Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Nokia, the best hardware you will never buy

Everyone seems quick to jump on the blame-anyone-but-Nokia-for-their-problems train, but I think the burden of Nokia's problems fall squarely on their shoulders.

Forbes reports:
I’ve been carrying a yellow Lumia 920 for about 8 months now and it is easy to spot in my purse. The battery life is spectacular compared to the phone it replaced.  The screen is easy to see and read.  Turn it 90 degrees and you can even read it with polarizing sunglasses when outside. Yellow was the theme of the day right down to yellow converse sneakers. Great excitement greeted the demonstration and the jaded journalists there applauded at different features. It was clear the phone was impressive and a hit.
And later in the article, they report:
It is hard to believe that Stephen Elop has now been at NOK for almost three years. He was correct in his initial assessment that the company was standing on the oft quoted ” burning platform” and needed to take drastic action.  He jettisoned almost all the company had left including its Symbian platform that was incapable of moving Nokia into the evolving future .  His options were really to become 1. another “me,too” Android offering or 2. to attempt to build an entirely new ecosystem around the Windows platform. Elop chose the later, tougher path but the only one which offered any chance of winning long term with something unique. Now that Samsung is so dominating the Android universe, by now any attempt at another Android phone would have left no hope for Nokia at all.
Which one is it? Is the phone hardware so great that it puts the phone in a class by itself, or is the software that needs to be different in order for them to build their own class?

I admit that I am bias. I was a faithful user of Nokia products up until they could no longer provide the features I needed on their phones.

Where I live we still suffer from spotty coverage due to the enormous distance between towns. Short of putting in cellular towers that support only one or two subscribers, you are going to find dead spots. When this happens, you want a handset that will be made to the most exacting quality so that it can get a signal when no other handset will. Those handsets were always Nokia.

I used Nokia handsets long after they had gone out of style simply because they were incredibly rugged and able to make calls where every other phone failed. I eventually had to give them up for a modern phone.

When Nokia had to choose between Android and Windows Mobile, I was really hoping they would choose Android. I knew that Nokia had the very best hardware, but I also wanted the very best software to go along with it. The software that I wanted was Android. They were the only ones that had a chance of getting the apps to compete with Apple.

Things haven't changed since then. You either use an Apple or an Android phone. There is no one else that has the apps, consumer backing, developer backing to make a splash in today's market.

When Nokia was making its decision, it had a place in the market. It was, and arguably still is, the best hardware manufacturer on the market today. If they hadn't hobbled themselves with software that no one is willing to use, it might be them as the leading Android manufacturer instead of Samsung. As it is, they manufacture the best hardware that no one will buy.

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