Ben Bajarin is the Director of Consumer Technology Analysis and Research at Creative Strategies, Inc, a technology industry analysis and market intelligence firm located in Silicon Valley.
Sometimes living and working in the United States means we can develop a myopic view of the world. When this happens, it becomes easy to write off companies like Nokia since their brand is weak to nonexistent in the U.S. The fact of the matter is that, in the rest of the world, Nokia has quite a strong brand. It’s been renewing its innovation efforts and has experienced continually strong sales in other countries.
As I attended Nokia World this week in London, it became clear that there is a renewed sense of vision and innovation permeating Nokia. This is encouraging, as Nokia has played a major role in connecting billions of people together and I believe they have a significant opportunity to continue to innovate and remain relevant.
(MORE: Nokia’s First Windows Phones: Lumia 800 and Lumia 710)
One of my roles as an industry analyst is to be a reference for the press to help add perspective or expertise to their news stories. In this role, many discussions I had with press were focused around whether or not there was hope for Nokia. Had Nokia done enough to become relevant again? Those are the questions I want to explore in more depth here.
Is There Hope for Nokia?
The short and simple answer is yes. We are still very early in the process of smartphones becoming commonplace around the world. Smartphones only represent 5% of worldwide sales in the mobile phone industry. For this reason alone, there is still significant headroom for any player to enter the game and begin competing for market share.
That being said, there is still a very large market in developing parts of the world like China, India, and Africa, who are not yet ready for smartphones. For this reason, Nokia’s global relevance is key. They innovate and create new products to help bring mobile devices to regions for the first time and then begin to transition those countries to smartphones.
The fact that they are globally relevant and innovating to bring affordable connected experiences to new markets is positive, but they still need to get a foothold in the smartphone market.
Their strategy to do that is a tight partnership with Microsoft and, specifically, Windows Phone.
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