On Nokia

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geek / journalism

Nokia, maker of mobile phones and annoying jingly tunes, held a big conference this week in London. I wasn’t invited. On the second day, HTC – previously the maker of truly mediocre Windows Mobile handsets and now crowned iPhone-killer-in-waiting – held its own conference just across town. I wasn’t invited to that, either, but I digress.

In response to HTC’s conference Nokia sent some people to stand outside with balloons, and gave journalists sandwiches to take along. Journalists were, for reasons that I don’t really understand*, outraged. But then it’s popular to hate Nokia these days. And that got me thinking about Nokia:

  • It produced electronic devices just as they started to sell to home and small business users
  • It innovated several key technologies in that field
  • At the time, its products were very well designed – a cut above most alternatives – and well made, too
  • .. and they could play games!
  • It did very well out of this, selling shedloads of some excellent models
  • Over time, though, it began to sell a confusing array of products, some of which just weren’t great
  • Its once-loved operating system began to really need a drastic overhaul, just as a slightly shonky rival OS picked up market share on devices produced by a range of manufacturers
  • Games went to other platforms
  • It even produced some touchscreen devices, but they just weren’t very good and didn’t turn its fortunes around

Remind you of anyone? Nokia now is Apple in the mid 1990s, before the iMac, OSX and the return of Steve Jobs. I wonder what’ll happen next?

* I like sandwiches. And balloons.

Nokia 5110 image by Dominic’s Pics, used under CC license.

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