Here is why I am a Nokia fanboy and will always be one
As you know I wrote up my Nokia World 2010 closing thoughts on Nokia Experts and also posted thoughts on the lack of any effect of NW 2010 on the US market and have to admit I was a bit cynical in those posts. I am an admittedly a Nokia fanboy, why else would I run this site?, and was caught up in the joy of awesome hardware last week at Nokia World while hearing little talk about the US market. I had some time to stew over this a bit and wrote these posts last night while fighting off a nasty cold that is overtaking me after returning from my trip to England. On the advice of a friend, Ricky Cadden, I went back through some of my posts here on Nokia Experts and realized I will always be a Nokia fanboy and I cannot be too harsh on Nokia when it comes to the US because honestly it is quite a bit different than other markets and I will give them more time to figure it out.
CDMA and multiple WCDMA frequencies
At first I was going to let Nokia off the hook by agreeing that the CDMA vs GSM and multiple frequencies used by US carriers is a good excuse to skip the US market. Then I realized that HTC, Samsung, RIM, and others have been able to make devices for all of these carriers so there really is no excuse for Nokia not to spend some money and work hard with US wireless carriers to get their devices out into Americans hands. Surprisingly Nokia is doing well supporting the add AWS (1700 MHz) frequency of T-Mobile USA, but T-Mobile is also one of the best carriers for Nokia with limited crapware installation and excellent data and voice pricing plans.
You might be thinking that Nokia will have a better chance when LTE is rolled out, but I believe we will see the same multiple frequency issue even if every carrier will then have SIM cards. To have an impact in America, Nokia will have to work with the carriers to offer subsidized devices or they will always be a niche player with devices only bought by those of us astute enough to understand the power of a Nokia smartphone.
Nokia works with media and bloggers
I have some good carrier relationships with Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile along with relationships with HTC so I have the chance to try out quite a few devices for ZDNet reviews. That said, I have never had any better relationship than with Nokia who sometimes lets writers use their devices for long term loans so that more complete coverage can be provided. In the days when the Nokia Nseries Blogger Relations program was up and running there was no one that could stand up to the way Nokia allowed us to check out early devices and provide honest feedback, both positive and negative.
Best flexibility for the consumer
You can regularly read about why I think consumers should honestly consider buying SIM unlocked devices as it offers you the most flexibility when it comes to contracts, pricing plans, and upgrade options, but the US consumer just doesn’t get it yet. This is actually a bit strange since people paid $599+ for the first generation iPhone that could barely be considered a smartphone with all the limitations it had and now these same consumers squawk at the low $549 price of the N8 that blows most other smartphone out of the water and is contract free. I don’t think I will ever change too many minds on this and doubt the US buyers will ever see the light since it is the monthly costs that rule and not the initial phone cost.
Familiar OS is not a bad thing
So many in the US media write that the Symbian OS is old and tired and I chalk this up to the fact that they simply do not understand it and are unfamiliar with it. As I wrote about before the S60 UI is not that different than other mobile operating systems and is familiar to millions around the world. Symbian^3 takes that to the next level with a slick UI and aspects of the very familiar S60 all in one device. I don’t think Nokia needs to be revolutionary with the UI on Symbian and can leave that to the MeeGo platform where the enthusiasts will push the limits.
Good and bad devices
We read a lot about the failed Nokia N97 flagship, but as I go back and look at some of my many posts on this device it actually performed quite well for the most part and is not so much of a failure as we seem to remember. I know that Nokia has had devices with issues, but which manufacturer hasn’t? The first couple of iPhones may have had pretty UIs, but honestly they were pretty lame smartphones. Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Palm, and others have all had devices with checkered pasts. Let’s not forget the great devices though, such as the N82, N95, N86 8MP, N900, and E71/E72/E73. I think everyone is going to be quite happy with the upcoming first generation Symbian^3 devices and if this is any indication of the future then we will be even happier with future Symbian devices.
Nokia cares about the world
Those who know me personally know that I am a fairly conservative person, but I still care deeply for our planet and as a Christian I care for the people on this planet. Nokia truly does as well and reaches and enables people across the globe with their devices and services. I know this means very little to many people, but it touches my heart and encourages me to know I am writing about a company that is making things better in this world and leaving the planet in good shape for my daughters and future grandchildren.
The people of Nokia
I have met some of the greatest people in the world through my coverage of Nokia devices, from the Nokia social media and communications teams of Molly, Joe, Mark and Ray, fellow bloggers and writers like Rafe, Ricky, and Phil, Nseries Blogger Relations team of Andy and Danielle, and so many others that I would not have had the pleasure of knowing unless I was writing about Nokia. Our lives are enriched by the people we meet and I couldn’t be happier with the group of people, most who I now call friends, I have met through Nokia.
Nokia made some major changes in leadership and followin the fiery keynote at Nokia World I think there is going to be some shaking up at the company that results in a bright future for Nokia.
Frustrations and joys of being an American Nokia fan
As you can tell when I write about my life with Nokia here on Nokia Experts life can be good and bad as a Nokia fanboy. One of the benefits of using Nokia high end smartphones in the US is that you are actually part of a fairly small community so you and your device stand out from the millions of Android, iOS, and BlackBerry devices. Other positives about being a fan of Nokia in the US include no contract plans, ability to tether at no cost, freedom to upgrade when you want (thanks in large part to Craigslist), very few (if any) dropped calls with the best RF reception around, FAST HSPA downloads (the N900 is a screamer on T-Mobile), and outstanding free Ovi Maps functionality. Some of the negatives are limited support for problematic devices (thankfully I have not have experienced this with units I purchased), lack of subsidization for the intial cost, lack of support for some Ovi services (like Ovi Music), and lack of respect from the US smartphone media.
I may be one of the harshest critics of Nokia at times, but that is because I know they can do better and sometimes they frustrate the heck out of me. I can also be one of their biggest cheerleaders and hope that the people of Nokia understand where I am coming from.
Overall, I enjoy being a Nokia fan in the USA and appreciate all of you awesome readers coming here to encourage me when I am down, keeping me honest when I am too enthusiastic, and interacting with me as I continue to pursue my passion and spread the word about Nokia smartphones in the USA.