Nokia asks the man who produced its last hit to produce an "iPhone killer"

Nokia asks the man who produced its last hit to produce an
In March 2007, 3 months before the Apple iPhone entered our consciousness, Nokia's N95 was launched and became a mega hit for the company. The phone was Nokia's first model to be equipped with GPS. Other features included web browsing, a 5MP camera with Carl Zeiss optics, Wi-Fi and music and video players. Nokia marketed the device as a multimedia computer and the N95 became a hit with more than 10 million units sold. Thanks to the N95, Nokia's margins on devices sold reached 21%.  June came, Apple launched the touchscreen iPhone and Nokia lost the momentum it had gained. Thanks to Apple and RIM, Nokia's margin's for the first quarter of 2010 dropped to 12.1%

In an attempt to produce a legitimate "iPhone killer", Nokia is turning back to the man who produced the N95. Anssi Vanjoki, a 20 year Nokia employee, shifted to a marketing position after all phone divisions were merged into a single business. Now that smartphones will be a separate division again, Vanjoki will be at the helm, seeking another big winner for Nokia. This was a task that eluded him following the launch of the iPhone. In August 2007, the Finnish based firm followed up with a series of music phones. Foreshadowing the current patent infringement case between Nokia and Apple, Vanjoki amazingly said at the time, "If there is something good in the world, we copy with pride." He also made some critical comments about the N97 when he commented, "The N97 has been a tremendous success for us when it comes to how many did we ship and how much money did we collect,” he said. “But it has been a tremendous disappointment in terms of the experience quality for the consumers, something we did not anticipate.” Besides having Apple's iPhone to deal with, Vanjoki will have the sizzling hot Android OS to worry about. His first new device will be the Nokia N8, a touchscreen handset that uses a more finger friendly version of the Symbian OS. The N8 offers free television, navigation and maps.

Nokia N8 Specifications

source: BusinessWeek

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24 Comments

1. iHateCrapple

Posts: 734; Member since: Feb 12, 2010

U.S. MARKET! U.S. MARKET! Don't even bother trying Nokia if it doesn't hit our shores on ALL our networks!

2. ilia1986 unregistered

Nokia can try. It won't succeed. Failing to anticipate the fact that starting from 2007, the deciding factor when buying a top range phone is not the camera, the gps or the music player - but the APPS - was a fatal (imo) mistake. How can nokia recover? In the same way motorola did. Android. Their last and only hope to make something that can COMPETE with the iPhone. You cannot just make an app store with 200k apps out of thin air.

4. NokTokDaddy

Posts: 21; Member since: May 12, 2010

They are already doing this! Developments with Qt cross-platform compatability will see the thousands of existing Symbian apps migrate over to new Nokia OS's: Symbian^3 and 4 and Maemo/Meego. Ovi store is gearing uo for this and we're seeing the firts commercials for Ovi store appearing in UK press right now. The battle has started! Don't forget that Symbian apps have been freely available long before iphone or android were mooted, but apple stole the lead by making their customers pay for apps and denying 3rd part development. There are now many excellent paid-for apps for Symbian and even some for Maemo now - thanks to Apple and because Maemo/Meego are truly open-source platforms anyone can develop and distribute apps independent of Ovi Store. You'll soon see many independent stores opening to sell apps for Nokia phones because, at the end of the day, Nokia sell more smatphones than apple and RIM combined.

13. ilia1986 unregistered

First of all, as far as I can see from my country - nokia apps come in euros which make em much more expensive compared to apple's apps. Second of all - Nokia is yet to have a device with multi touch support. Third of all - the Symbian interface - as evident in ^3 - is still based upon the insanely old concept of buttons and menus. Will it change? I don't think so - because Nokia cannot think outside the box when it comes to phone design and or OS design. Fourth of all - Ovi and Maemo combined possibly don't have more than 10k apps - while android is already well over 50k.. And to summerize: I have a clumsy slow nokia 5800, which has a resistive screen, very slow and VERY clumsy and old-fashioned OS design, and I struggle to find 3 good apps which I could download for free from the ovi store (not to mention the whole process of d\ling and installing is very clumsy as well. This was nokia in october 2008. This is nokia today as well. And I say that this is also the nokia of tomorrow. In comparison - I don't have an iPhone - but I got iTunes - and everytime I acess the store - I can immidiately spot a free app that might remotely be useful (and I have no doubts about d\ling it, because both installing it and removing it later on is easy and fast. So dear Nokia - come over to Android. Its an awesome platform. And you know - it doesn't suck.

16. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

considering nokia is the worlds largest phone manufacturer and Symbian is the worlds most used OS, i can see their app store exploding if they get a few high profile phones on it.. The N8 is definatly a step in the right direction but they need to step it up in the "flashy" department on the OS. Iphone is oodles of sizzle with a lil steak.. but people buy it like its going outta style.

17. ilia1986 unregistered

"i can see their app store exploding if they get a few high profile phones on it" The N97 was a high profile phone at the time (december 08'), and so was the N97 mini, was was the N900, and heck even the 5800 could be considered a high profile phone, because it's specs were superior to the iPhone 3g (you know aside from those little stuff like screen quality, performance, and OS). For some reason the Ovi store didn't explode.. It barely justified it's own existence. And Nokia is a very conservative company - so I just can't imagine them doing something "flashy". They will probable design an interface similar in it's beauty to windows 95 and call it "3D experience".

20. iHateCrapple

Posts: 734; Member since: Feb 12, 2010

ilia1986 hates Nokia with a passion! I can't blame you though, I know where your coming from. But they do have tremendous potential, IMO.

21. DontHateOnS60

Posts: 872; Member since: Apr 20, 2009

So you buy a phone purely for the application store? Interesting. And here I thought the actual phone you hold in your hands is why you buy a phone. By the way, Android isn't all that great. It's new, and fresh, has some eye candy, and has a big name behind it, but overall, the experience and functionality isn't that great. But hey, if you like it, good for you. I'll wait until S^4 comes out and have exactly what I'm looking for.

24. ilia1986 unregistered

If by actual phone you also mean design, ease of use, and speediness - than yes - I still hate nokia with passion. And regarding Android - I watched the video of the motorla milestone - a 21 minute video featuring 2.1 on it. My crappy nokia 5800 doesn't even come close to that. As for potential - that HAD potential in 2007 when they owned the market.. until the iPhone came and showed that your phone is actually your future personal computer. So yes - the application store - and the software behind it (itunes as an example) all serve as a very important factor when selecting a phone. Because an iPhone allows your phone to do 200k different things, android about 50k.. and nokia? lol - maybe 5k - about half of which are not worth the cost (because it comes in euros) - and the other half doesn't work correctly on your phone (yes, Im talking about genuine Ovi stuff here, not some 3rd party progs). I browse the iTunes app store several times a week. Everytime I do, it takes me exactly 30 seconds to find a free app that might be useful. I access the Ovi store once a week. It takes me at least 5 minutes to find something that might be even remotely useful. Its all about variety. And Nokia doesn't have that. And one of the reasons, is that its just not FUN to use a nokia touchscreen device. Aside from the X6 - all the screens are resistive. Its horrible. And it ruins the core functionality in many cases when using the phone. I hardly ever use the web - only my facebook app. I don't even listen to music on my phone - and all because of the screen. Because it's not fun and fluid and smooth to use.

3. NokTokDaddy

Posts: 21; Member since: May 12, 2010

@iHateCrapple: Amen to that, my ex-colonial cousin. Nokia has concentrated so much on markets outside of the US they seem to've lost focus on the high-end smartphones. I guess a lot of non-smartphone sales are brand-aspirational; the customer identifies the brand as being synonymous with quality and innovation and chooses a cheaper product from that brand accordingly. I'll bet that within a year or two Apple will market a truly low-end device for the masses that will bask in the reflected glory of iphone and that would really hurt Nokia. One way to counter this would be to re-take the top-end (i.e. US-orientated) market with an iphone-beater. Technology and hardware-wise Nokia really need to listen to the good people over at Maemo.org. Their patience, their experience and their development of the N900 could show Nokia the importance of not making the same mistakes a third time ( N97, N900 and now possibly this iphone-killer) The company that forgets their history will repeat it...

6. iHateCrapple

Posts: 734; Member since: Feb 12, 2010

Even if they do make an excellent phone for the U.S. market, they are at a disadvantage right off the bat, IMO. At least with VZW customers, we associate Nokia phones with garbage. All the phones VZW has seen are low-end basic models with REALLY cheap construction. I really hope it does happen but it'll be an uphill battle.

22. DontHateOnS60

Posts: 872; Member since: Apr 20, 2009

Most of the Nokia's we've seen on AT&T are also nothing to get consumers hot and bothered. From my perspective, the carriers just don't like Nokia, or anything they have to offer, and when they do decide to take one of the phones, they castrate it, mainly AT&T.

5. Sellcell

Posts: 118; Member since: Mar 16, 2010

If Nokia wants to have a come back and make a device that will be there bread and butter they'll have to do something that no other company does. The one thing that every manufacture has in common is they make phones that get outdated with in a couple months. If Nokia can make a phone that will have a hard time becoming outdated and use the latest technology offered, then they may have a chance. Now is the time to do it to, with the new 4g networks coming out there are a lot of possibilities.

7. NokTokDaddy

Posts: 21; Member since: May 12, 2010

Bread and butter for Nokia is the mid-range 'feature phones' and low-end smartphones. but to keep the plate full they'll have to make the brand aspirational by competing effectively at the top Personally I don't want to keep changing my phone every 5 minutes. As soon as I get used to it and the F/W updates get it running at its peak some new technology or development makes it obsolete and I 'have' to start thinking about changing it... We live in a fast-moving society where no-one wants to be seen using yesterday's phone. How must apple 3GS users feel now that iphone 4 is getting close to market? - a distinctive new design, better camera, better battery, etc., etc. - pretty pissed I'd imagine. 3GS will still be one hell of a device but resale values are going to go into freefall and long-term contracts will be expensive to buy out of. In the UK more of us are buying phones off-contract to allow us to upgrade hardware when we want now. That said, it still costs to upgrade frequently. That's the price of techno-fashion I guess.

8. zerglisk

Posts: 544; Member since: Feb 09, 2010

You can never view iPhone as just a cellphone. The aim is not to kill the "phone" itself but to kill the background supporters, the Apple Fanboys. In this case, Nokia will be in a very difficult situation because fanboys, unlike cellphone as a device, are not so easy to be "killed". Tons of cellphone out there has WAY and MUCH BETTER hardware specs than the iPhone but none of it came close enough to "kill" the iPhone. Why? Because though the iPhone can be "killed", its fanboys will NEVER be killed. Good luck, Nokia. You are not just fighting the iPhone.

9. NokTokDaddy

Posts: 21; Member since: May 12, 2010

Fanboys are all the same- they'll rant against the opposition with no regard to the values of competition and yes, they will be loyal for a while. Then, one of their peers will jump ship and because all fanboys are basically spineless, mindless herd creatures they will follow in their droves. What were iphone fanboys using four years ago? I guess many of them were still in school (that's not a sarcastic comment) but the older ones were probably fanboys for Nokia, Motorolla, Rim, etc. Apple fanboys seem to think Steve Jobs invented the mobile phone! The first' smartphone' was the touch-screen IBM 'Simon' of 1992. Some apple fanboys were not even a glint in the mailman's eye 18 years ago... Apple fanboys really should do their history and realise that although apple has brought much to the smartphone party they still arrived very, very late and have only really carved a small niche out of other manufacturers' development from the last five years. I'm not knocking apple here - they have changed the way we all look at our 'devices' but they have hardly innovated or been revolutionary. They took existing smartphone capability and made it more accessible through a beautifully-simple GUI and pushed it like hell through some amazing and powerful marketing. My N70 from four years ago was more groundbreaking then, is still feature-rich and sophisticated now than the forthcoming iphone 4 and had a far better battery life, but I wish my 2010 N900 had the GUI of the 1997 iphone! Apple have also pursued all criticism of their products with what is verging on a fascist zeal; look how they've hounded Gizmodo and now even Helen de Generis! No onder apple fanboys have no sense of proportion or humour. When Nokia were victim to similar criticism they just asked for their phone back, please... I know who I'm going to do business with for the forseeable future.

10. thatdude1 unregistered

Some of you guys have no idea what you are talking about. Will it be a boon for nokia to increase their presence in the u.s., yes. Do they need it to thrive, no. Nokia has been creating and innovating for a while now, so much so that even apple steals its patents. Nokia sells more handsets than rim, apple and all android handsets COMBINED. This is all WITHOUT the u.s. market. They don't need an "iphone killer", they already have them. N-series handsets from nokia outsell ALL versions of the iphone put together(and that's just the touchscreen n-series handsets, mind you). And with the n8 coming aboard, with the new versions of the symbian os and meego, nokia will continue to hold onto it's spot as the number one handset maker in the WORLD. Maybe people should start viewing things as everyone else needs to catch up to nokia in the rest of the world, not nokia trying to catch up to everyone else in the u.s.

11. NokTokDaddy

Posts: 21; Member since: May 12, 2010

What you say is largely true, but Nokia have lost a little market share of late and profits from handsets have been hit because there's little money in the low and mid-market, even when they produce millions of smartphones for the rest of the world. N series may well outsell iphone but these devices are starting to show their age now. N8 has been openly criticised for being little better than Symbian 60 as an OS (Although i still rate Symbian 60 over iphone or android as a useable, durable OS that doesn't eat batteries in 4 hours) Apple and android have gained a strong foothold in a very short time and are now well-placed to attack Nokia's huge market share with cheap smartphones for the masses. I think Nokia are being very forward-thinking and bold in re-taking the top end (and yes, that does mean the US - who else has the money for large volumes of top-end devices?). I have been a Nokia customer for over a decade now, but their recent 'top end' devices have not been the best - I'm specifically talking about N97 and N900 (my current weapon of choice). Confusion over Maemo/Meego and dithering over Ovi Store and Qt cross-compatability have not helped when App Store has been such a huge success. Nokia MUST follow through on this plan, MUST learn from their mistakes and above all else MUST innovate if they are to hold on to that top slot. The news above is long overdue, IMO. Nokia dominating the top end will mitigate apple and android's appeal that will in turn help protect Nokia's bread-and-butter: the 'number' feature-phones, X-series music/smartphones (Both currently Symbian 60) and basic devices (Symbian 40) There is no room for complacency.

19. CRICKETownz

Posts: 980; Member since: Oct 24, 2009

Call me crazy...but maybe its b/c i live in the US. I haven't seen an impressive Nokia phone for years and from what I can tell from seein the Symbian OS...its nothin special. Actually seems to be laggin behind. Not sure what attracts you Euro's to these phones...maybe b/c you have no choice and Nokia (like Android) is the most widely available option so you just deal with it, but man...Nokia? Really? Not at all. Nokia seems to have their priorities of what makes up a smartphone out of order. I've seen a few that do some cool things (Nokia N900) but I can't say I would carry the phone. Idk what it is...I've seen other phones made by other manufacturers that were just terrible. Guess i'm a "yank"...

12. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

This is all good for the customer as companies compete to "1-up" the iphone and in the end consumers will benefit.

14. thatdude1 unregistered

@noktokdaddy-true, there is no room for complacency, but nokia has been far from complacent. Secretive is more like it. Think of them as an animal feigning injury to give others a false sense of hope and then, bam!-n8 is about to be released, and it sure looks impressive. And to the fool who initially put out there that the new version of symbian is nothing good, consider the source. A known detractor of nokia. I would not believe a word he says about nokia considering he dislikes nokia so much. And if n-series devices are showing their age, what about ANY device not made this year. The n95 is still more feature packed than many a device recently produced. And I also own an n900 and it is fantastic! Beautiful UI and OS! Open source is definitely the way to go. MeeGo will be great, you wait and see. There is no confusion there. Maemo will become MeeGo once fully merged with intel's Moblin. I, too, have been an avid nokia user(over 11 years now)and have come to learn that nokia always has a plan. And yes, getting in good with the u.s. market will be helpful indeed, but it certainly isn't or ever will be where there bread and butter is. Nokia knows this, which is why they still produce a slew of low to mid range handsets for other parts of the world. Rim, for instance, may be trying to get into other markets besides the business one, but business will always be there main focus. That is where the money is for them. Same premise for nokia.

15. thatdude1 unregistered

And any TRUE smartphone user knows that apps do not make a smartphone(or it's platform)great.

18. NokTokDaddy

Posts: 21; Member since: May 12, 2010

On a personal level I agree Nokias generally come stuffed with features and functionality that mitigates the need for apps. However, to address your previous points; I don't know about secretive, but Nokia could certainly improve on their communication skills. When I started out in Sales I was told to "Tell 'em what you're gonna tell them. tell them , and then tell them what you've told them" - a philosophy Nokia could definately benefit from. Some people have alleged that Nokia were forced into revealing the N8 early by Eldar's prototype expose, but I think this was co-incidence or synchronicity. Symbian^3 has allways been touted as a precursor to Symbian^4 I think Eldar's comments underline that N8 is no quantum leap in UX over, say Symbian S60 V5. The specs of N8 do look mouthwateringly good although these will not pry many iphone owners away from apple, they will appeal to those considering their 1st iphone sufficiently and keep Nokia in the frame. You assertion that Meego WILL come to N900 contradicts your claim of Nokia's secrecy; N900 is the refernce device for Meego (Nokia have been clear on that). You are assuming that (full) Meego WILL come when no absolute assurances have been given. To cherrypick examples of Nokia's alternate secrecy and then openness is not a cohesive argument. Personally, I think that they originally had no plans to offer Meego to existing N900's. I don't think N900 was not intended to be anything other than a stepping stone to et Maemo ready for mass release. The build qualityand functionality is not all it could be; the choice of materials, poorly designed micro usb charging port, absent phone,calendar, email and navigational functionality are all sub N-series standard and all beg the question "WHY?" Why would Nokia produce a device that excells in so many areas yet fails to deliver in other, far more basic areas? There have been many Nokia phones that have been improved with FW upgrades, but I can't think of any that had substantial missing functionality at launch that was added later. What is past is prologue - I don't think they ever intended this child to survive. I hope Meego comes to N900 - I really do. But I will be surprised if it does. Being realistic, I predict that the forthcoming PR1.2 upgrade will sort out some issues and beyond that navigation comparable to Ovi Maps will (eventually) come to N900 because I have an email from Nokia confirming that much. But by that time the first Meego device will be on sale and N900 will be yesterday's news - just like N97. I'll stick with Nokia for a while (might go back to X6 or N97 Mini), but I don't think I'll be dioing them any favours if I become a fanboy and continue to deny my dissapointment. That's like the Emperor's New Clothes... Like you I buy Nokias for their functionality and features and I'm not getting that with N900. I will not want to part with my N900, but I need effective satnav, a relliable voice/phone recorder, full calendar functionality and better battery life right NOW, and the marketing and advertising misled me. The many reviews I read failed to highlight the shortfalls and Maemo.org appeared to be a developer community, not a consumer group so I didn't pursue my enquiries there as much as I should. Above all else I trusted that an N-series device would not be a quantum leap BACKWARDS in features and functionality. That trust was misplaced. Open Source is all well and good, but if it fails to deliver through poor leadership and managemnt it will fail to sell. Dedicated developers have done much to improve the N900 but even they are getting frustrated. Nokia/Intel must talke the lead if Meego is to succeed on mobile devices. N900 had great potential but his still going nowhere fast. Nokia must INSPIRE the buying public with Meego if they are to compete, let alone 'kill' iphone or android. I remain optimistic, though. And that brings us back to the US market. If Nokia continue to lose ground in this key market (key for profit and brand perception, not sales volume) they will lose the aspirational value of the brand. When apple and Google/Android/HTC attack the mid and low-end WORLD market Nokia would really have something to worry about. That's why the US market is important, and that is why an 'iphone killer' is vital to the ongoing success of Nokia. Hold on tight- this will be an exciting ride!

23. thatdude1 unregistered

Good points. However: you can't knock nokia for being secretive and apple is always so. Does that negatively impact them? I think not. There is nothing wrong with them retaining information until such a time when they feel is right to release the information. I don't think nokia released information about the n8 prematurely because of eldar's little expose' on an unfinished product....I think they felt it was the right time to release information about it considering the many rumors going around about a 12 megapixel monster they had in the works. Because nokia chooses to hold back information about some things while being very forward with others only means that(in the case of maemo/meego)they wanted to assure those who purchased the n900 that they will not be sitting on something obselete after so short a time span. All handsets evolve in software and hardware, meaning there will always be something out new and refreshing and perhaps, better than it's previous incarnation. Look at the iphone 2g, 3g, 3gs, and now the forthcoming iphone 4.whatever to understand what I am talking about. Will the n900 become "obselete" eventually? Of course. What handset doesn't? And I am not sure what n900 you have, but mine has calender, email, phone and navigation functionality. Charging port? Mine is just fine. ALL handset's have a few models that are defective, take yours back and get a new one. I am sure you won't be disapointed. And quantum leap backward? The n900 is pure innovation, and improving all the time. Take the time to really learn and work your handset. Backward leaping would be reserved for the iphone, which is just now after 3 or 4 iphones able to multitask? Change the background wallpaper? And android? All their handsets look and feel the same. Nothing ground breaking there. Here in the states people are just experiencing multitasking on a handset, something nokia handsets have done very well for years. People were just not properly informed about nokia handset's. And don't get me started on the monotony of Rim and/or blackberries. Come on. And open source is the way. Being able to get your handset to truly be your own is priceless. Nokia is doing a good job at pushing this, but there will always be detractors. I say, if you don't like it, don't buy it. Do the research before you commit. And to "compete" with apple or android, they simply need to get their handsets in the hands of consumers here in the states by better marketing in the states. Once that happens, consumers will see for themselves which brand is superior. And sorry, even if google and apple were to attack the mid and low end world markets, nokia would still remain supreme. Spec for spec and hardware for hardware, apple and google cannot compete with nokia. I am not saying that nokia is without it's shortcomings, but name any handset maker that is absolutely perfect and I will tell you to pass me some of what you are smoking. Is the u.s. market important to nokia, of course. ANY market is if you want to grow your empire. Is it VITAL to nokia's continued success, absolutely not.

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