MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--At Nokia World in London on Wednesday (Oct. 26), the Finnish phone maker unveiled its first two Windows Phone powered devices, the Nokia Lumia 800 and the Nokia Lumia 710, running Windows Phone 7.5 Mango.
The higher end Lumia 800 with its 3.7-inch AMOLED display, 1.4 GHz processor, 8 megapixel Carl Zeiss camera and 16GB of embedded memory is targeted to compete with the likes of Apple's iPhone 4S and Samsung’s Galaxy S II, while the Lumia 710 ith a 5 megapixel camera and 8GB of embedded memory is aimed more at the mid-tier segment. Both phones boast a 1450MAh battery.
“This is a slim and sleek, well designed phone, featuring a best in class camera and it has some strong key selling points,” said IDC’s Francisco Jeronimo of the Lumia 800, though he admitted the phone may have trouble competing in a market where Android and iOS still dominate.
The Lumia 710, he said, was more of a dark horse in that it had surprised the mid-tier segment with a device it wasn’t expecting until the second quarter of 2012.
“This is the most affordable 1.4 GHz processor device, a mid price-tier handset with high-end specs,” he said.
Jeronimo said he felt Nokia had “come a long way” over the past year, noting that Stephen Elop’s reign as CEO and the firm’s "180-degrees" shift in strategy seemed to be paying off.
“Stephen Elop stepped in as CEO of the biggest phone maker in the world, defined a new strategy and a new paradigm for Nokia, executed it and over exceeded expectations by delivering not only one, but two new Windows devices,” he said adding “Nokia seems to have now what lacked for years, speed to adjust to the market’s pace.”
Not all analysts were as impressed as Jeronimo, however, with Jack Gold of Gold Associates positing that Nokia had missed an opportunity at the event and was still not showing the level of revitalization needed to turn the company around.
“I’m left with many questions after the announcements. How do the new devices fit into a diverse environment in an enterprise setting? Where are the enterprise tools to deploy, activate secure and manage them? What is the Nokia Value Add on top of plane Windows Phone? What did they do to enhance the Windows Phone platform beyond what Microsoft offers? Nokia seemed to show once again that they understand how to make appealing hardware, but fell short in service offerings that could differentiate them in the market, especially with the important business user,” said Gold.
“Samsung makes a nice Windows phone, as does HTC. Why would a consumer choose a Nokia device?” he added.
Ironically, Jeronimo counters that the likes of Samsung and HTC may be just what Nokia needs to help drive sales, by raising the profile of the Windows operating system, which currently only holds 2 percent of the smartphone market.
IDC estimates that as a result of well established brands like Samsung, HTC and LG pushing out devices with a Windows Phone operating system, Microsoft should see its mobile software grow to take a market share of 11 percent by 2012 and possibly become the second biggest smartphone operating system by 2015, with 20 percent market share, behind Android and ahead of iOS.
Those predictions, however, would likely hinge on Nokia delivering devices into the U.S. market. The Lumia 800 and 710 will apparently only be available in selected markets across Europe, with the firm holding off on a U.S. launch until early next year, once LTE stabilizes.
Microsoft’s restrictive policy on changing the operating system’s user interface could also make it difficult for phone makers to differentiate their offerings based on Windows Phone, which could make it a hard sell to consumers.
“Nokia will need to leverage its hardware expertise, but the differentiation will come from their unique services that other vendors cannot easily match,” said Jeronimo. Gold, however, argues that Nokia has still not shown how it adds value to the Microsoft standard OS and that launching at premium pricing level (420 euros, or about $599 before subsidies) is risky in a market where the iPhone 4S costs the same.
“Nokia is competing against the market leaders at about the same pricing level. There is no advantage taken by Nokia in trying to get back into the marketplace at a reasonable price with a premium product,” Gold said.
Indeed, Nokia has been losing significant share in the smartphone segment since 2007 and as Jeronimo notes, “It will take a lot more than just a couple of phones to bring Nokia back.”
The new devices launched today, however, may be an “excellent first step” in Jeronimo’s opinion and more significantly, a sign that Nokia can “change its culture, readapt and refocus on growth.”
This a popular wrong perception:JAWP and about Nokia in general.
Does any Non-Nokia phone in the market come with free downloadable maps for countries around the world, so you can use navigation without internet, full offline, no cell signal required?
Does any Non-Nokia phone in the markete come with free music streaming with free downloadable music on your phone?
Does any Non-WP phone in the markete come with free 25GB of cloud storage and free MS Office on mobile?(How many people in the world use iWorks?)
Does any Non-WP phone in the markete come with XBOX app like WP ?
Does any Non-Nokia phone in the market have any better hardware design than Nokia 800?
How many Non-Nokia phones have a super camera as good as Nokia's 800 or N9?
How many phones in the market that offer all the above available at the same price as 800?
I see a disconnect between the consumer and business space that is being overlooked here. For an enterprise customer, rolling out a mobile phone handset that runs Windows Phone, alongside Windows on the desktop and in the server room may be a no-brainer, as it eases deployment and maintenance.
In the consumer space it's a very different matter. In that segment, smartphones are fashion accessories, bought because they're cool. Apple iPhones are cool. Android based devices are cool. Is Windows Phone cool? You might buy it, but would your teenage daughter trying to keep up with her friends? I rather doubt it.
And Nokia needs far more than the enterprise customer to turn itself around. They are betting the company on Windows Phone, but unless they can make products perceived as cool, they will not succeed.
"This is a slim and sleek, well designed... has some strong key selling points”
Can 12 mm be considered slim anymore? With Droid razr targeting sub 8 mm thickness, Lumia is a far cry. I like sleek phones and this sure doesn't look like one.
It will be a very tough market for Nokia as the hardware they are going to put is JAWP ( Just Another Windows Phone ), all the problems associated with Windows Mobile OS will come with it. So very few users will go for these phones who have got used to with the apps available on IOS and Android.
I think that Nokia is banking on continued customer loyalty, as many people have not switched to a smartphone yet. And yes, as a differentiator, Windows rather than being yet another Android phone (a sector that is getting crowded).
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