Nokia is down on the rails, but not yet out for the count.
While Nokia is still going strong in the cellphone and feature-phone department, it is nowhere close to getting a foothold in the smartphone department. That’s bad news for Nokia — the cellphone and feature-phone markets survive on the “high” cost of smartphones, and that cost is going down all the time. In fact, that cost is pretty much down to “an extra $20-$30 a month for a mandatory data package” (there are decent smartphones whose cost is $0 with a 2-yr contract).
Nokia has made significant blunders on the platform side, especially when it comes to managing relationships with developers. Symbian? Plain linux? What? Ideally, one would want to be able to develop once and deploy to all of Nokia’s phones. However, another platform change will not make the developers come to Nokia. Some are touting a Windows 7-based platform shift, which would make Nokia, at best, a Microsoft subsidiary (a more realistic scenario is road-side kill after a Kin-like aborted launch).
However, Nokia has significant expertise in making inexpensive hardware for phones. Nokia’s phones have traditionally been easy to use, cheap and convenient. All it is lacking is a good platform, with a strong developer following. Here is a thought, Nokia — shift, full-gear, to Android. On all phones. Budget phones, middle-of-road phones, everything. One wholesale shift to Android.
The developers who were counting on Nokia will be screwed, and vow bitter vengeance. However, Nokia will be out of the platform game, and the Android platform already has plenty of developers. Some of the apps will run badly on underpowered chipsets in the cheap phones, but that is no worse than the situation today. Some of the cheaper phones will have their margins cut because running Android needs stronger computation power, but this situation will quickly be Moore’s-lawed.
This will leave Nokia to do what it does best — make great cellphone-shaped computers, and leave someone else to worry about the operating system. Exactly what Nokia hoped to do with Symbian, but could not get off the ground.