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« Congratulations Apple you are indeed now biggest smartphone maker: and Top 6 smartphone ranking Q2 | Main | Musings From the Sidelines Observing the Bloodbath in Smartphones Nearing Q2 Final Results »

August 01, 2011



Let it go Ahonen. Nokia's behavior is like that of that girl we liked / loved hell-bent on a spiral of self-destruction where no reason or common sense can reach.


There are a lot of problems with the Microsoft/Windows Phone strategy. These range from the technical (OS is unfinished, lacks features), via adressable market (language support is weak) to the fact that Microsoft does have a history of partnerships in the mobile industry with a less than positive outcome (to put it mildly).
But then you go and compare the current strategy with this distorted picture of what was and should have been with Symbian. Symbian was on a slow decline for a long time, but this accelerated towards the end of the year. This was mostly due to Android gainind traction in the market.
The current Nokia smartphone models, except for the very low end S60 5th edition ones (where there's little to no profit to be made) are not competetive on price, and S^3 is not competive in the UX either. With hardware development cycles at what they are, and Nokia's commitment to selling the (by now highly illusionary) number of 150 million more Symbian phones, what Nokia has out now is what would have been on the market with or without the February announcement. Similarly, by the time the announcement was made, Symbian Anna (or, back then, S^3 PR 2.0) was already delayed. So there is little reason to assume that Symbian would have been more competitive in the market based on the hardware and system software front without the change of strategy.
Regarding the developers: downloaded SDKs do not equal developers. In any case: whatever the number of developers, it doesn't matter if they don't produce apps. App support for Symbian^3 remains lackluster at best. Would this have been better without the February change in strategy? Sure, especially now that (much later than anticipated) Nokia have finally gotten around to more or less finishing the Qt development tools. Would it have been enough to fight Android and iOS on the apps front? Doubtful.
So comparing the current strategy to what was with Symbian back then doesn't make sense. The comparison needs to be with what Symbian is right now - and to acknowledge that the February announcement is one factor in the current state, and most likely neither the main one nor even a major one.


If eFlop is not a Criminal ... then he is Mad ... either case ... he need to be enclosed in a safe place in order to avoid to damage others and/or himself




@gzost, we all knew symbian needs update in both hardware and software in much faster pace:

1. CPU 680Mhz->1GHz or above while maintaining power consumption and electromagnetic interference in the same frame as before;

2. Display resolution 640x360->800x480 or above while maintaining UI readable based on the ratio of screen size and display resolution;

Apple handles it best. Screen resolution doubles every year (simplest way for GUI) till reaching its limit;

Android supports various display resolution in one OS;

Nokia is the worst, one screen resolution for all screen size and for all high-end, middle-end,lower-end smart phones.

That's why we've hired Elop to streamline this efforts.

Unfortunately this Elop shows no interest in streamline day-to-day management work. All smart phones including Windows Phone Mango have to solve above two problems.


Two Critical Fundamental factors that decide the sale and no sale for consumers:

1. CPU 680Mhz->1GHz or above while maintaining power consumption and electromagnetic interference in the same frame as before;

2. Display resolution 640x360->800x480 or above while maintaining UI readable based on the ratio of screen size and display resolution;

all others are bells and whistles.

3. Phone quality (signal strength, noise cancellation, loudness level for both ends, video call over wi-fi and 3G/4G)

4. Web browser (speed, zooming support, globalization, html5, Flash/Silverlight plug-in support)

5. Unified email client

6. multi-media (audio/video/camera)

7. GPS with built-in maps, point of interests, turn by turn

Nokia Symbian is weakest in item 1,2,4,5
Nokia Symbian is strong in item 7
Nokia Symbian is neutral in item 6.

Thats why nokia has to use Symbian as lower end cheapest smart phones, Meego for middle/high end smart phones, leave WP and Adroid options open (use same meego hardware platform).

Sander van der Wal

The iPhone SDK was downloaded 250.000 times in june 2008 according to this Apple press release It was downloaded 100.000 times in march 2008,

There were around 28.000 iOS developers in 2010, according to Om Malik:

The number of WinPhone 7 SDK downloads was 300.000 in august 2010, according to That's half a year before the Elop announcement.

Either compare SDK downloads, or compare the number of reported developers for a proper comparison of developer ecosystem size. The numbers are not comparable, as is shown by the Apple example. And before that, by the Nokia example of having 2 million Symbian SDK downloads.


Have you been estimating how big portion of Nokia's Symbian devices are powered by Symbian^3 or later?

I think one pretty forgotten issue with Nokia smartphone sales is the number of devices sold with Symbian^3 (or later) and older Symbian. I think this number was given out to public in Nokia's Q4 2010 report but later on that was left out from the data Nokia is giving out to us.

I think Symbian^3 (or later) may not be the iPhone killer it was hoped to be by some but it certainly is a mobile Operating System competitive enough for the mid range and below. Now however the older Symbian (pre Symbian^3) does not have all those nice new features and upgrades to it's so called User Interface. Without those upgrades offered by the latest versions of Symbian, this Operating System does not stand a change against much nicer looking Android and iOS devices containing rich set of user experience features desired by the consumer.

Now Nokia is still trying to sell a number of devices containing that old Symbian and is offering Symbian^3 (or later) only on a limited number of devices. One could think that Nokia has been busy upgrading it's handsets to the new version on Symbian but that is unfortunately not true. And why is that you might ask? The answer is actually quite simple and tells us a lot about the way Nokia acts and works with the models it has been releasing to the sales channel. There is a certain lifespan of one particular model extending far to two digit number of months. That alone makes is not possible to sell the latest Symbian on most of the models offered by Nokia. No, the way Nokia works forces it to keep selling these old models with the old version of the operating system.

I think it can't be calculated directly how big portion of the handsets are still running the old Symbian but that number is huge remembering that Nokia does not sell most of these new Symbian^3 (or later) powered handsets to the emerging markets. At the same time Nokia needs to compete with Android and iOS! With older version of the Symbian Operating System! How they could hold their market share with that aging old pre-Symbian^3?

This can't be done and that explains quite well why Nokia has been losing market share! Just look at the ASP numbers of the smartphones sold by Nokia in Q2 2011. They actually sold more expensive phones while there was heavy competition from Android and iOS! How can this be unless Nokia has been losing market share because of the competition of the low cost Android devices?

Yes! Nokia's problem is clearly in the handsets competing against cheap Android powered devices and it just happens to be that these Nokia handsets are using mostly the old version of the Symbian operating system. The old Symbian that is not able to compete against cheaper androids in the terms of the look and feel of the User Interface.

I think the situation will get better as Nokia replaces it's older Symbian OS-powered devices with the new Symbian^3 (or later) and introduces the markets new cheaper models powered by this improved and polished version of the Symbian OS. If the Symbian^3 (or later) is the answer we will see Nokia's situation on the markets improving later this year.


@peter: Why are you so sure Nokia CAN do that? Historically Nokia was the best hardware-wise - but it meant they spent YEARS polishing the hardware in testing labs.

That's why "newest, hottest" N9 uses the exact same CPU Droid 2 (year old and now superceded by Droid 3) uses. 1GHz Cortex-A8 today is something suitable for middle-end today, for high end device you need at least 1GHz dual-core Cortex-A9.

It's possible to create such phone even using traditional Nokia supplier (as Motorola shown), but NOKIA CAN NOT DO THIS. Heck, Droid 3 with 1GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 OMAP4430 is now on sale, but N9 with year old 1GHz Cortex-A8 OMAP3630 is now only available for preorder!

Why? To sell device with OMAP4430 today you needed to start it's development before final specs of OMAP4430 were available! And then have contingency plans (sometimes they work better, sometimes worse). And the same - with other components. Sometimes the actual specification don't match promises (this is how horrors liks HTC Evo 4G are brought to life), sometimes you need to change plans on-the-fly, etc.

To "solve" this problem you basically must change THE WHOLE APPROACH to the phone design. NOT something you can do in hurry.

And the same trouble is with all other items: it's easy to say "we need good web browsers with rock-solid HTML5 goodies and Flash/Silverlight", but it's not easy to ACTUALLY DO IT. Apple and Google spent literally YEAR till they reached this stage. The fact that Apple did so before they started selling first model while Google's first offers had poor browser is irrelevant: in both cases it took years - and Nokia does not have time machine to send people back in 2008 to start top-secret project which will produce great browser today.

It's funny how often people forget that high-tech wars are all about logistic: development takes literally years (small alterations may happen faster - but you must plan for them and not design every new model from scratch) and you can not just go and change everything in a few days or weeks...



Lol, what WP ecosystem are you talking about? MS has no mobile ecosystem at all! That is Elop's job to hijack Nokia's existing big ecosystem and transfer it to MS on silver plate. Something was easy, but at the most important parts, like userbase, retail chain and carriers, Elop failed in big way.



Ahhh, I see the gigahertz wars are back! If you don't have bazilion of GHZ and gazilion of GB, then you can't even boot! Well, what is true for WP7 bloatware isn't necessarily true for other OSes.

And then the funny paragraph about web browsers. Well, Apple and Google (and others) are developing and using the same open source browser, Nokia doesn't need to waste years on creating own from scratch, it can just go to, checkout the sources, implement interface and that's all. It can have browser with capabilities on par with android or ios in few days. In fact, that is what it has done with N9!

And it gets more funny when we consider that by partnering exclusively with MS, it has sunk itself into the exact black hole you described here. IE is closed and proprietary, so Nokia is sentenced to eternal waiting for MS to reimplement features that are in webkit or firefox for years.

Earendil Star

@ khim

Not sure your point is relevant. Regarding processors, even the iPhone is lagging, as was the iPad, but that did not stop Apple from growing its success exponentially, also because its devices works perfectly even with an older processor. UX =/= Processor Power

Apparently the N9 and N950 are able to fare pretty well too, even with their old processors. Just a demonstration of the efficiency of Maemo/Meego Harmattan.

Still, why bother? TH Elop is not interested in "N" phones but only in "W" phones.

@ leebase

WP... ecosystem? What? Can't stop laughing... or are you referring to the one being stolen from Nokia as we speak? Grotesque!


Tomi: Brilliant analysis. Even a gorilla can understand which side has all the bananas. Peter: Agree with all your points. Mr. Elop: You have signed off on an agreement with Microsoft. Good for you for doing something to earn your millions of euros/year. It takes balls to lead a corporation with half a billion dollars a year spent on consultants to make you look like you have balls and a brain. Good for you. Now make it work. Milk Microsoft for all the advertising and design and production and marketing support so their software has no negative impact on Nokia's bottom line, starting now. Let Jo Harlow show how she can erase the negative perception of Microsoft in the consumer market. Kids don't hate Microsoft. Its not on their radar. X-box is cool. Never mention the M-word. Its something new and cool. Go Ms. Harlow. Maybe she will make WP7.5 a hit in the US and bring bucks to Nokia in Q4. I actually think she will do it, since WP7.5 is easy to use for most normal uses and will be new and cool in a new wrapper. When I was a kid some American became a multi-millionaire selling the Pet Rock for 7 dollars each in several years in a row of Q4's. Q4 is something our new Finnish Santa Clause, Mr. Elop, understands. Saddle up the reindeer and sell those WP7.5 Nokia units, Ms. Harlow, and I will publicly eat my hat and praise the U.S. Supreme Court's Title IX decision, which anyway I always agreed with anyway. But I mean you will be my new Dollar Bill, replacing Bill Bradley (Princeton Univ./NY Knicks/U.S. Senate/WallStreet Banker -- a gentleman and a scholar, and you, Ms. Harlow, will be my new hero scholar athlete made good, eclipsing that cranky old fart who refused to run for reelection in New Jersey because he was tired of running for Senate every 6 years. Jeeze, maybe they need to pay Senators Harlow bucks, two+ million euro's/year. You will earn Nokia a hundred times that in Q4 just in North America this year won't you, Ma'am, because the main thing WP7.5 has going against it is the M-word, which you will never use. We live in a visual age and Nokia's WP7.5 has some symbol identifier (only), cool.

Mr. Elop: Please sir show some American know-how and backtrack completely on your written promises to Microsoft in a way that does not leave Nokia open to litigation. WP is now Nokia's primary and leading smartphone platform for however many years you have contracted for. Hurah! Long live WP. In the mean time we go about the normal business of selling what we have and what we develop. Call them what you will, low end, dumb, stupid disruptions, accidents from the lab which have escaped. Just mark them up each as much as the market can bear and sell nothing for a loss, please, Sir. We can always apologize to Microsoft if stupid non-American rest of the world throws real money away on old, new and weird Nokia branded equipment against the best laid plans. We're just getting rid of inventory and not pushing anything with any emphasis. Jeeze, its a big ship and some of the lower decks keep finding weird stuff to sell out there, what can we do?


@Tomi: Happy holiday!
@All: please buy N9 if you really support it! I hope it will be available on market before iPhone5 otherwise the euphoria is already dead and we can forget Meego ;-)


Sybian is not open source sogtware.

Here is
symbian code under epl license 7/12/2010.


@LeeBase: yes, good question.
With Android vs Meego: I answered it on the other blog's comment.

I would say: Because Dave Trevaskus said it will "blow your socks off!!" ;-)


Nokia Meego N9 has done it with middle-end smart phone platform in both Hardware and Software front.

Nokia Symbian Anna has done it with entry-level smart phone platform in both Hardware and Software front.

Thats why I am so sure about Nokia.

Now they have to focus on next hardware/software platforms for high end plus CDMA support for US verizon and China Unicom.

Given Crap Elop sitting in Nokia CEO office, laying off the most talents of nokia and switch all jobs to Accenture, I am not so sure about high end platforms.

Again, fire and sue Elop and his clan, get back to Symbian-Meego as Primary smart phone OS and leave door open for Android/WP7.5 for complementary middle-end smart phone OS.



So... ecosystem = three MS apps? Now it is clear to me why Mr. Elop was forced to surrender to MS, nowhere else you can find such critical features. I'm just wondering how apple or android could exist without ability to show my angrybirds score on xbox screen. But you are right, who needs maps or navigation when you have onenote? That trumps everything!

Hmm, 25 000 applications. I bet they are of highest quality, because what competent programmer would want to develop for ios, android or even webos, when you can work on ecosystem with 1-2% share year after it was launched.

Speaking of which, number of actual users is of course almost completely irrelevant for any mobile ecosystem, MS absolutely doesn't need Nokia for their customers, and it would be impossible to transfer them anyway, because as you said, you can't lump Symbian with anything. Symbian is totally isolated from everything else, especially from Meego with which it shares main devel library.


@n900lover: Ahhh, I see the gigahertz wars are back!

Well, yeah.

@n900lover: If you don't have bazilion of GHZ and gazilion of GB, then you can't even boot! Well, what is true for WP7 bloatware isn't necessarily true for other OSes.

Heh, this is what Nokia said for years. And it was TRUE and IRRELEVANT. The fact of the matter: swarm of resource-hungry apps will need lots of RAM and fast CPU no matter what OS is underneath. As long as people used phones as PHONES Nokia's approach worked, but when people started using phones and "pocket computers"... yes, gigahertz wars are back - and in full swing at that.

@n900lover: Well, Apple and Google (and others) are developing and using the same open source browser, Nokia doesn't need to waste years on creating own from scratch, it can just go to, checkout the sources, implement interface and that's all.

Well, yeah. "Implement interface - and that's all". The only problem: somehow this process takes between year and two when Apple and Google engineers were involved. Perhaps the best example here will be Chrome for Linux: Google already had a team of knowledgeable developers, they had lots of Linux expertise - yet somehow port STILL took more then year. Well, may be Nokia developers are so much better then Apple and/or Google developers and it's a snap for them - but then how come they can not produce anything competitive for years?

@n900lover: In fact, that is what it has done with N9!

Well, let's wait for the real users. The devil is in details and Nokia is NOT known for following "review success" with "real world success". Here is one example:

@Earendil Star: Regarding processors, even the iPhone is lagging, as was the iPad,

iPad used the fastest processor available at the time. iPad2 used the fastest processor available this spring. So there...

@Earendil Star: but that did not stop Apple from growing its success exponentially, also because its devices works perfectly even with an older processor.

APPLE DOES NOT USE OLDER PROCESSORS. It downclocks them somewhat (for example iPhone4 uses A4 @ 800MHz, not @1GHz as it's designed to be used), but this is the same thing it does for laptops.

Yeah, today iPhone4's CPU is somewhat outdated, but it's more then year old model - and I'm pretty sure iPhone5 will use A5 (dual-core Cortex-A9), but may be, again, slightly downclocked.

Nokia uses year old CPUs - not because they CHOOSE to use them BUT because their development process can not accomodate anything newer.

@Earendil Star: Apparently the N9 and N950 are able to fare pretty well too, even with their old processors.

THIS remains to be seen. IN REVIEWS it was compared with year old Apple iPhone and only slightly newer Androids. But IN REAL LIFE it'll be compared with Samsung Galaxy S II (1.2 GHz dual-core Cortex-A9), Motorola Droid 3 (OMAP4430: 1 GHz dual-core Cortex-A9), HTC Sensation (MSM8260: 1.2 GHz dual-core Cortex-A8) and with iPhone5 (noone knows the specs but I'll be surprised to see single-core, albeit 800MHz or so for the sake of battery are possible).

@Earendil Star: UX =/= Processor Power

Of course not - but it helps. This шы how Wintel killed all these early PCs (Acorn, Amiga, Atari, Commodore, etc). Wintel was ugly. It's interface was unpolished. It constantly crashed. But IT HAD POWER - and all other architectures perished. Mac barely survived - and only was able to regain market share when it started using latest and greatest PC hardware in combination with it's own polished UX.


And so far it looks like Nokia can not do that: their top models are always far below market average. They look "Ok but slightly dated" when they are presented but when they finally reach the customer... they are ready to be put on shelf with last year models.


You are absolutely right Tomi. Stephen Elop's strategy is completely mis-guided, and probably driven by the amount of Microsoft stock he must own.


@Leebase, "Microsoft's pathetic 1.4 million WP7 users is still 1.4 million more than Meego"

You will be seeing 2.8M Meego N9 sold within the last two weeks of September this year.

Stay Tuned.

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