Opinion: Why Nokia just can’t compete
Ciaran Treacy talks about his desires to buy a Nokia handset but refuses to as long as it continues to exclusively run Windows Phone. Long live Android.
Nokia’s recent and timely announcement of a brand new mid-range Lumia, the Lumia 820, has coincided with my own considerations to buy a new phone. My current HTC One S has been put through its paces over the past year or more and I’m beginning to feel the urge to upgrade.
I was a long time Apple fanboy until my switch to Android. Having watched it mature from the sidelines, Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) and later Jelly Bean (Android 4.2) have outpaced Apple in many respects and have ultimately lured me over. However, as I browse the shelves for a new Android, I still hold a secret dream (not so secret now) that Nokia will someday surprise us all and come back on top.
Not long ago, the Espoo giant faced a tough decision; to join Android and become a small fish in a big pond, or go with Windows Phone and become the flagship device maker for an emerging mobile operating system (OS). Opting for the latter may have been the biggest mistake Nokia could have made, sacrificing longevity for short term PR gains, believing that with Android they would get lost among a sea of manufacturers.
However, as Samsung has proven, even with the ocean of Android phones out there, one company can make it big – Nokia could have been that company. Samsung has begun producing great phones that stand out from the crowd – the result being that they are now the single largest mobile device manufacturer in the world. However, they lack the premium feel that Apple has, the key to Cupertino’s success.
Nokia has always been able to balance functionality, innovation and design. This alone could have made it the biggest Android manufacturer, potentially triumphing Samsung. However, by siding with Microsoft, Nokia has bitten its nose to spite its face after what they saw to be Google’s arrogance. Espoo, where Nokia is headquartered, has shut themselves out of the mainstream market both in terms of customers and developers, and has become a powerful innovative force in a field no one particularly notices.
Nokia, in my opinion, is still the best handset maker out there, producing genuinely innovative ideas and well-built handsets. However, Windows Phone as a mobile OS has been so restrictive in terms of build and growth that it has left Nokia far behind less deserving companies. Nokia continues to produce great handsets with innovative features like wireless charging. Premium handsets are dragged down by an operating system that still has no notifications or options for ‘power users’ like myself.
HTC launched their new One smartphone to great fanfare and Samsung are getting people ready for the S4, but Nokia’s new Lumia range has barely gotten a peep of excitement from the audience.
I love Nokia, but until they produce an Android handset, I’ll keep staring longingly at the dusty models on the proverbial shelf as I buy my new HTC.