Phones: 1100, Lumia, N-Series
Entered market: 1964
Latest Model: N-9
- Still the world’s largest maker of handsets, neck and neck with Samsung
- Featurephones prized for durability, reliability, battery life and performance
- Recent partnership with Microsoft will help set Nokia smartphones apart
- Recent attempts to do everything have created a glut of unloved handsets
- Windows Phone 7 Nokia handsets still several months away
Nokia is a Finnish manufacturer of mobile phones and computers. Nokia phones are considered durable and well made, with simple software that is easily picked up. Nokia offers several lines of featurephones, simpler handsets that make calls and text, offer no or very few online services, and are usually packed with many other practical features- such as flashlights, calculators and AM/FM radio. Nokia's smartphone range has fallen behind the competition from Apple, Samsung and HTC.Nokia's future plans and development
Nokia’s current flagship smartphone, the N-series, will continue for some time to run the MeeGo operating system, while the upcoming Lumia lines will be the first to run the Windows Phone 7 operating system. Nokia’s strategic partnership with Microsoft surprised many, who had backed Nokia to incorporate Android, Google’s open-license mobile operating system. Symbian, Nokia’s current smartphone platform, has been discontinued. Android may still come to Nokia one day, but for now, Nokia will be the flagship OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) for Windows Mobile, and the maker of choice for featurephones in the developing world. Nokia's history
An ancient Finnish conglomerate with footholds in rubber, plastics, computers, infrastructure and many more industries, Nokia divested its older divisions when it became clear that their mobile division was The Franchise. When GSM overtook analogue in Australia, there were roughly two choices for phones: The Ericsson a1080, and the Nokia 5110. Nokia handsets were famously sturdy, built with rubberized seals, highly advanced plastics and rock-solid European engineering. Nokia set the tone for mobiles to be nigh-indestructible, making them the phone of choice for tradesmen and teenagers, and with their elegant operating system, everyone else.
When Palm started to introduce touch screen, internet capable devices in the 2000s, Nokia followed suit with its Communicator series, QWERTY keyboard based mini-computers. The Communicator series were widely coveted by business people, but were never widely beloved or embraced by the wider community. This transition to smarter handsets caught Nokia off-guard.
Once upon a time, Nokia had a line-up of products that fit on a desk. Now, the once dominant company has a slew of phones that could almost be squeezed into a warehouse. Their featurephone, low cost handset division enjoys a hugely dominant market share in India, where it’s one of the most popular and trusted brands – of anything. Across Africa, most business is still conducted over or on Nokia monochromatic handsets. But as the smartphone market becomes commoditized, their increasing affordability will force Nokia to lift its game and simplify their approach, as those in the developing world will want smartphones as well. Marketplace
The Australian mobile market has flipped around in a very short timeframe, so that now 65% of handsets are smartphones. Nokia is a minority player in this market. For the other 35% of handsets, Nokia is almost the only game in town. With the Lumia stalled for an Australian release until mid 2012, Nokia runs a very real risk of being forgotten. Still, when businesses need to hand an employee a sturdy, reliable handset for calls and texts only, they will be turning to Nokia for some time to come. Nokia providers
For smartphones, Telstra, Optus
are only offering the N9 for now, which is a good thing. The N9 is a very decent bit of kit, with the usual great build quality and a lightweight OS that’s perfect for people who want the basics. For featurephones, any carrier or reseller is appropriate, with several older but still acceptable models available…well, everywhere. Nokia phones are a mainstay of the prepaid market, starting from $20 in supermarkets, petrol stations, shopping mall kiosks and the like.
For the N9, check out Telstra’s $79 Freedom Connect Medium
, which gets you a free N9 on a 24 month contract, with $800 included value and 2GB of data. For featurephones, a solid option is the Nokia C5, which is available for $0 on Virgin’s Fair-Go $29 plan
, with $190 included call value and 250MB of data to use on Symbian’s tricky but functional browser. The C5 sports a surprising 5MP camera, placing it at the head of the pack for featurephones.
Nokia is still a force to be reckoned with, especially in the budget category. Early reports indicate the Lumia will provide a much-needed departure from the current slew of shiny black rectangles on the market, running colorful but distracting versions of Android. Nokia has the knowledge and resources to tough it out, waiting for a gap in the market to exploit.