AH Primetime: What If Nokia Made an Android Phone?
If you’re anything like me. your first mobile phone was probably a Nokia. My first phone was, a trusty Nokia 3510i. It had a color screen, supported MMS, and the sides lit up when I had a call or a message. If my talk-time was low, I could get two weeks from a single charge.
That’s how many people regarded Nokia – the company which was once synonymous with making mobile devices. In a relatively short time they’ve gone from global domination to pretty much feeding off the scraps of Android and Apple (although Nokia still have sizable market share in the developing world). Another thing that many people would associated Nokia with is Windows Phone.
The partnership between Nokia and Windows hasn’t exactly proved to be a successful one – and after almost three years Windows Phone accounts for just 3.2 per cent of the global smartphone market, which is pretty poor, but still better than Blackberry which is now sitting at just 2.9 per cent. For all of the promotional efforts done worldwide from both Microsoft and Nokia in those three years, 3.2 per cent is a very low figure compared to Android’s 75 per cent dominance and Apple’s 17.3 per cent share of the same global market.
The decision to put all of Nokia’s eggs in the Windows Phone basket lies with Stephen Elop. Formerly one of the heads at Microsoft Office, Elop is Nokia’s under-fire Canadian CEO who has oversaw a poor take-up of his former companies operating system on Nokia’s devices, and shareholders are not happy whatsoever, and Elop could be out the door soon.
From my point of view, Nokia were never really at the starting blocks, and their MeeGo and Symbian devices were a poor alternative to the Android devices from manufacturers like HTC, Samsung and LG, many of which also hit a price point lower than that of Nokia’s devices. By the time they developed a strategic alliance with Microsoft, Android in particular had pulled way out in front of the chasing pack, and with continuous improvements to hardware, the Android platform itself, and crucially third-party developer support, any platform wishing to take third place would need to have a great application marketplace, and also a great brand. Whether or not Windows is/was the brand for that place in the market is questionable, and something outside the scope of this article, but maybe for another AH Primetime.
There is an option for Nokia to try and bolster some revenue, and that’s simply to offer an Android devices to the market. Obviously not many people (including myself), know the legal ramifications of such a move, but what would Nokia have to lose? Yes they would become ‘just another Android OEM’, but it hasn’t worked out too bad for companies like Samsung and LG.
Could you imagine if Nokia started making Android phones from the start? Would Samsung be as successful as they are now? Would the iPhone have been the choice of the business customer? So many things could have been different, a nice thought to have indeed.
Nokia make great hardware, they always did, it’s their unique selling point. A Nokia Android device similar to their latest Lumia, with Jelly Bean or maybe even Key Lime Pie and they could take my money. Whatever they choose to do, I wish them the best of luck.