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Why The iPhone Is Good For Nokia

I want to be up-front here. Yes, I work for Nokia, but I don’t have any real inside information related to this. These are just my own rambling thoughts and are not endorsed by anyone.

I could sit here and write a lot of flowery speech and spend a couple of hours coming up with a lot of supporting arguments, but it boils down to one key thing: Apple is proving if you make a great device, make it connect elegantly with everything, and advertise it right, people will line up to buy it. In the US no less. Hopefully the guys in Finland are noticing this and are adjusting accordingly.

The other thing that the iPhone has done is shown a new level of possibility for mobile phone functionality. Sure, we’ve had very capable web browsers on Nokia devices for a while now, but try and render any large page on them and you run out of memory. The iPhone can supposedly render multiple at the same time! And, of course, the touch-screen UI brings it over the top.

The iPhone “launch” is only two days away, so we really don’t know if people are buying it, but people say they will. We also don’t know if they can do everything they say it does. Demos and reviews are one thing, but holding the device in your hand and actually doing those things is another matter. I may have to trek down to an AT&T store–after the initial hype dies down, of course–and play with one myself.

What we have here is some opportunities created by the iPhone:

  • Apple has completely changed the handset/operator relationship in North America. Could Nokia use some of that to it’s advantage?
  • The iPhone has several weaknesses. Some of the weaknesses (like the lack of MMS) I consider overblown, others (the sole reliance on AT&T as a carrier, no 3G whatsoever) are considered showstoppers. Perhaps these can be exploited.
  • While there is all this interest in the iPhone, perhaps Nokia can use this as an excuse to turn up the heat in terms of marketing in North America? Certainly Nokia devices are more widely available in the US now. They are comparable devices at better price points without the reliance on AT&T as a carrier.
  • The iPhone does not allow third party applications to be installed or accessed except via Safari. One might argue that you can make web-based applications, with the assistance of Google Gears-like technology that makes them usable offline, that rival native applications. Not unless Apple has made a lot of APIs available from the web browser, which would make the web browser a bit more like Internet Explorer: subject to exploit. Nokia should be pushing the relative openness of the S60 platform and point out the wide variety of third party applications that are available.
  • The same underlying page rendering technology that Apple uses, Nokia has been using in the S60 browser for a bit longer. Perhaps that’s a marketing point?

I’m sure there are other things I could point out, but let’s face it: whether or not you think the iPhone is really the shiznit, Apple is changing the rules of the game. I believe, with the right actions, Nokia can benefit. Am I right? Let me know in the comments.

#Cybersecurity Evangelist, Podcaster, #noagenda Producer, Frequenter of shiny metal tubes, Expressor of personal opinions, and of course, a coffee achiever.