Nokia chief exec teases new developments, explains how Nokia will differentiate its Lumias

Nokia chief exec teases new developments, explains how Nokia will differentiate its Lumias
Nokia is undergoing its toughest times, or as chief executive Stephen Elop puts it, has reached the “heart of the transition” to Windows Phone as its main platform. At the same time, the Finnish company is keeping R&D spending suspiciously high, while development efforts have rightly decreased after Nokia abandoned the “burning” Symbian and largely MeeGo. So where is that all money going to?

"We have increased our R&D spending [on low-end mobile phones], so there's clearly something being developed, underway. There's some excitement there," Elop teased.

At 14.5% of revenue, Nokia is spending comparatively much more than others in the industry and the first thing that you’d associate it with is a whisper about a Linux-based low-end platform Meltemi. Rumor has it that Meltemi will come to replace Series 40, Nokia's current platform for affordable devices, but we find it hard to understand why would Nokia want yet another budget platform in times when smartphones are eating out the low end.

Nokia might still need a platform to stretch its outreach down to the very bottom of the market where Windows Phone may or may not reach, it's just not clear how Meltemi will fit in between Series 40 and Windows Phone. In either case, there’s clear concern that Windows Phone will take a while to go down in price as quickly as Android .

At the same time, every platform needs developers and while the earlier planned MeeGo road accounted for a smooth transition with ubiquitous support for Qt, a set of developer tools consistent with Symbian, the Windows Phone adventure Nokia undertook cut off many of the company’s loyal developers. The reason? Only Microsoft tools were allowed in order to develop for WP. Now, however, a breakthrough is possible as Nokia is negotiating Qt support for Windows 8 (and possible Windows Phone 8).

Apart from that, in a recent huge piece by Wired, Nokia’s top management spoke about the future of the company and there’s tons of interesting details. First of all, there surfaced the big question about whether Nokia can go back to its 20% operating margins from Symbian times. Interestingly, chief executive Elop is not optimistic about that. His comment was a tepid “it’s possible,” but the likelihood seems that Nokia will gravitate towards the 10% margin in the best case scenario. OEMs traditionally score low margins, most often in the single digits, so that’s the reality of Nokia’s situation right now.

At the same time, we’ve heard over and over again how Nokia wants to differentiate. In reality, we’ve seen little except for the captivating design of the Lumia family. So where will Nokia actually stand out?

The Finns’ strategy lays on four pillars, with their bases rooted deep in the Windows Phone platform. The first and most important one is camera technology. That’s where you can see some exclusivity in both the software camera application and the hardware technology, but problem is, all of this is still in the uncertain future.

Second comes location where Nokia has gained a huge advantage. Nokia’s turn-by-turn navigation is available in 100 countries and 50 languages. Biggest rival Google Maps offers limited language support and only 28 countries. But Nokia maps will end up in Bing, and accessible to all Windows Phone manufacturers, so it’s not that much of a differentiator. Its role is rather to show the dependance between Nokia and Microsoft with Nokia providing the maps, and Microsoft the software platform.

Design is the third pillar, and one thing that’s changed in Nokia’s design department after the arrival of Elop is that it’s much more consolidated. Four offices on different continents with experts on materials, colors and everything design-related have been brought together under Nokia chief designer Marko Ahtisaari. 

“We brought together all of the industrial design, all of the colours and materials design, packaging design and all of the user-experience design into a single organisation,” Ahtisaari explained. The biggest pressure is currently on them to provide the biggest differentiating factor for Nokia Windows Phones.

The fourth pillar, is innovation with hardware. So overall, that’s the reality of Nokia today. The full article at Wired below will give you the complete picture, and we’d sum it all up by saying that there seems to be a slightly different attitude at Nokia now. The company seems different. Chief designer Marko Ahtisaari seems to have the right amount of idealism and optimism to paint a bright picture of the future, but chief executive Stephen Elop sounds very pragmatic, hopeful but not bullish on regaining the full glory of Nokia. 

The company is definitely facing some of its most severe challenges, and what do you think will happen to it in the future? What were the right and wrong decisions Nokia took? Let us know your opinion in the comments below.

source: Wired

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46 Comments

1. joeymk

Posts: 101; Member since: Jan 26, 2012

I like Nokia, they are trying really hard.

15. PhoneLuver

Posts: 481; Member since: Jul 05, 2010

Those comments are hilarious! These execs still haven't learnt jack! People DO care about which OS is running their phone! Additionally, people would rather buy a lower rated Android "smart" device than a completely different "low-end" device running a "low end" OS. While Android has a unifying effect on users Nokia is creating a class system with the WP vs Meltemi devices. (Oh, you're using Meltemi, because you can't afford WP!!)

38. xq10xa

Posts: 810; Member since: Dec 07, 2010

I own a Lumia 900 and 800. I second your motion. Only reason I have Windows Mobile is because Zune Pass. thats it.

41. NateAdam8

Posts: 439; Member since: Feb 17, 2012

How is the Lumia 800?

2. RazaAsad

Posts: 100; Member since: Nov 24, 2011

Nokia is definitely coming back. They are putting all the efforts and most of which is not understandable by people who do not know strategic management. I personally do didn't like many of Elop's early decisions but it seems if Nokia is able to come out of this tough time for once, it will gain its glory again in a few years. I wish Nokia to keep standing to provide us innovative products in future. WP 8 should bring many changes which Android and Symbian lovers seek for (I cross my fingers).

31. thelegend6657 unregistered

I want 2nd MeeGo phone .

3. refreak

Posts: 29; Member since: Dec 18, 2011

i am a nokia fan.. I have been using nokia since begining.. So, I really want them to succeed

4. LordOfTroll

Posts: 54; Member since: May 08, 2012

Nokia with Stephen Elop = Win.

18. I.P.H.O.N.E

Posts: 33; Member since: May 09, 2012

Its u the huge troller.... With a diffrent name. Or is it Eaxvac Nokia with stephen Elop = looose....

5. OuterHeaven1987

Posts: 5; Member since: May 10, 2012

"Biggest rival Google Maps offers 1 language and only 28 countries" 1 language? I was just navigated by a german voice by Google Maps. No English and dozens other languages in there?

14. Victor.H

Posts: 1098; Member since: May 27, 2011

Thanks, wasn't aware it supports German as well, will fix that in the article.

6. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

i think they should create a flagship series. Lumia is nice, but after a while the naming system would go haywire and we wouldn't know which is the high end one. right now there is only 610, 710, 800, 900 --- i see that higher is better but it doesn't seem catchy. there should be a name to any direct competitor to the Galaxy and iPhone. gaaah, i'm so excited for WP8. can't wait till WP Fanboys show up and it's a 3-way OS War! hahaha. imagine the fanboy chaos when phone smackdowns are made. iSheep, Fandroids, Windows Phone what? Suggestions? hahaha.

19. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

We will probably see a new name when the WP8 comes out, since then they can get hardware crazy. Microfans? :)

22. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

Windows Pawn. ohhh the pun.

7. FoneAddict

Posts: 263; Member since: Jul 05, 2011

Nokia still haven't distinguished their products compared to other Windows Mobile phones. As far as things stand, Microsoft appear to be the dominant partner in this relationship and I don't see that changing as long as Stephen Elop stays at the helm.

26. jackhammeR

Posts: 1548; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

you have to look closer because so far you're blind a little bit. no offense.

34. Veigald

Posts: 290; Member since: Jan 13, 2012

Haven't distinguished their products compared to other Windows Mobile phones? Probably not, since Windows Mobile phones are sort of outdated. When compared to other Windows Phone phones however, it should be pretty obvious that the Lumia 800 and 900 are distinguished, why else would Lumia 900 sell in spades and HTC Titan not?

37. steelicon

Posts: 318; Member since: Apr 02, 2011

This is a really cool article explaining Windows Phone 7.5 it is recommended that you read it thoroughly. my-symbian . com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=392156#392156 Just remove the spaces before and after "com" Happy reading!

8. maverick786us

Posts: 159; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

Well I am bit pleased with Nokia after Lumia 900. Although only after the release of Windows 8 Apollo I will conclude how good the OS platform is. I think moving from Symbian to Windows might have been a nice way. But one big mistake that Nokia did was ditching MeeGo. It is the best OS platform. They still have time to consider MeeGo and keep it alive, use it for some of the high end smartphones along with Windows 8. Don't know the future of S40 platforms as i hardly care for dumbphones

9. angelesmec unregistered

I am a Nokia fan & user for a very long time (Symbian days). I have nothing bad to say about Nokia, my years of using your phones was a pleasure. Even though I will be shifting to Android this July 2012 becaused it caught my interest and emotions xD rather than Windows Phone, I would still say goodluck and more powers to you old buddy. I learned so much from you and made me a smartphone enthusiast the way I am right now.

16. lubba

Posts: 1313; Member since: Jan 17, 2011

Goodbye old chap. Enjoy your Android. We won't miss ya.

10. Mobile-X-Pert

Posts: 565; Member since: Dec 20, 2010

Please Nokia, give us an sneak peek at your new WP8 phones.

11. joeymk

Posts: 101; Member since: Jan 26, 2012

To much android funboys on this article. I know vote down.

12. Bluesky02

Posts: 1439; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

So many good memories with Nokia. Don't want them to go away... Who can forget Nokia 3310 and Space Impact?

13. Raptor9142

Posts: 41; Member since: Apr 15, 2012

NOkia is loosing market.. Its not working hard for ppl.. its working hard to take ur money by any means.. even if they sell trash at cheap rates

17. APPLE_R0YALLY

Posts: 73; Member since: May 08, 2012

Wow why all these thumbs down.... Looks like Android fandroids fans?

21. neutralguy

Posts: 1152; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

I really noticed that. :)) i know most of these people are fandroids and really want nokia to totally go down. Brace yourselves, WP8 is coming. *this comment is protected not to be thumbs down by trolls*

23. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

no. nokia fans are thumbed down, even androids are thumbed down, even apple fans are thumbed down. OMG blackberry fans are back!

28. PhoneLuver

Posts: 481; Member since: Jul 05, 2010

Hahaha!!! Good one!

35. Veigald

Posts: 290; Member since: Jan 13, 2012

Are there enough BB fans for all those thumbs down then? :P

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