Nokia Scoops Up Feature Phone OS Maker Smarterphone

by Gaurav Kheterpal on January 9, 2012

2011 was a tough year for Nokia. The Finnish giant dumped Symbian to Accenture and then stunned Intel by leaving the MeeGo bandwagon even before it could make it presence felt. In February, Nokia joined hands with Microsoft to forge a new mobile ecosystem, simply mobile-speak for creating a worthy competitor to Google and Apple in the current market.

However, as I mentioned in my last post, all’s not well with the Windows Phone love affair. Critics are questioning if the whole Nokia-Microsoft-Windows Phone plan is headed for disaster and whether it would help the Finnish giant regain lost ground in the smartphone market?

Throughout the last year, Nokia’s strategic moves suggested that it wanted to grab the best of both worlds – smartphones and feature phones. Last October, reports suggested that Nokia is set to create a new Linux-based mobile operating system called “Meltemi” to leverage on its dominant position in the low-end segment to boost shares in developing markets.

While that didn’t happen, the Finnish giant last week scooped up Smarterphone, a small Norwegian company that creates an OS designed to provide functionalities of a smartphone but on lower-range, lower-power handsets. While the move is a conscious effort to expanding up its software portfolio as a complement to the Windows Phone OS, I’m not sure Nokia is learning from its past dual smartphone OS strategy debacles.

By my own honest admission, I had never heard of Smarterphone earlier. It’s a relatively low-profile small-sized Norwegian software company with 22 employees. The USP of Smarterphone OS is that it offers smartphone like features on low-cost hardware. Smarterphone OS can be easily customized for various markets, operators and handsets. Smarterphone’s target hardware includes slower processors and less-advanced screen technology, typically associated with feature phones in the $25 to $75 price segment.

Speculations suggest Nokia grabbed Smarterphone as a precursor to sell its smart phone line-up to Microsoft, and thereby focus on what it produces best – high quality affordable feature phones. To be honest, I won’t be surprised if Nokia projects Smarterphone OS as a replacement for the S40 and lower-end S30 operating systems. However, there’s plenty of food for thought for Nokia considering that Symbian is still the top mobile OS worldwide. On its part, the Finnish giant says

“Nokia acquired Smarterphone AS as part of our Next Billion strategy.”

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby:RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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