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« Sheer Misery! Nokia Q4 numbers end year with disasterous numbers | Main | Sherlock Holmes & Hound of the Nokiaville? Why Did Nokia Market Share Crash-Dive? I May Have An Answer.. »

January 27, 2011


Ged Carroll


Great piece. I used to be a Nokia customer - the reason why Nokia lost me was the address book and dual SIM slots. I used to have a Nokia E90 phone. A fantastic piece of product engineering and the communicator clamshell did a great job at protecting the screen. However it was a pain to sync with the address book on my Mac. The conduit was flakey and the address book would only take less than a thousand contacts otherwise the phone would brick (the same thing happened with the E61 and the 5800).

Then along came the iPhone the address book just worked. And over time apps I liked like CityTime, QuickOffice and MetrO appeared on the iPhone.

My second phone used to be a Nokia, I used it for voice calls and was happy with a small clamshell or slider. But with the international travel I did it made sense to have a dual-SIM phone and the only major brand who could give me this was Samsung. The phone is well made, the OS is a bit rough around the edges but I save 100s of USD in call costs and gain in convenience with the dual-SIM arrangement. Dual SIMs aren't just for the developing world but also for international business people and travellers.

Phil W

Good analysis Tomi. I too was disappointed with the results, I really thought there would be a turn of the tide for Nokia. Clearly that hasn't happened and I don't expect the next quarter to be good either. not good and it looks as if I have been way too optimistic about Nokia recently. I hope Nokia can turn it around.


Mostly agree. Eagerly waiting what Elop unveils next month.

Minor nitpick would be the Galaxy comparison. N8 is selling basicly at the same rate. Now with more S^3 models in supply, the S^3 line could very well outsell the Galaxy family this quarter.


Tomi, Great post.
i always tought that you are a nokia defender, but seeing you writing this piece is a good sign that even a defender of nokia can see nokia's fault.

i'm an indonesian, a blacckberry madness country where everybody is using blackberry. the reality is not everybody use blackberry, there are people who don't want to always connected. the problem is nokia don't have enough phone to desire. let's see qwerty market, where is replacement for e72? not even any announcement for its replacement.where is top of the line of regular phone (you know, phone with 1,2,3 button, not qwerty nor touchscreen), there are still market for these phone. my wife didin't want to change from her SE k770 phone because there are no phone with regular keyboard with good enough camera.

come on nokia, stop chasing iphone, give us nokia c5 with wifi,gps, those n8 camera, bigger screen and called it a day. give us replacement for e72. stop dewveloping those $~120 phone, we have enough choice already, give us $200-300 phone with future proof functionality.

and stop using those EDOF camera, i don't want to take landscape picture with my phone, i want to take my friend's face and text and they're closer than 50 cm. EDOF camera? not useful.

Jan Ole Suhr

Hei Tomi,

just wanted to say "Thank you!" for this post. I think your post is a very important statement as you had been pretty optimistic about Nokia's previous figures.

Hopefully Nokia has already taken action internally and will present us something solid (Android) on 11th of February.

If not, it's easy to forecast management to fall into panic mode after the next quarterly results are published.

Alex Kerr

This article over at AAS is well worth a read:

Balanced, informed and sensible!

I think Nokia have a great outlook ahead of them, as does Symbian.



Left field idea, but what do you think of Nokia perhaps buying a competitor? HTC would give Nokia lots of experience and insight to Android and WP7, but at the same time pulling the plug on future HTC Android devices halts the growth of Android as well. HTC forecast something like 8.5m Android devices in Q1 2011. Leveraging the well regarded HTC brand to boost Symbian^3 sales could perhaps help.

Just a thought, needs a little more consideration.

I actually expected Microsoft to buy HTC at beginning of 2010 to boost WM6 sales, guarantee support for WP7 and at that point nearly crush Android. But they never did.


Good read.

I have always been a Nokia fan but for me the loss of customers is simple.


Symbian is without a shadow of a doubt the most powerful mobile OS out there. However it is not what the consumer of 2010 or 2011 wants, 5-10 years ago that was different.

Symbian developed from Psion's EPOC32 OS and was created to solve simple issues:

1) Create a pocket computer (not a phone)
2) Battery life of 20 hrs plus on AA batteries
3) Run on a minimum 18mhz processor

This was due to the technology and pricing of 1997! Now 14 years on things have changed, we have colour screens, battery technology has improved, faster processors, cheaper memory and a need for internet and email.

The core of symbian is still there in PIM, touch screen (yes epoc 32 was released on a touch device back in 1997) Apps (Psion had Apps since about 1993), speed etc but this is for the consumer an outdate OS in comparison to Bada, Android or iOS.

Meego needs to work and it must be built around what is important to business and consumer buyers today.

1) Combined Messaging (email, txt, mms, FB, twitter)
2) Internet (full flash, html 5, quick and reliable)
3) Online services (like ovi, google: contacts, docs etc)
4) Apps - really deliver on QT, don’t charge developer

Samir Shah

Very simple prescription.

Nokia launches two products at Mobile World Congress 2012. A $80 Android "K......." phone and $200 Android "Jilebi" tablet. These are END USER prices.

What would software people do? Make Nokia version of Android better than anyone else.

Why not Windows Phone 7? Windows Phone 7 is like OS/2 Warp because it is in the death grip of Windows hawks.

Two products; just flood the world with it, I would not mind a Ford model T, so what if it is black, it does take me from here to there.

Tomi, this is the focus Nokia needs.

Symbian is too old.

MeeGo is too little too late.

Android IS LINUX. Why develop another?


Thanx for another great post Tomi. I kinda expected it and you did deliver.
I have to say that you are one of very few who run about with an extra battery in the backpack, and naturally have a problem with the phone's (N8's) design ;)
To me, the design in N8 is superb, looks and feels sturdy and unbreakable, packed with market-leading features like class-leading camera, USB-OTG and HDMI-mini. Battery can be replaced with a small torx screwdriver if necessary.
I agree with you, Apple simply isn't a competitor for Nokia, Samsung feels more like a natural nemesis, they are multi-platform and compete in all price ranges. Plus the success of Bada is giving them even more self-confidence.

But there is this problem with Nokia to deliver updates and release new products as announced. It took ages for N8 to come out, E7 was supposed to be out already, not out yet. Pr 1.1 for Symbian 3 not available yet, although promised long time ago. And there seems to be a lot of misleading information, rumors, pure fabrications and Nokia is just quiet. If someone says an update is imminent, confirm or deny it, perhaps set a date but don't be quiet. It creates a lot of disappointment when a promised update is indefinitely delayed without any further information and a bunch of bloggers and tech-sites play the guess-the-day-Nokia-will-do-something-game. It's bad management. Just like Mr. Elop yesterday kept his mouth shut and pointed at some thing next month. They are more secretive than North Korea. How many N8's sold, no answer. Bad management.

Symbian 3 looks and feels great, and the new apps like Big Screen, Mobile Documents, RSS Reader, Podcatcher, Ovi Maps 3 and and other 3rd party products are a good base for a great product-line. It's a good start, but as I said there is a huge problem with communication. Just my opinion.

PS. Isn't the E7 the next Communicator? It's not as big as it's predecessors but it is business-oriented and has the looks.


Hi tomi,

As usual, brilliance piece of article.

I've been thinking on what you said, and I agree that nokia have not do their job fast enough.

I do have 1 suggestion for nokia in their low end though. As usual, cpu got cheaper, more power than before, so why Nokia not DROPING the S30 OS, and put the S40 in the dumb phone segment? What the China and India can't do right right now is good-looking/easy-of-use/consistent OS. And nokia need to beat them with their well develop S40 in the china/india price range.

S40 is not really suitable to fight in current range against other featured phone OS. They need to use the S60v5 for this job. Because other company featured phone can do much better than S40. Some can even multitask java apps.

Bob Shaw

Nokia needs to focus first on improving its execution/implementation before it brings about changes to its strategy. Specifically, Nokia needs to do three things:

1. Improve the process of product development so as to eliminate last minute surprises that cause delay in product launch.

2. Improve the speed of conceptualization, product design and development so as to shorten the product development cycle.

3. Improve economies of scale (100M Smartphones and 400M mobile phones in 2010) to reduce price of smart and dumb phones and gain market share. Considering economies of scale, it would be hard to imagine that any other brand name manufacturer can compete with Nokia on price all else being equal. Remember Nokia still increases profits from increase consumption of its services with increase in market share.

In short eliminate surprises, improve speed and improve economies of scale.


Thought I post my comment here as well, purely from a consumer point of view.

@Tomi: You mention the return of form factors like the N93 and communicator. I don't have experience with those devices, but I don't see a market for those things anymore.
The trend these days is more on the shiny stuff rather than the functional stuff. You can even see it in other businesses. If it looks good, has good aesthetics people buy it. Technical ability doesn't bother most people. (pure speculation, not based on research just general perception)

Aside from the form, the focus these days is also more on connectivity. Always connected. Something than wasn't so self-explanatory back in the days of the N93 or even N95. So for what reason did you buy a new phone then? Games? Form factor?
I guess a bit of both, I remember those days about 10 years ago when you bought a new phone. Camera's where the hot item, color screens where hot. Polyphonic ringtones where hot. All stuff Nokia managed to pioneer with and thus having USP's over other manufacturers.
On the hardware front we have now reached a common standard. Most camera's are good enough for the general public. Every screen displays 16m colors and speaker quality is decent enough.
The focus is shifting, or has already shifted. Hardware is insignificant, it has just become an enabler to allow for better SW and to some extent it allows better hardware (GPU stuff, 1080p recording and such)
But the whole WOW effect has dissappeared on the hardware front.

For something completely different. Nokia doesn't have the cool factor it used to have. But isn't that a continues shifting phenomenon? I remember Nokia having it with the 3210 and 3310. But before that Motorola had it with their flip-phones. After Nokia there was a short time SE had it with their W and K series. After that Samsung became popular with their flip and slider phones during 2005-2007.
All of the above is of course based on my own perception of reading articles and looking around in my own country. By no means is it based on research just opinions.

What Nokia should do, and I agree with you there Tomi, is focus on their strenghts and build a solid portfolio again. Dissappearing in the real high-end perhaps isn't bad. At least it is better than producing and launching half-baked product over the course of 2 years.

Mel pullen

Nokia gets desperate and throws out great features yet keeps the one thing that's causing so many problems; the software.

Symbian has one design fault they can never fix (and probably don't realize),

Maemo is too slow to ever deliver UX wow.

Meego is handing control to a competitor.

QT is a lowest common denominator. Mediocre. You can't innovate on it.

Still Ericsson did the same when they gave up on OSE.

Hardware companies never understand understand software. And that ignorance kills them.



Its your chance to win one of several new Nokia E7-00 devices….
You have about six weeks to create a new Forum Nokia Project or new Forum Nokia Wiki article (with code).
Think Quick: what amazing entry can you create? Entries are due by 6 March 2011.
You have roughly 6 weeks to either:
• create an amazing app in Forum Nokia Projects that will catch the eye and please the "inner nerd", or
• write a great Qt Quick article, tutorial or guide (with code) on the Wiki
Team work is allowed and even endorsed, but only one Nokia E7 will be granted to a winning team. Teams may also receive additional complementary Nokia products.
For the rules if you want to create a project OR the rules to create wiki articles check:

SV Nokian

Apologies in advance to all that I will offend with this.

I am a long-ish term Nokian based in our brand-new Silicon Valley office. We are located on the exact same street as Apple, just 3.3 miles to our south. Similarly, we are 6.3 miles and two roads away from Google. Palm is a mere 1.6 miles away. In short, we are not only in the epicenter of the two leaders of the smartphone market, but also some "minor" players and also in the epicenter of the giant ecosystems that have sprung up around them.

And what has Nokia put here, planned for here, this new 5-story flagship office (which indeed, is very nice)? Nothing. We call it a center of excellence, but what I think we mean is that we are "in the center of excellence" with that excellence being Apple and Google and Palm. We have no site leadership here, no EVPs, no heads of business lines. Just a smattering of a bunch of different groups, most of whom feel as if they cannot make a difference. Yet, these are the same people who understand rapid development, understand the Valley's risk-taking mentality that is so needed, understand the product culture that has created the smashing successes at Apple and Google. We are in the heart of the services and ecosystem of ecosystems, yet we concentrate all of our services work in Oulu and Berlin? Can anyone explain how that makes a shred of sense? Of course, SV is also in NAM, a market we offer many paeans to, but never actually anything tangible.

If Nokia has even a hint of sense left and if Elop is really the brilliant leader we need, one of his key announcements next week had better be a renewed focus on Silicon Valley and a large-scale change in site strategy (to say nothing of needed GEB "resignations"). Otherwise Nokia is hobbling itself from the get go, and the old, distributed, matrix management style of doing nothing via PPT and telco and airplane will bury us faster than any products or lack thereof. We talk a lot about winning the game but are still trying to play by our own, old rules. The sooner we accept that the smartphone center of gravity is no longer in Europe, the better off we'll be.

Of course, these opinions are my own and all that.

Rupert McMurphy

Fantastic piece

One subtlety about the missing of deadlines: Symbian development is like steer an oil tanker with a sail. 3rd party development has always been a nightmare, and internal engineers have no easier a time. Symbian simply isn't agile enough to keep base with other modern Moores law enabled platforms like (Linux/Darwin/QNX), the platforms which are currently making inroads into Nokia's market share.

Given the fact that the n770 was release it/prior to 2005, and was a Linux based touchscreen tablet with centralized debianesque package management, 2 years prior to the iPhone, I hope people realize just how badly upper management have played their cards. If they had just shipped with a phone modem, like they did with the n900 5 years later, they would have been able to claim 90% of Apples innovation as their own, and would have had a 2 year head start on innovating.

Symbian got OpenGL support in the last year, it was available everywhere else 10-15 years ago. Don't ask how many engineers it took to bring that to fruition. Symbian is a blackhole, and Nokia has thus far fed 95% of its efforts to this crusty dingle berry of the last millennium. It's the road to certain death for Nokia.


great article.
thanks for sharing your ideas :)


I recently came across your article and have been reading along. I want to express my

admiration of your writing skill and ability to make readers read from the beginning to the

end. I would like to read newer posts and to share my thoughts with you.

Acekard 2i

Acekard 2i

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