Nokia is the largest manufacture of phones in the world, selling over 450 million phones last year. But the mobile phone market is changing and nothing is more evident of this then the new Nokia Lumia series of smartphones from Nokia. Nokia was the number one smartphone maker in the world, and it was for several years. But now its 3rd behind Samsung and Apple. Enter Nokia Lumia.
But why does this matter? In the developed world smartphones are hugely important and the fastest growing area of the mobile phone market. In fact T-Mobile USA recently stated that 70% of their sales were smartphones. Smartphones are the future. People want phones that help improve their lives. Even emerging markets are switching over to smarter phones. You can see this with Nokia’s strategy in introducing several variants of the Nokia Lumia at different price points.
Nokia’s former smartphone OS was Symbian. A great OS, I used it on my Nokia 6680 back in 2005 as my first 3G phone. But Symbian was dying. The lack of an ecosystem beyond what Nokia could reasonably provide was a key reason. It couldn’t keep up with the iPhone or Android as their app marketplaces exploded while Symbian was lacking. It was the old generation of smartphones that sometimes were too complicated.
It is very poetic. A year ago, Microsoft ditched Windows Mobile for Windows Phone. Now Nokia joins Windows Phone 7 in their own attempt to turn themselves around. But in a way it also proved Windows Mobile’s ideas. Ecosystems are the way to go. Symbian and perhaps even MeeGo could have been enough for Nokia, but just like Windows Mobile they were dying due to the sometimes complicated nature. Windows Phone made sense. Even though Windows Mobile had the idea correct in terms of Ecosystems (Windows Media Player, Outlook, Exchange), Windows Phone 7 took that to a level beyond even the iPhone. Easy of use, apps, and a well rounded ecosystem that made smart, easy. I’m surprised Android was even considered, as beyond Gmail and the Android Market, there is little ecosystem and more fragmentation. People want their experience to work seamlessly, and thats what a ecosystem is. They want their music, video, gaming, documents to go seamlessly from mobile to computer to their TV.