Today, Microsoft have announced that the Nokia mobile brand will be mothballed. This once mighty tech company virtually gave the mobile telephony to the world with hero products like the indestructible 3110 series. Jeez, I loved my 3110. After putting mine into the retirement home (kitchen drawer) I retrieved it 3 months later and amazed to find that the old girl was still alive with 20% battery life! I am lucky to get to the end of a day with that in 2014.
As Brits we can identify with Nokia’s plight. This is the country that gave the world television, association football and pneumatic tyres and now produces little or any of its own inventions. I guess wars, the living costs of a developed society and collective industrial breakdown in the 1970s, put paid to our future as a manufacturing nation. Too bad.
Unfortunately, the Finns didn’t see Apple and Google (Android) coming and persisted with the limited and closed source Symbian operating system for too long. Until 2010, it was the most popular smartphone platform, but thereon it withered badly.
Out of that frying pan, they then decided to jump into the fire that was Windows Mobile. Try as it might, this has not yet appealed to the user choosers hooked on iOS and Android. I am a big Windows fan, but its heritage is as a desktop and productivity suite. It was never built for touch and the latest 8.1 version maintains the suspicion that Microsoft are not willing to take a leap off the fence either way. No-one could boldly say their phone interface is remotely sexy. Like Blackberry,Blackberry Mobile’s strengths are largely irrelevant in the consumer market. In some areas, it simply can’t compete. The Cortana search is hardly going to keep Siri or Google awake at night. Apps and content are limited. So what future for Nokisoft?
The iPhone 6 + represents an interesting development. It is now almost tablet sized and may even kill off the venerable iPad. If Apple have got their predictions right, the market demands a single device from which a call be made, email sent, website visited or spreadsheet worked on. Perhaps complemented by ‘wearable tech’ (watches, glasses, space suits?) it just may be the size and shape of things to come. If so, this may be Microsoft’s big opportunity to drag the argument back on to familiar territory – ease of admin, longevity of Windows support, interoperability, Office, Exchange, genuine business applications etc. Coupled with the design, production and supply chain virtues of Nokia, the next generation product presents a chance to reset the marketplace. If the boys at Redwood were not preparing a ’Lumia Surface Phone Mini +’ with the Modern (nee Metro) interface nailed on to the mast, I would be very surprised.
Would I ditch my Samsung Galaxy for such a device? You bet.