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Nokia’s Risky Lumia Strategy

I had some more thoughts on Nokia’s entire strategy with gutting Symbian and Meego and switching everything to Windows Phone and their Lumia handsets. It is related to Tomi Ahonen’s excellent post about how Nokia Lumia handsets are not being sold by operators.

There is clearly a perception that the Lumia 800 is a “flagship” device. Especially for consumers who haven’t heard much from Nokia lately under than about Lumia. That’s not entirely true as Nokia has also been pushing their Asha devices. I find them quite compelling from a form, functionality, and pricing standpoint (especially the Asha 302). I’d buy one if they were sold in the US, which, sadly, they’re not.

Anyway, Tomi’s assertion in his article–which I agree with, by the way–is that people expecting certain features to be present in “flagship” devices will be truly disappointed when they pick up a Lumia device, either immediately or shortly after they take it home. In fact, even in its current iteration (7.5 “Mango”), Windows Phone seems a bit like iPhone 1.0, which also lacked many smartphone features. That didn’t stop people from buying it in bucketloads.

Personally, I think Windows Phone 7 is targeted at people upgrading from featurephones, which don’t have a lot of the features that are missing on Windows Phone. People who aren’t accustomed to “smartphone” features aren’t going to notice those features are missing, thus may not complain and return the device.

This highlights just how risky Nokia’s strategy truly is. They gutted their high-end phones (Symbian, Meego, etc) and opted to replace it with an yet-unproven “smartphone lite.” Meanwhile, the rest of the market is clearly pushing towards smarter phones, not dumber ones.


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