The Rebirth of Nokia?

Daniel Maycock is one of Slalom’s acknowledged thought leaders in the realm of new and emerging technology.

This is not including the up and coming N8 or E7 that were recently announced for release this fall, and have been gaining strong traction already. Though Symbian v3 is more of a facelift then a revolution, Symbian v4 which is rumored to be out on a Nokia phone early next year, will really be the effort to challenge the likes of Android & iPhone.

What’s amazing though, is that Nokia, though losing market share quite rapidly, is still #1 for the foreseeable future. With Android snapping at its heels, Nokia still has a big advantage that Google doesn’t – they own the whole experience. The problems that have been reported with Android are the manipulation by the carriers to control the OS, from bloatware to feature/function disablement, making it difficult to say that any two Android devices are made alike.

Even the iPhone, reigning as the ultimate smartphone experience, has had its own hiccups with the most recent release of their iPhone 4.

Though Nokia has always had a strong reputation for hardware, which doesn’t appear to change with the upcoming N8, their weakness has always been software. The jury is still out on how well symbian 3 or 4 may fare, but the true ace up Nokia’s sleeve may be their new CEO, former Microsoft exec Stephen Elop, and the strategic relationship they are building with Microsoft.

It’s well known that Windows Phone 7 will focus on consumers initially, and therefore miss a handful of features enterprise users want. However, with Office support being the primary focus and Microsoft investing heavily in the cloud space, it’s interesting to see that Stephen Elop not only came from the MS Office environment but also looked to see how office in the cloud could be a winning play.

With the heavy emphasis as of late, around mobile cloud, and Nokia continuing their focus on the enterprise, could it be that Nokia will work their way into MS-friendly enterprises with Microsoft’s help?  They could use the help, within the US, and Microsoft certainly could benefit from their software getting greater global distribution. And if that isn’t enough of a step up, Nokia recently hired Peter Skillman, Palm design guru, to help with their up-and-coming premier OS, MeeGo. It’s been openly discussed that this OS will be primarily focused on mobile computing devices (netbooks, tablets, mobile computers) where Symbian will continue to be the eminent OS for Nokia’s smartphones.

Combine all this with Nokia’s other stategic partnerships, including out-of-the-box integration with Cisco’s Call Center, and it could easily be the start of something big for Nokia in the years to come. Only time will tell, but from where I’m sitting, it looks like it could be the rebirth of something bigger for Nokia in the US, at least that’s what they’re betting on.

If what’s been announced the last several weeks is any indication however, they’re certainly off to a good start.

What are your thoughts? Does Nokia have a shot? What could they do, or not do, to help gain greater traction?

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About Daniel Maycock
Driven & passionate IT thought leader with several years experience working with companies to help solve their most difficult technology issues. Focus is around successful adoption of emerging technologies, such as Mobile & Cloud technologies, and providing the tools & expertise to help companies successfully adopt these technologies where they make the most business sense.

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