Competing with iPhone: Nokia

Roland Tanglao has an interest post about a few ways Nokia could start thinking about competing with the iPhone:

Plan A:

  1. Make the existing phones work right. e.g. fix the memory problems with ShoZu and the N95 even if this requires throwing hardware at it e.g. by doubling the RAM.
  2. Bundle N95s with ShoZu (a version that allows unlimited size video uploads to YouTube, or, the present 4MB limit is silly) and a flickr membership and market the N95 for the groundbreaking and cool device that it is (well that I think it is; I don’t have an N95 but other than the usual memory problems and the GPS antenna not being sensitive enough it looks like an awesome device)

Plan B:

  1. recast S60 around an open source core to make it more reliable and robust
  2. add touch and create a new user interface from the ground up to make the S60 user experience competitive with iPhone.

Hard to argue with Plan A, though I would add offering an upgrade / update to existing owners to fix the memory issues that plague us on the N95. The phone is $750, which as you know is MORE than the iPhone which according to the iPhone haters out there means you should be getting more for your money. I like the notion of a special version of Shozu. Assuming it actually works on your device – something that is a crap shoot apparently – it would be nice to actually be able to get media from the device up to your online service of choice. This only enhances the value of the device to the people most likely to be attracted to purchase.

Shozu should probably not be where things end either. Since there’s a bevy of applications available for the S60 platform, why not parter with the software companies for some bundling. Take better advantage of the Downloads service and offer more than people want and how they can get the most from their purchase. The devices are being sold unlocked — use that to your advantage as well… they can work out of the box anywhere you want on any carrier with little exception).

Nokia’s real issue though is marketing. They’ve had a massive head start in the market and have a few devices (UI aside) with much greater capabilities. The phones are more complex to use and have a definite learning curve if you are new to S60 which hurts adoption. That said, there’s an appeal with power users that needs to be properly exploited.

The Blogger Relations program of which I am a part helps – as illustrated by my readership as well as the reader of other participants, but Nokia needs to do more to SHOW what the devices are about, how they work and most importantly WHY you want one. I would suggest embracing the users more and sharing a deeper view from the base in a broader context — not just what readers see on the blogs, but in actual ads and a campaign site – make it mass! The iPhone broke through all the barriers and has become a pop culture icon in consumer electronics… use that momentum now that the people have awakened but steer them down your path. Apple’s excellent marketing simplicity has opened the door for opportunity.

BTW — my guess on the initial response to the iPhone in the US is that rumored 8GB N95 though I have a feeling we’ll see it working on US 3G bands.

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8 Replies to “Competing with iPhone: Nokia”

  1. I think that given the iPhone is locked to ATT for 5 years, they can use the unlocked piece to their advantage. Granted there’s only one other GSM carrier in the US that matters and they don’t have a CDMA high end device, but there’s a lot to be done here in general.

  2. You’re right with point number 1. Nokia should, at least, offer propper firmware updates. It’s a shame to see wonderful devices (I have a N93), with so much potential, be so buggy. It’s like once they release a phone, they don’t care about the software anymore. 🙁

  3. I see. But don’t you think it’s easier to update buggy firmware when possible, instead of throwing hardware first? 😉 We’re talking about hardware that took months to design. Just an example: Imagine what would happend if Apple didn’t make any software updates or new functionalities? You, me and others would be very angry. (I have a brand new Santa Rosa MBP with loosy graphic card driver, waiting for an update…). I know, I’m off topic. 😉

  4. Absolutely – that’s low hanging fruit. The current firmware release did absolutely nothing though to address memory issues which plague the N95. I don’t know whether their is simply no available memory based on how the FP1 release works and would require more physical RAM to fix or whether Nokia can squeeze more out of the existing platform. Either way it needs addressing.

    Your graphic card driver issue should be resolved now, not with an update. I had not heard about issues with the cards… sorry to hear.

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