It's hard to know what to make of Nokia these days. Though it still holds a huge worldwide market share and sells more phones than its competitors, it doesn't quite capture, and its in the United States .
Sure, the Finns maintain a healthy business selling low-end handsets in emerging markets, but over the last three years, smartphones are where the action is. And though Nokia still succeeds in that space occasionally--we quite liked the
To its credit, Nokia is aware of the problem. At last September's
Come next Friday, however, Nokia will fully outline its new strategy at an investor meeting in London. CEO Stephen Elop announced the February 11 meeting during the company's a wave of speculation when he said the company needs to "build or join a competitive ecosystem."last week. Elop didn't get specific, but he set off
"The game has changed from a battle of devices to a war of ecosystems," Elop said during the call. "And competitive ecosystems are gaining momentum and share." Immediately, some Nokia watchers theorized that the company would announce that it was developing a handset based on Windows Phone 7 or Android.
Such a move would be surprising, considering that as of late the company has been mildly dismissive of Android whileSymbian and the developing platform. But with the market throttling forward at rapid speed, Nokia may have decided the radical change is necessary. So what could its options be?
Stay with MeeGo
From what I've seen, most of my tech journalist colleagues are advocating this path. ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, for instance, doesn't see an OS switch to Microsoft happening. Similarly, PCMag's Sacha Segan and Eric Zeman at Information Week also urged Nokia to develop MeeGo as a worthy competitor to Google and Microsoft.
Though I agree that this is the most likely scenario, I can't say that it excites me. Experienced Symbian users may love Symbian, but the OS can be maddening for everyone else. Sure, Nokia did givea nice upgrade on the N8, but it needs to do more. And though I'm always a fan of customer choice, MeeGo just doesn't spark my interest at this point. It could be really cool, and I'm hoping that it is, but Nokia needs to deliver real MeeGo handsets soon.
The most unlikely of the three, I'd say, but still not impossible. Indeed, jumping into Android would entail risks. The OS is growing fast and it's attracted the attention of major players like Motorola, HTC, and Samsung. Nokia would be arriving late to the party and its rivals will fight to keep the leadership positions they've assumed. On the other hand, Nokia could play an "always late, but worth the wait" role.
Windows Phone 7
Honestly, I wouldn't mind if Nokia went this route while also developing MeeGo. Windows Phone 7 is new and it has its
Whatever happens, we'll know for sure next week after Elop breaks the news in London. CNET also will be at Mobile World Congress a few days after that in Barcelona, Spain, where Nokia will kick off its presence at the show by holding a press conference February 13.
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