With Samsung and Apple dominating the mobile scene, the old phone giant might lose its place in the market.
Oh Nokia you old Viking, what happened? You used to make the must-have phones of the noughties, with games like snake as a standard, and phones like the 3310, built to withstand a small nuclear explosion.
Now it’s all ice cream sandwich operating systems, the latest I-don’t-need-it products and apps that serve only to butcher productivity that rule the mobile market from on high. With companies like Samsung and Apple firmly at the forefront of this charge make no mistake, we are now in the age of the smartphone. So is there any space left in our pockets for the rugged little Finnish mobiles?
Evidently there must be some, considering that 2010′s 5230 sold 150 million units, even more than the legendary 3310. Not to mention that as of the second quarter of 2012, Nokia had a 23.1% market share. It certainly isn’t their sales that are giving Nokia problems then.
So what is it that has so negatively impacted Nokia as a brand in the public’s mind? How has the wonder child fallen so far from grace? Well, simply put, they just aren’t cool anymore.
Think of it this way: you’re given the choice between an Audi R8 and a Lamborghini Gallardo; the Audi has all the features of the Lamborghini; it has damn near the same performance statistics; hell they even have the same engine. But you can’t honestly tell me you wouldn’t go for the Lamborghini every time. And why is this?
Because it’s more than just a car, it’s a statement, a way to show off. In the same vein, Apple and, to a lesser extent, Samsung have created the mobile versions of this situation, by crafting phones that are not only brilliantly simple and functional but, crucially, high end fashion accessories that people want to own. Can you imagine the conversation when you pull out your new Nokia? “Ooh what phone have you got there?” “It’s the new Nokia, it’s got windows 8 and…” Congratulations, you’ve successfully put all your friends to sleep. I mean yes it can do this:
But frankly who cares?
This is the fundamental problem, because while Nokia’s Lumia series of smartphones like the 900 (above) have every feature, innovation and gadget that the equivalent Samsung and Apple products boast, plus a few more to boot, they just aren’t exciting in the same way as the Galaxy and iPhone are. It’s the sensible shoe, the little black dress, the Audi; it’s good, you know it works but it just isn’t as interesting.
So how can the Nokia ever hope to compete then with these two goliaths of the mobile world? The short answer is they can’t.
This is where Nokia’s strategy becomes strikingly apparent, they aren’t out to compete directly with the iPhones or the Galaxies of the world, they are trying to build a different market, one comprised of the people who look for smartphones that not only come with all the functionality you’d expect, but are also legendarily reliable. People who like things simple and without frills. People probably named Brian.
So while their glory days may have faded, it looks like Nokia aren’t set to disappear any time soon. Problem is, for the moment at least, I’m not sure anyone would notice if they did.