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Even All About Symbian reckons there’s a problem, Nokia

Ewan Spence has posted an opinion piece on the always respected All About Symbian titled, “Is PR more important than specs for the smartphone ecosystem?

He goes on to discuss the reality that whilst Nokia are in the process of delivering against their stated targets, the company needs to give serious attention to the broad message and get stuck in to begin setting the agenda rather than responding.

I particularly liked this section:

Let’s take a few examples from the recent news – all of which are cases that directly affect a product, but have very little to do with the mechanics of what is going on.

Gartner first, and a blog post (with a lovely link-bait headline) from Nick Jones on the fortunes of Symbian going forward over the next few years. The argument is a well worn one on both sides – the delay in getting Symbian^4 and the new UI into the hands of the consumers (and the analysts!) and the loss of market share during this lull – and I’m not going to go into that now. What I wanted to draw attention to was that this article damages the perception of Symbian and needs to be countered. Actually not even countered, Symbian’s point of view should already be out there and a robust rebuttal needs to be delivered.

People will not buy a dying system – it’s not cool. They will buy a system that promises the future. Deep in the story of Symbian is the path the future will take, but is it front and centre and easy to see so that people will buy into it? Apparently not.

Spence finishes with this point:

Vanjoki [the top guy at Nokia’s Mobile Solutions] has the hardest challenge of his life. To make people want to buy Nokia again. He can’t do that just from having the best hardware. He has to make Nokia’s name attractive again, he has to make it cool to like the Finns (again), he has to go on the offensive. And there are no half measures, he needs 100% commitment to win back the cool points.

Read the full post here.

Nice write-up Mr Spence. I trust we’ll see some movement soon.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

7 replies on “Even All About Symbian reckons there’s a problem, Nokia”

I agree that Nokia/Symbian need to be more pro-active in setting the record straight BUT I think it's far better to execute in tandem to promises.

Get a bug-free N8/Symbian 3 out first with some killer 3rd party apps (Skype, Gravity, Facebook etc.) and a properly competitive web browser, then come out fighting on the marketing/PR front. Otherwise the latter does more damage IMHO.

In other words, it's OK to go quiet for a short period.

In fact, I wouldn't have announced the N8 yet but that's probably a carrier issue – who are still, in many ways, Nokia's real customer, good or bad.

Agreed – Nokia are damned if they do and damned if they don't right now. This applies to almost any issue.

The question is will this change when they have a device portfolio to back this up. Imagine a scenario whereby by early next year they've had a couple of Symbian^3 devices selling where, the first MeeGo device doing well, have announced a tablet, and are just announcing their first Symbian^4 phone…. How different does that look to today (N97 mini / N900 in the high end consumer space and… not much else).

I rather think that in the next few months thing will only get bleaker for Nokia (in terms of media perception), but there is cause for optimism if you look beyond that. The fact that the majority of the media and analysts don't seem to be willing / able to even consider looking ahead (even to say it wont work) is as much a commentary on them as it is on Nokia.

Agreed, Steve, you promsie a bit (which has been done a lot), then you deliver, then you promise again, then you deliver again, and you buil up that cylce of trust again. Right now, there's no cookie cutter obvious “delivery.” The N8 should be the first sep (the *first*) and agreed on the Carrier issue.

My big worry for Nokia is whether they will be able to deliver something truly popular before we see a £50 or even $50 android device.

I dont think Apple have ever been the competition, even though they set the agenda. The mass market has always been about who can deliver value between £50 and £200. That’s really what matters.

The latest Nokia devices seem to be pushing variants of the S60 3rd edition interface and the substantially worse 5th edition. None of these cut it. The only planned Symbian ^3 device is effectivly and “end of line” product.

Woe unto thee Nokia!

PS I can't find the newsletter online to comment on.

I think your argument about whether Nokia should support geeky tech blogs or not is a bit like deciding whether the Titanic's deckchairs should be open or closed – let alone shuffling them around.

(Although I do think the liner is eminently salvageable, it will take the wooing of consumers and developers before bloggers become critical to success.)

Oh, and a better browser, thanks.

Sorry James, I didn't put that segment of the newsletter online as I was running fast that day to get things done.

I do think you're right — developers first, get the ecosystem moving and create the right conditions for them to grow.

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