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Reporters' Roundtable: Can Nokia come back from the dead?

Nokia once ruled cell phones. But it's never made a successful smartphone for the U.S. market. It just released two Lumia smartphones running the Windows Phone OS. Will this reverse Nokia's misfortune? Rafe Needleman asks CNET experts Jessica Dolcourt, Jay Greene, and Roger Cheng.

What happened to Nokia? This company once ruled the mobile phone business. But it never made a successful smartphone for the U.S. market. Instead, RIM and Treo grabbed the first ground in that market. And then Apple launched the iPhone. And then Google launched Android. And then Nokia sank into irrelevance as a major revolution in computing--the smartphone/tablet revolution--took off.

Earlier this week, Nokia released two Lumia smartphones running the Windows Phone OS, not its traditional Symbian OS, as well as three Asha smartphones running Symbian for less affluent countries. Can Nokia claw its way back to being a leader in mobile?

We're discussing that today with three great CNET experts: Jessica Dolcourt is from the CNET Reviews team, and has seen and used the new Lumia phones. Jay Greene covers Microsoft and Google for Roger Cheng is our mobile reporter and wireless expert.

Bonus: Click past the jump for a behind-the-scenes look at what it took to record this episode.

Now playing: Watch this: Ep. 98: Can Nokia come back from the dead?


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Discussion points:
First: How did Nokia end up here, irrelevant in the U.S.?

Let's talk about Nokia's previous operating system. Its phones used to run Symbian. What happened?

Nokia had a few impressive smartphones. Why didn't they go anywhere in the U.S.?

What were Nokia's greatest blunders. Other than the taco phone?

Meanwhile, what's been happening over at Microsoft? How many tries will it take the company to get Windows on phones right?

On to the Lumia phones... Are they important products? Are the good?

Let's talk about the Microsoft operating system (Windows Phone 7.5 Mango). What's so great about it?

Who else is Microsoft dealing with?

Can Nokia sell these things?

What impact will the latest products have on Apple, Google, or RIM?

How did Google manage to walk away with this market?

Does Nokia indeed have a pulse?

Can Nokia do tablets?

What would you do if you were Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia?

Check out CNET's Nokia News Roundup!

Reporters' Roundtable episode 100 is coming up on 11/11/11. What would you like to see on that special show? E-mail me!

That's Jay Greene on the laptop, surrounded by the gear required to bring his Skype feed into the podcast: A video camera, a microphone, and a headset. Credit to Stephen Beacham for getting this contraption running in 10 minutes. Rafe Needleman/CNET

Bonus: Inside the Roundtable
We had a heck of a time getting Jay Greene into the show from his Seattle home office. Our usual Skype setup just didn't work. Working hard against the clock and the live broadcast schedule of the Roundtable, producer Stephen Beacham MacGyvered a setup using a spare Dell laptop as the Skype computer. We got the video of Jay into the podcast by literally pointing a camera at the screen. One of the standard podcast microphones was positioned to capture the audio. Over the mic built into the Dell, Jay could hear what was happening in the studio, but he couldn't hear the other remote guest, Roger Cheng. So Stephen laid a headset down over the Dell's mic port to feed that audio to Jay as well. The whole setup actually worked pretty well.