Friday, 16 December 2016

Blackberry Android Failure Should Give Pause To Nokia Hype


A decade ago the two biggest names in smartphones were Nokia and RIM. After failing to react to the iPhone and compounding that error by failing to react to Android both sunk slowly into the mire. Nokia belatedly abandoned the woeful Symbian platform for Windows Phone - and we all know how that ended up - whilst RIM changed names to Blackberry, jumped to Android and finally abandoned its ambitions as a smartphone manufacturer when it signed the rights to hardware and software over to TCL, who will keep the flame alive.

Parallels with Nokia's HMD deal are easy to see.

Many have speculated that Nokia's downfall came as the result of a switch to Windows Phone rather than Android. That's far from the truth, which is that Nokia delayed switching from Symbian far too long, even when it had a ready made replacement more than capable of taking the game to Apple and Google.

So HMD will soon be releasing its first non-Microsoft Android phones carrying the Nokia nameplate. I'm expecting these to be mid-level phones at best, because competing with the big boys building premium phones is both very difficult and very expensive.

Right now a play for the middle ground makes perfect sense, if only because the Nokia brand will have better visibility than Chinese OEMs like Meizu, Oppo and Xiaomi who currently make most of the noise in that market segment.

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