Nokia missed the boat with early prototypes that hinted at the Apple iPhone and Apple iPad

Nokia missed the boat with early prototypes that hinted at the Apple iPhone and Apple iPad
Over 10 years ago, Frank Nuovo was Nokia's former chief designer and he displayed a unique mobile phone prototype with a color touchscreen above a single button. The device was seen finding a restaurant, playing video games and ordering lipstick. Sound familiar? Remember, this was 7 years before the introduction of the Apple iPhone. And if that isn't bad enough, in the early 1990's Nokia had developed a mobile computer-a tablet if you will-with a touchscreen and a wireless connection.

So what does Nuovo say about beating Apple to the punch with early prototypes of two products that eventually became two of the biggest consumer electronics devices ever made? "Oh my God," he says, "We had it completely nailed." While Nokia was spending tons of cash on R&D, it never took any of these products to market. The Finnish handset manufacturer was the global leader for 14 years in providing mobile phone handsets, but the company lost its crown to Samsung as smartphones started to grab marketshare from featurephones. At the end of 2007, after the Apple iPhone had been on the market for about 5 months, Nokia's marketshare globally peaked at 40.4%. Now, the Finnish handset manufacturer had a marketshare of 21% in this years first quarter, and a stock price that has dropped to a 16 year low. In Q1, Nokia lost the equivalent of $1.1 billion USD vs.a profit of $422 million USD the year before. While Nokia has spent $40 billion over the past 10 years on R&D, four times more than the amount spent by Apple in the same period, infighting within the company prevented Nokia from taking advantage of some of its R&D spending. Stephen Elop, Nokia's CEO, has two OS and a ton of patents to unload that analysts say have a value of $6 billion which is the majority of the current valuation of the company. Elop will probably sell many of these items to raise enough money to keep Nokia alive until it becomes self sustaining once again. Elop can only sit back and wonder what might have been had Nokia felt ambitious enough to bring its inventions to the marketplace.After Elop took over at Nokia, the company announced a deal with Microsoft and now Nokia's survival will depend on Windows Phone. It isn't the first time a handset manufacturer made a big all or nothing bet on an operating system. Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha was fairly new to the company when he said that Motorola would live or die with the then obscure Android OS. It was a successful bet as Jha rolled a 7 with the Motorola DROID which was the first to run Android 2.0, and the rout was on.

Nokia produced its first smartphone in 1996, the Nokia 9000. It could surf the web, read emails and fax. Weighing nearly a pound, the device put Nokia 5 years ahead of everyone else according to former CEO Jorma Ollila. But that lead would soon get coughed up. When Motorola's thin RAZR flip-phone became a world-wide smash in 2004, Nokia merged its basic phones with its smartphones and the featurephones took over leadership of the division. Nokia's smartphones had hit the marketplace too early before consumers knew what to do with them. And then when the Apple iPhone came out, Nokia said that the device wouldn't have passed its own drop test. In addition, it was too expensive to make and worked over EDGE, not 3G. But soon Nokia realized that much of the attraction for the iPhone was because of the software. Nokia tried to modernize its aging Symbian OS, but it didn't work. Last year, Nokia tried MeeGo on the Nokia N9, and while consumers seemingly loved it, CEO Elop killed it off to concentrate on Windows Phone. This might turn out to be another decision that bites Nokia on its rear since some Nokia employees have left the company to start a new company, Jolla, to develop smartphones using MeeGo and carrying some patents from Nokia with them.

Nokia is undergoing a major restructuring that will result in the loss of 10,000 jobs, There is a question about how successful its Nokia Lumia has been in the U.S. and now the company has to go up against not only the Apple iPhone, but also the sizzling hot Samsung Galaxy S III. Meanwhile, with Windows Phone 8 soon to be launched, the Nokia Lumia 900 has seen its price sliced in half. Imagine how different everything would be now had Nokia decided to come to market with those two prototypes 10 years ago.

source: WSJ



1. rahulcena5565

Posts: 57; Member since: Nov 01, 2010

Too late to apologize!

4. Lift_Off

Posts: 152; Member since: Apr 04, 2012

its toooo laaaaaaaaaaaaaatteee

18. phitch

Posts: 214; Member since: Mar 06, 2012

The weekend career girl never boarded the plane!

2. dmn666

Posts: 244; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

That's what happens when you spend on real R&D. Sad but true. Garbage makers from Korea and China will slavishly copy all your sh*t and sell those for a lower price. Apple will tweak it a bit and their marketing will take care of the rest. Yet Nokia could get away as they were only the OEM who could produce top-notch in-house OS (not crap like BADA or whatever Samsung is gonna call it later). Elop ruined that too.

12. sulkoudai

Posts: 2; Member since: Jul 19, 2012

'Garbage makers from Korea and China'? yea i agree with the 'China' part but Korea as well? Samsung used to copy until the SGS1, the SGS2 and the GT10.1 and the later devices are not copies, its funny how iSheeps (not calling you one) never called the SGS2 and the GT10.1 copies until the lawsuits, after that all iSheeps are going CRAZy about how its a copy just because Apple said so, now even the Galaxy Nexus and the SGS3 is al copy too now... Just look at the comments on the announcements and the reviews of the SGS2 and the GT10.1 before the lawsuits. And back to the point, Koreans (LG and Samsung) is now way a head of their Japanese rivals when it comes to consumer technology and Samsung deserves to be the top mobile phone maker.

21. piyushkohli97

Posts: 5; Member since: Jul 14, 2012

a good example for the latest copy by samsung is s-voice

3. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Yet again, bureaucracies stifle cutting-edge development and technology in an attempt to cover their own rears and satisfy investors, rather than focusing on making products. It's what nearly killed a lot of the auto industry, as well as other industries. To quote OddTodd, "Do what you love, and the money will follow". Let the nerds in R&D push the envelope, give them the money and the engineers to make it work, test it until it passes the high standards the company is known for but within a reasonable amount of time, sell it, then repeat the process for the next model. Sure, Nokia has fumbled past opportunities, but if they make plenty of Windows Phone 8s, and make them the best options for the respective price range (low, medium, high), giving them the legendary reception, quality, battery life, screens, connectivity options, and camera quality (especially PureView) that Nokia is known for, and keep the Asha line going for the basic phones (for now), their recovery is in the bag, and they won't need to fall back to Android. Will they go back to 40% market share? Not immediately, but as other companies (including apple) have demonstrated, it is possible to come back from near desolation and have a strong recovery

5. qwertypoor

Posts: 72; Member since: Jun 09, 2012

D%#$ nokia hate stories like this like when microsoft had the first e-reader like what 98 I think didn't do anything with it smh

6. mas11

Posts: 1034; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

Wow Google now spends more on R&D than Nokia and twice as much than Apple.

7. wendygarett unregistered

Looks like Nokia and Google spend a lot of r&d and Apple is busy to steal idea and patent it just to show how INNOVATION it is...

9. alterecho

Posts: 1106; Member since: Feb 23, 2012

You have seen what Android was supposed to look like right? roid_prototype_revealed_during_google_oracle_trial​.html Its one thing to hate Apple but completely another to blatantly lie like that. I'm referring to the info you claimed about Google. Nokia truly deserves to do well. Given a chance, i would get a Nokia with Belle.

17. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

that was ONE of the prototypes Google had been working on... Ive shown the dammed video about that gazilion times its not worth it

8. Jimstar

Posts: 259; Member since: Oct 24, 2011

ain't that a b###h!!!!! I feel worse for Nokia everyday.

10. pikapowerize

Posts: 1869; Member since: May 03, 2012

well if they could make a phone advance of five years, they should do the same again!! they should really consider the nokia air project! i really love symbian!!! but the problem with it is that nokia wont support it now and no more ecosystem! i wish they could at least put symbian on low end market instead of the S40! s40 really sucks!! it cant compete on the range of galaxy y price!

11. AppleConspiracy

Posts: 637; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

If you understand the basic structure of economic and market dynamics in relation to the world and general perception of technology, you would know that Nokia would achieve nothing but a big FLOP if they released this smartphone concept at that time. That's why it stayed only a concept. They did the right thing back then by not releasing it (it's another story with doing right things now). It's never about technological concept and material product. It's allways about how society understands its need.

13. microsoftnokiawin

Posts: 1268; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

OK every time someone mentions nokia sales in the US the world doesn't revolve around the US is only 4% of the smartphone market in the world doesn't matter of nokia got 100% sales in the US but non else where whats the use they should concentrate a bit on Europe where most of their loyal fans are and markets like india and china where the population is big

14. Bluesky02

Posts: 1439; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

That's why i don't blame Elop for cutting spending

15. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Wow Nokia. They shouda just came out with it.

16. Aeires unregistered

Just think of how many stupid icomments this would have prevented, no more "Apple invented the smart phone, everyone just copies Apple, etc..."

20. piyushkohli97

Posts: 5; Member since: Jul 14, 2012

Apple Came Out First With a Smartphone..........and They Won....... Thats How It is..............

19. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

What is it that APPLE has to write on their UK website?

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