Was it this time last year that Nokia was burning?
I had to check through the Mobile Industry Review archives just to be sure!
What a difference a year makes in the mobile industry, eh?
This time last year the market was reacting to the news that Nokia had dumped it’s “burning platform” and moved to Windows. There were lingering questions over Symbian and MeeGo (now effectively answered: No-go) but the dramatic move by Nokia silenced absolutely everybody, especially the uber-critical and highly influential Western Media.
The move bought Nokia a year’s worth of breathing space. Obviously the company couldn’t be expected to release a Windows Phone handset immediately. And the mobile world did — I think it’s fair to say — pull a rather thin smile at the promises from Nokia’s High Command relating to delivering their first Windows Phone within the year.
Fast forward a year — a year? I can’t quite believe it — and here is an astonishingly positive post about Nokia from the Western Media Imperial leader itself: TechCrunch. In fact the post is from the site’s Editor-in-Chief, Erick Schonfeld.
Here’s Schonfeld on the Lumia 800:
When you hold one in your hand, it’s clear that the smartphone wars are far from over. It is too easy to dismiss Windows Phone 7 as being too little, too late. That was our first reaction too. No, it’s clear that Windows Phone has more than a fighting chance. Microsoft will make sure that the economics are much more attractive to the carriers than the iPhone’s so that they push Windows Phone. If consumers bite, Windows Phone could emerge as a very strong smartphone platform.
This is the sort of rehabilitation of Nokia’s image that was a total pipe dream 12 months ago.
Finishing off his post, Erick points out that if he had to choose between a top of the range Android device or the Lumia 800, he’d have to think very, very carefully. That’s a huge, huge #win for Nokia given the positivity that continues to surround Android in the Valley.
By aligning itself so closely with Microsoft, Nokia has bought itself a ticket at the top table of the smartphone world. Critics might argue that Nokia has been pushed to the back standing behind Microsoft, however I think that’s been necessary. The company’s image was so bad that it was next to impossible for many in the Valley to take them seriously. So a Microsoft wing-man is proving thoroughly useful.
There’s a few caveats to this broad perspective on Nokia. Of course we need to see how consumers react to the Lumia devices. At the end of the day, it’s all about sales. Ideally we need to hear about millions of Lumias being placed into consumer hands this year. And then toward the end of this year, we need to see Nokia bring some of their own tricks to the fair — especially in the context of gorgeous hardware and magical mobilised services. I think they can deliver.
To answer my question then, is Nokia’s rehabilitation in the Western Media complete? Yes. I think it’s all about delivery now.