lot less painful to work with.

    Now, picture an N97 with WebOS, or even Android. Oh, my, what a nice piece that would be.

  2. That sound bite smacks of a Steve Ballmer tone when Windows Vista launched…

    “We’re the biggest dog on the block, we don’t need to be the best, brand, volume and scale remain our strong points…”

    How’d that whole Vista thing work out?

    Nokia needs to not play the “Microsoft card” and consolidate its bewildering form factors and OS/interfaces into just two – a iPhone equivalent and a ultra low cost emerging market phone.

  3. cough. Nokia is still very much in the smartphone game in Europe; it just is bleeding profit to RIM and Apple. It won’t be in the smartphone game in the US until they make a deal with AT&T and Verizon. Having one Maemo device on T-mobile doesn’t cut it.

    And this announcement isn’t suggesting that Nokia has solved any of its problems; the confusing QB controversy between Symbian and Maemo lives another day.