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Nokia – Still in the Game?

All the mobile OS making companies are at logger heads, giving one good feature after the other. The big game changers for some time now have been the iOS and Android. The hunger of mobile customers is fast growing and this definitely is resulting in the Mobile/ software producing companies to have to come up with innovative ideas and technology which allows them to be ahead of the other. When one does something, the other is fast to go up the same trail and try to cut corners, and accelerate. Technology, that today is the “in-thing”, is “not so cool” tomorrow.  It’s like fashion, it keeps changing rapidly. When you feel you have “The Best”, something better is already being invented. Old ideas, old values have to be discarded/ changed and newer ones brought into place in order to get to the top. Constant Innovation is a must.

Does one really need to change its old values and ideas, if the old values stand for making the best product? The one that people loved? The one that was the most durable and the one that did not crack even when it fell from the apartment on the third floor? Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting to you, the soon to awake, sleeping giant, NOKIA.

Nokia always stood for durability, best cutting edge technology and the one which created mobile phones keeping everyone in mind. In its arsenal were beauties like 1110 released in 2005 (250 million units sold) (This one I had personally used and was one of the 250 millionJ), 3310 released in 2000 (136 million units sold), 6600 was the first camera phone to sell over a million units, N95 which was viewed as the most professional phone to have existed, sold over 7 million units, Nokia N8 with 6 million units sold. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_mobile_phones). The ability to make the best hardware and to meet demands of everyone must have been a hard thing for them to achieve. It was at its peak, till 2008 when the iPhone 3G took away the first spot from Nokia as the best selling phone of the year and since then, Nokia was never seen on the Top. But, what we are talking about now, is a battle between Handsets, not companies. Let us tread a bit further on that front. In 2011, Nokia had sold 422 million handsets and was still at the top, trailed by Samsung, which took the second spot by selling 330 million handsets. Nokia did lose ground in 2012, to Samsung, the latter having sold 396.5 million Handsets and the defending champion, having sold 335.6 Million handsets. (Not trailing by much, eh?).

What went wrong for NOKIA?

  1. The need to have a good App base. The Ovi Store did not do justice to the beautiful Nokia devices. Nokia had its own application store, but it was a pale imitation of what developers could do with iOS. At that point, it was clear Nokia had lost a lot of the buzz that sustained its brand. Its still-strong position was a legacy of its past strength, and as a result, it began to see its market share slowly deteriorate.
  2. They acted like a very studious kid who had never seen failure in his academics, and then had someone take the first spot with them at the second. That, for someone who was used to staying on the top, was equivalent to failure.
  3. It continued to ignore the U.S. market: Nokia’s inability to make custom phones for the U.S. market didn’t win itself many allies among the local carriers, further accelerating its market share decline. Nokia’s “my way or the highway” approach with its handsets didn’t stick well with the carriers, who were entertaining more nimble players like Motorola. (Source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57453290-94/5-blunders-that-put-nokia-in-the-hot-seat/)

Now, the real question to ask is – is Nokia OUT? The answer is a definite NO. Here’s Why!

Nokia may have suffered a blow in its rib-cage and might be out of breath, but it surely is not knocked out. It is again getting to its feet after having collaborated with Microsoft and is providing (at least starting to) with its technologically advanced handsets. (No other company provides the specification as Nokia does, and that too, which suits everyone’s wallet). Nokia’s downward trend was brought about because they looked old and they looked the same (today, the Android devices and Iphone devices all look the same). On the other hand, Nokia, along with the added advantage of WP8, looks stunning.

So what exactly is happening?

  1. Nokia is striving to do something from its own side as well (since HTC and Samsung also have Windows devices in the market). Nokia City Lens and Nokia Cinemagraph  are applications that Nokia developed to enhance its sales (wow… a Device producing company went all the way to create an app for its own and the augmented technology that it has, is to be seen to be believed).
  2. Nokia, really means Business and is currently a major player, selling 80% of devices having WP8. Remember, the biggest reason for Nokia’s downfall was the lack of an App store! Well, Microsoft solves that issue too, which again, is a Budding Marketplace, but not too far behind, as it is catching up pretty fast. Nokia lost ground because of an OS that was considered to be lousy; it sure does not face the same problem now.
  3. Talking of appeal – Nokia phones always had an appeal (sorry if you failed to notice!). They appealed to customers from all walks of life and it catered to all. They are even more colorful than they ever were. Excellent design and Sturdier than ever! It can survive getting crushed by a 24 ton truck (well, quite literally J) http://www.wpcentral.com/lumia-920-reportedly-survives-getting-crushed-24-ton-caterpillar
  4. I, personally, would not like to buy a phone which gets damaged, if it falls to the floor, even from my desk! I would not want a phone which is a battery killer! I would not want a phone which gets hot when I touch! I do not want a phone produced by a company which creates devices a dime a dozen, tweaking them a little bit, and calling them a different product! I do not want a device which cannot survive an a little drizzle! But, I do want a phone that is sturdy, has a beautiful camera (at least, better than most), is easy on the wallet (on the verge of being cheap). The entry level phones of Nokia can easily outclass the Level 2 devices of other companies and strives to give me good service and support, right next door.

It is believed that WP8 will be the savior and help NOKIA out of trouble. The way I see it, it looks like NOKIA will stand up and save the day for Microsoft.

There was a time in everyone’s life when Super Mario was the best game that they had ever played (Aah! the nostalgic feeling. I still feel it is the best). In the same breadth, the Nokia handsets have some way or the other touched our lives and has stroked a distant cord in our hearts. Dull would be the day when the world shall cease to hear the famous Nokia caller tune anymore!

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