Sunday, April 15, 2012

Forbes: Nokia must not look back – stick with WP, return to Symbian/MeeGo Suicidal?

I would be careful to post about such a story from sources not too familiar with the Nokia scene, but this writer from Forbes is actually All About Symbian (and now AAWP)’s Ewan Spence. I did not know he was writing at Forbes.
Anyway, he says that Nokia must stick to its guns.


Let’s look forward to what Nokia CAN do and not what Nokia should have done. Ewan suggests that if Nokia go for Android now, it would take a lot of time, well into 2013 before a competent Android handset from Nokia would reach the market, now with even less bargaining power with Google. He says it was an option looked into late 2010 but it was decided that would be a no go.

Perhaps, much to a surprise from someone so knowledgable about Symbian and prominent in the Symbian community, but Ewan says,

“There comes a time when code is simply to complicated to keep growing, and Symbian is long past that point.”

Perhaps to clarify, it might mean the amount resources necessary to attempt at being up to date. This rate of improvement is something that has to continue for the years ahead and Nokia decided Symbian could not be fixed at a quick enough rate, at least not as quick as going with another OS. Originally that other OS was NOT in fact WP, but Maemo, which got deprived by Nokia themselves, ended up turning into MeeGo and well now no more.

MeeGo is an excellent platform for hackers and tinkerers, but it is far from consumer friendly and unlikely to deliver multiple millions of handset sales month in and month out. Both Symbian and MeeGo are not consumer friendly and neither are not the long term answer

I don’t know about that. I think Maemo 5 would have been very friendly for consumers with some minor tweaks (the menu/multitask button being separated). Furthermore, I think Swipe UI is very consumer friendly. A few well placed ads teaching about the UI would show just how easy it is to use. Perhaps Ewan is talking about other aspects consumers want in their smartphone experience to be ‘consumer friendly’ as opposed to ‘user friendly’? It’s not explained so I can’t elaborate there.

Perhaps I would have to agre on Symbian. It wasn’t user friendly. Since touch was introduced on Symbian S60 (not UIQ) it was terrible and something we wanted badly addressed. For what ever reason, they weren’t able to change Symbian quickly enough to make it user friendly. We are only seeing FP1 now (which I admit, I’m really liking so far from the demoes).

Right now, Nokia are partnered with the third biggest mobile app economy on the planet – after iOS and Android, there is the Windows Marketplace. Assuming they did suddenly decide to walk away from Windows Phone and Microsoft without too much legal and monetary pain, there’s nowhere left to go. A move back to Symbian or Meego would be suicidal.

Does anyone have the numbers of revenue/profit generated by marketplace vs Nokia Store? Perhaps Ewan has narrowed this down to particular OSes. We know a significant amount of fragmentation exists at the Nokia Store as many different OSes are catered for. S40, MeeGo, Symbian, the latter of which can be divided into S60 3rd, 5th, S^3 and again some variants not working between S^3, Anna/Belle and the special case, E6 with its different resolution display. Perhaps with the new crop of Symbian, even with Qt, would make Nokia Store only fourth?

Perhaps explaining returning to Symbian or MeeGo only would be difficult, destroying any of the mindshare they managed to slowly gain back for Nokia through Lumia. Perhaps there can be a situation where all are available. Yes, maybe concentrate on WP as the main star of attraction whilst trying to regain foundation, but keep using Symbian and MeeGo to penetrate areas where WP cannot go yet. Ideally, even, market it too where WP is, but be clever about your marketing to make the consumer aware of the distinct experience from Symbian and MeeGo. Either way, the option for people has several Nokias in the mix. I can understand that Nokia are looking to tie people in to an ecosystem and that is much harder for Nokia to do in the long run if that is Symbian or MeeGo as opposed to WP Lumia. They may be confused with the general operation that’s markedly different between Lumia and Symbian/MeeGo.

Nokia is still very much in transition; getting their first WP out to market mid November last year, slowly (excruciatingly slow) expanding the markets where Lumia is available and now looking to finally get a lot more Nokia input with WP8 and possibly create devices such as W8 tablets to complement that WP8 handset. The new Lumia 900 is well received it seems, debuting in the US – we can only hope that a similar success trend will continue to improve for the rest of the world. The budget Lumia 610 could reach more places than previous Lumias could do to offering quite a lot more value for the price (though the starting price point is high, it could come down very low.) The Lumia 710 is £135 at CPW UK, 170-190 at other stores. The Lumia 610 might be a better option for Nokia as that offers a similar experience at a lower cost price to them – but I am concerned that there may be apps the 610 might not run. As far as I know, 99% are ok, even more so as apps are optimised to use even less resources. Numbers are small at the moment for Lumia, but there is a positive momentum moving forward.

Q2/Q3 are points in time to watch out for. Nokia has already given a warning that Q2 doesn’t look to be that good either. The mobile phone segment (next billion) as well as smartphones is taking a nosedive much quicker than anticipated. It won’t be until Q4 until we see any meaningful WP8 devices from Nokia, and again, not until 2013 until we see how those perform. But we might not have to wait that long to see if Lumia can start to gain traction. Q3 should be more than enough time.
Any Q4 devices from Nokia, however much of a superphone rumours claim, will have extremely strong competition from the new iPhone, SGSII and whatever HTC flagship appears then. It will be difficult to take customers already stuck in their respective ecosystems. Perhaps those who don’t pay for apps, e.g. stick to free ones, might be easier to persuade, as well as the still very large market for consumers NEW to smartphones. Q4 is a different battle altogether, one we hope Nokia will have sufficient ammunition to fight back. For now, I think it’s necessary for Nokia to see Q3 through

VIA

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