It's the hardware, stupid
Nokia has no choice but to start afresh - takes too long - or adopt Android and/or Windows Phone. Nokia rightly realises Android is plunging ever more downmarket, as hardware makers pursue volume over value. Android will become the Windows of the phone world: a commodity market benefitting the operating system's developer far more than those who license and use it.
And here's Microsoft, as motivated to revive a sagging mobile presence as Nokia is, and entering with a platform that is actually generating positive feedback.
Palm tried and failed to reverse its decline by supporting Windows Mobile, but this time Nokia is taking a fresh product that has the consumer buzz Symbian has largely failed to acquire, and which Windows Mobile never had, which is why Sony Ericsson's WinMo strategy was equally wrong-headed. Ditto Motorola's pre-Android efforts.
But the consumer smartphone market is not solely about software. Yes, Nokia needs to adopt an engaging new platform, but its also needs so reinvent its approach to how its hardware looks. Far too many, if not all, of its smartphones, even its most recent ones, have seemed like clunky, decade-old mobiles when sat alongside the likes of HTC handsets, let alone Apple ones.
This is an issue for all of the old-school phone giants, not just Nokia. Apple changed the smartphone's design language, and its most major competitors keep speaking the old tongue.
It doesn't matter how flash Nokia's new operating system is, consumers make their first bite with their eyes. If your phones look weak on the shelf, punters will not buy them. It took Samsung and LG a long time to figure this one out, but they got it in end. Nokia, so far as today's announcements go, has yet to show it has also learned the lesson. ®
Now, Nokia, what about the hardware?
WinMo7 generating positive feedback
says the 10 people that actually bought one, and the 10,000 people that got free review phones.
Nokia can do hardware.
The N series is seriously good looking, as were most of the other high end releases.
It was the software that let it down.
"Far too many, if not all, of its smartphones, even its most recent ones, have seemed like clunky, decade-old mobiles when sat alongside the likes of HTC handsets, let alone Apple ones."
I really disagree with this. And I think many others will as well.. the only thing that makes it feel clunky and old is the symbian software stack, which isn't even that bad: It just looks old and is hard to write for. *Not* the hardware.
The Politics of Fail
The problem for Nokia is that tying themselves to the Microsoft anvil as it's sinking isn't any more of a solution than the other options.
Elop's move is either craven or cretinous. He's a classic USian corporate demotivator - a self-important gibberish-speaking twit who has taken a company that wasn't working but could still be fixed, and broken it utterly beyond any hope of repair.
Ten years from now Nokia will be a logo on a sticker, and most of the current R&D talent will still be unemployed.
But it could have been so different. A good manager would have trimmed away the upper-middle management dead wood, instituted some crash R&D with a short-scale return goal to do something remarkable, and let the current business fund the next stage.
Moving Nokia to WinPho is certainly remarkable - but only in an exploding clown car kind of a way.
That's the funny thing, MeeGo IS practically ready for prime time! Yes, there's some small issues still, but even in their announcement they're saying the one MeeGo phone will be launched before any of the WP7 garbage. So just when the years of hard work is done, they yank the carpet from under our feet. Don't know if anyone will have the motivation to fix the last minor things now, we're all searching for new jobs. Nokia is being flushed down the drain by the M$ clown in the helm.
consumer buzz? What buzz?
As for the hardware, they have to ask Microsoft before they can tell you.
It seems Nokia have just found a very nice Trojen Horse and set it up in the board room.