Nokia Targets America’s Love of Smartphones

by Matt Klassen on August 12, 2011

Reading that Nokia is still the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer based on end point sales figures, one might wonder where all this doom and gloom talk regarding the Finnish mobile company is coming from.

But as paradoxical as it may seem, Nokia is at once both the leader in the smartphone market and the biggest loser over the second quarter of this year, and it’s this dichotomy that has the company making some serious changes to its overall sales strategy.

I’ve written at length in the past of Nokia’s strategy to date, produce and sell affordable mobile handsets in largely untapped markets. It’s a strategy that has sold a lot of Nokia phones, but really hasn’t made Nokia that much money. Add to that the fact that despite Nokia’s long history in the North American market it has yet to be able to compete with the big boys like Apple and Google, and its clear that the time is ripe for a clean break; a fresh start in the American smartphone market.

Its old news at this point to write about Nokia’s much publicized handling of its Symbian mobile operating system; the once popular OS that Nokia snubbed for MeeGo, readopted a short while later, and then dumped once again in favour of Microsoft’s WP7 OS. It should really come as no surprise then, to hear that Nokia will officially be ending sales of Symbian-based products in North America, all as part of a plan to rebrand itself as a serious smartphone competitor.

Before it can do that though, the Finnish company will have to repair its tarnished relationship with most major American carriers. Over the past few years Nokia has garnered the ire of the carriers as the company’s affordable line of phones meant that Nokia could circumvent carrier subsidization, meaning that users didn’t need to sign up for long binding contracts to be able to afford the phones, which in turn meant that carriers didn’t make any money.

But with its new strategy it looks like Nokia is addressing these concerns head on, cutting ties with the old Nokia and introducing its new bold pioneering spirit. To that end, with America quickly turning into a smartphone onlymarket, Nokia has decided on a radical new course of action: selling smartphones only.

Although this may seem obvious, the American mobile market is in a state of transitional flux, with most major mobile companies and carriers still producing and selling both cell and feature phones. Although most companies recognize the direction current market trends are heading, no company has yet to put a stop to its feature phone sales…that is until Nokia.

While my praise for Nokia is few and far between of late, I do have to applaud the Finnish company for this bold move, especially given the fact that Nokia has built its global mobile empire on the backs of affordable feature phones. It will be the first company to have a North American mobile catalogue made up exclusively of smartphones, and with those smartphones sporting Microsoft’s WP7 OS, Nokia may just have a chance.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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