Where is the respect for Nokia in the US?

Where is the respect for Nokia in the US?As I plan my trip to Nokia World next month I have continued thinking about Nokia and finally posted an article on ZDNet that I have been thinking about for a few months. I write this Nokia Experts site so of course I am a fan of Nokia and their devices or I wouldn’t spend hours writing here for free. I try to give you my honest take on things and am both positive and negative here and in my other writing. However, it seems to me that the media and smartphone enthusiasts in the US are unfairly slamming Nokia when other smartphone operating sytems get by with more. Am I being overly sensitive or do you too feel that Nokia doesn’t get the respect it deserves in the US?

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29 Comments to Where is the respect for Nokia in the US?

CraigM
August 18, 2010

While Nokia hardware is good, today’s phones are about the software and the apps. The Nokia app store is falling behind and it’s making life difficult for those of us trying to wave the flag.

I use a 2nd tier cellular provider and can’t even buy an app from the store. There is no way for me to enter a credit card, use PayPal or anything. I’m stuck downloading free apps or stuff I can buy somewhere else.

Yes, Nokia isn’t getting much respect in the US. They are falling behind.

Al
August 18, 2010

Matt,

The problem lies in the face that Nokia have only made minor changes to the Symbian OS Interface. They are pairing an old OS, with Hardware that is beyond the OS’s capability. Not only that but the processors are underpowered, there is not enough physical RAM, and there are too many bugs to count. Until they release a new Operating system to power these flagship devices then iPhone and Android will continue to dominate the market place. Android is not only eating into the “Superphone” market but also the low end, where Nokia is currently king. I love nokia’s hardware, but the software needs a major overhaul, in fact starting from scratch might be better. The Nokia N8 will be a flop. I had the N97, from day one, and I was not happy… the E71 is still a fantastic device, but once again, antiquated OS. RIM learned… Nokia…” are you listening?

I currently own an iPhone 3Gs, but would really like to move to a phone with a physical keyboard. Nokia… build a better OS, and keep on improving with your designs, and I will buy another phone. If not the next generation of Android powered devices are looking mighty fine. Or iPhone 5?

Ben
August 18, 2010

Very simple. Nokia is not focusing on the US market. There are bigger fishes to fry. Yeah, Nokia will tell you the US market is important to them, or it is critical for them if you ask them. But the truth is, they are focusing more on the Asia (China, southeast Asia, India) because that’s where the growth is.

Have you seen any ads or marketing efforts from Nokia in the US? I would venture to guess the answer is No. I remember seeing ads from Apple, Google, HTC, and even RIM. Not one from Nokia. Nada. Good luck.

BTW, I used a Nokia E71x and run the blog, http://www.e71xapps.com.

Tom
August 18, 2010

While the world moved to Facebook and Twitter, Nokia answered with Ovi, which doesn’t seem to have any US focus. By the time Nokia got a clue, they announced the multiple-OS musical chairs. Who wants to buy a phone knowing the vendor has already planned to kill it? That might have worked before users expected firmware upgrades. I’ve had and loved many Nokia phones, but it’s time to sit back and try something else for a while.

almady
August 18, 2010

Nokia will force the American market and the world to respect them again after finishing with the “Meego” project. Nokia Management team are smart enough and I can see this clearly from their strategic projects, and resents brilliant acquisitions and tight alliance.

The future is for Nokia Matthew Miller and not for the smart phones only. Just wait and see what will happen in “2012”

Cheers

JM
August 18, 2010

In the US Nokia is the “free phone brand.” That’s pretty much all they’re known for here. I could show people my E71, E72, or E73 (I don’t still have all of them) and they would ask me if it was a BlackBerry. Yes, they clearly say Nokia on the front, but people will still ask the question. They ask because Nokia has no real presence aside from their low-end phones. Usually, their unlocked phones are only AT&T compatible. They build the same phone repeatedly. The E71/E72/E73…come on Nokia, they’re certainly nice but it is time to move on.

Basically, people like things that are shiny, flashy, popular, appear expensive, and they do not want to have to actually pay for them if they can avoid it. Nokia phones are usually not shiny, flashy, popular, and don’t have the marketing push that makes people feel they’re exclusive even if the pricing isn’t prohibitive.

Apple’s iPhone has all of that. Even when it doesn’t work people want to have it. They want to be the person with the iPhone. Part of it is marketing, but part of it is that the phone is just a great smartphone, and people are willing to live with its shortcomings due to that. Android phones have all of that as well. Big flashy screens that make the phones look expensive, and the sometimes are, great marketing, and they are popular because of this as well as having a great OS.

Looking back, the N95 was a bulky phone, with an old-feeling interface even back then and battery life that wasn’t so impressive. No keyboard, no touchscreen, and it is big. The N96 is a prettier version of the same thing. The N97 might has well have had no keyboard. They should have asked for Apple, HTC, Motorola, ANYONE to help them make a touchscreen, and once again it is kind of bulky. The N97 mini is just a refresh of something that didn’t work but a better version of it. The E71/E72/E73 have a pitifully low resolution screen, a keyboard that cannot keep up when I type quickly, a front facing camera that doesn’t seem to work with anything, an email interface that takes me back 6 years, and is always shutting down the browser or some other application suddenly due to a supposed lack of memory.

Heck, even a guy who loves Nokia’s hardware has to give up at some point.

rusty
August 18, 2010

Can you give me on reason why I would buy a Nokia instead of an Iphone or Android device? One valid reason?

Andrew
August 18, 2010

RIM has great email and messaging capabilities, iOS/Android have great web browsing and applications and better email solutions than most Nokia devices. Thanks to carrier subsidies they are all generally cheaper.

sowande1.0
August 18, 2010

Where IS the love?

Since 2008, I’ve gone from N95->iPhone->N95->G1->N95 and finally to N900. It’s funny that with all of these mystical operating systems, I keep coming back to Nokia, but I think that it’s because I demand more from my phone. My main, well my ONLY N95 gripe was the interface, but the interface was de minimis when it came to what the phone could DO, and still does!

That’s not to say that it’s been a plug and play journey. I’ve had to put in work but not much in hindsight.

I just don’t think that mainstream America is really into putting that much effort into a phone. We have shifted so far into being spoon-fed that our demands are now shaped by others.

Nokia has remained very good at keeping their devices as open as possible, but that just doesn’t fit in with our American capitalism model so they can’t really compete here. Because the devices are so open, they are placed on the market so as to say, “here’s a blank notebook and a pen, create your story.” Well, instead of picking up that pen and going to town, people are kind of lazy and just want to read someone else’s story.

Well, that’s not for me. I like that Nokia allows me to create my own mobile experience, but that comes at a cost. A smaller high-end device consumer base means higher prices. But, on the other hand if the phone is going to last for several years (instead of 6 months like the iPhone, or 1 month like android), then it’s worth the investment.

Jouten
August 18, 2010

I am considering buying an E5 or E72 or maybe even a C6 or N8. I use my iPod for most of my portable multimedia consumption so a phone with really good texting/messaging features will be important to me. I have gotten pretty decent at typing with android software qwerty, but my screen gets so greasy that I can barely see what I’m typing sometimes. Especially in daylight or very well lit room. I love Nokia’s hardware and I personally like the customization options with THEMES to the UI that I can slap on whenever I want. I can’t even do that with iPod or Android. All I can do with iOS or Android is change the freaking background. So yeah, I don’t get all the ‘hate’ that Nokia is getting regarding Symbian. I think Symbian is a very customizable OS and I think that we (US Peeps) are just spoiled rotten and lazy and just go with the flow (we call them ‘dead fish’ here in Alaska). I do wish that Ovi would pick up the pace with available apps and functionality though. Other than that, I will consider every Nokia option first before buying another Android phone.

cam
August 18, 2010

nokia makes beautiful phones that are great for calling and are feature rich for years to come, people in the us are vain, point they like what everyone has, droid this iphone that, touch screen this…my point is if more people had nokias they’d be through the roof, real phone users buy nokia or blackberry…also nokia does not market in the us.

btw own an iphone, nokia n85 and a blackberry pearl, nokia is elegant and slips right into my pocket…the only thing i would like is the instaboot that the pearl has, instead of two hands reaching each other …pearl when u hit power, two secs and your at your menu

Alex
August 19, 2010

“Can you give me on reason why I would buy a Nokia instead of an Iphone or Android device? One valid reason?”

Exactly. I can’t think of any reasons at all. 5 years ago, I could have thought of a few but not any more. I honestly think Nokia might be done. Meego looks completely uninteresting and uninspiring, and I’m not sure who they think they’re going to attract with that as their next-gen platform. (not to mention it has the worst name in the history of naming things)

Look, Microsoft is very late to the game with Windows Phone 7. So late that it might be too late for them to succeed with it. Which is crazy if you think about it because: WP7 actually looks really nice, and you have Microsoft’s full force behind it. How can Nokia gain any traction at all? Even if they come out with something in the next year that blows everybody away (which I wouldn’t count on), who’s going to buy it? It’s too late, Google, Apple, RIM are already dominant. And whatever scraps are leftover will be swallowed by HP/Palm and maybe Microsoft. I just don’t see Nokia fitting into the picture anywhere.

So to Matthew Miller and other Nokia fans I respectfully ask this: “what has Nokia done to earn my respect as a US smartphone enthusiast”? I’m no fanboy of any platform – I’m a lover of all mobile tech, and yet I just can’t find anything to get excited about with Nokia. I don’t think I’m alone.

Tallbruva
August 19, 2010

@sowande1.0 I understand where you’re coming from. I had an e62 and I absolutely LOVED it. The problem was when I wanted/needed more, Nokia didn’t deliver. The 5800 was laughable. And what’s wrong with reading someone else’s story. George Lucas’ story has had me riveted for the last 40 years :-) But that’s the point. Nokia lets you write your own story but doesn’t let you read what others are writing. That’s why I switched to Android. I don’t know where the G1 lasting 1 month came from. My G1 is still kicking AND it’s running Froyo (thanks to Cyanogen), something it’s not supposed to be able to do. But that’s because Android is open; Nokia was/is not and is also why they started the Symbian Foundation. Not until Symbian^4 is released on a device will it be truly open. I like where Symbian is going with ^5. The problem is that it’s not there yet. And until they provide devices in the US that are both attractive in form (functionally Nokia hardware has always been beyond good) AND a good UI along with others “stories” (read easy to access apps), Nokia will continue to be a non-factor in the US. And let’s not forget, the best-selling Android device is the Samsung Galaxy S. It’s being sold around the planet as-is save the form factor changes by AT$T and Sprint. Beyond that, the same phone is selling extremely well. Why doesn’t Nokia see this model works instead of giving us sloppy leftovers while the rest of the planet gets good stuff? Why can’t we all get the same thing like Samsung is proving?

Stoli89
August 19, 2010

I’ve read in these comments that Nokia’s Symbian OS is old and tired. I really think the average consumer has no understanding of the difference between an Operating System and a User Interface. The touch-mania successfully created with the Apple iPhone surely caught Nokia’s s60 User Interface flatfooted, but this is not the Symbian OS. The challenge with Symbian was never its scale-ability, capability, flexibility. It has been the ease for developers to create apps for it. Nokia took 2 years to change this with the acquisition and then total open sourcing of the Symbian OS. The new Symbian foundation has in this time adapted Symbian to a much richer and easier platform upon which developers can create apps. Note, Symbian remains a very deep OS that still offers functionalities even Android 2.2 still looks to third party apps to accomplish. Nokia, in parallel has acquired Qt, a developer framework and toolkit that scales precious development resources seamlessly across Symbian AND Meego. In parallel, the OVI ecosystem has been launched and refined, including its worldwide and totally free voice navigation and maps solution. Nokia left the hi end market over the past 12 months to get its ducks in a row, but its smartphone portfolio is quite deep and exerts tremendous leverage worldwide and across very competitive price points (with the exception of the subsidized US market). The N97 was a mistake IMHO and cost Nokia, but the 5800XM remains a capable device that has advanced over 12 firmware updates since its inception. This little phone may have the S60 touch interface, but it delivers excellent value and performance, even today (i.e.: battery life, call quality, camera, podcasting, free navigation, video calling, OVI mail, web browsing). I would not underestimate Nokia’s commitment to retaking its place as a leader in the hi end smartphone arena (e.g.: N8, N9, E7, C7, X7) nor its commitment to providing a competitive ecosystem with integrated services (OVI mail, contacts, music, maps, calendar, share, etc.). The big bet is not on Nokia’s ability to create top notch hardware; it’s whether it can execute on its strategy well over the next 4 quarters by further integrating its services within the OVI ecosystem and leveraging the Qt development framework to grow its app store rapidly. Given the lucrative framework along with improved tools available for developers, the existing and significant marketshare makes for a compelling opportunity and I suspect rapid app store growth will result. Outside of the USA, Nokia is already well advanced in payment services, near field, and a variety of other next gen capabilities. It knows that form should complement function and how to make good antennas, too.

Kips
August 20, 2010

Alex
That makes no sense.
If we would think like that Android and Iphone OS should have any change against Nokia and Symbian.

Nokia rules Europe and Asia. WM has always been small player at best gathering 16% of worlds market and only in North America. They got huge marketing to be done to even get people interested about the whole OS.

Anyways i own Desire currently and looking at coming back to Nokia finally. They finally seem to be getting things together.

Dumbass Yankees
August 20, 2010

The yankee market is a market on its own. It is totally diff from the rest of the world, whats new right? See, in the rest of the world, we don’t care if we have that mcdonalds app to order from home, or if we can watch movies on a 3 inch screen, but americans are, sorry to say this but its true, total morons when it comes to cellphones (and not only that) and that is why they dislike nokias but spend loads of money for the iphone for example. Go anywhere else in the world, Nokia rules and the people who buy the other platforms and phones buy them for phone related uses, not bs kiddy crap apps. Truth!

tims
August 22, 2010

I’m an American and can appreciate fine design, fit and finish. Tried the X6 what a stupid design. Not enough room on screen to reply to a message and see any context. Returned it.

Trying the n900. This is a cool phone.. too bad Maemo is not going further. I love everything about this phone except some rocket scientist at Nokia decided to implement the MfE app with no provisioning WTF?

I can’t use this phone to connect to my companies exchange servers. Remote wiping of a mobile device is a legitimate security concern. Nokia dropped the ball here… and has pretty much admitted that no more updates (software) will come out for this device.

Still love it for the OS (linux based Maemo) and the wealth of openness. When the price drops, I’ll probably pick up a spare. 3.5G on T-Mo here in the us. 3G in Phx is 6Mb down and 2.25Mb up!? 3.5G is faster.

Dave Lindberg
August 24, 2010

@Andrew on August 18, 2010… How is Android better for email? I have a Gmail acct but also have POP3 accts too. While Gmail app is great, no other app can just download the last days worth of email easily.

@sowande1.0 on August 18, 2010… Well said.

D
August 24, 2010

The reason I use to buy nokia phones is that every model used the same charger and no matter where u went someone had a charger. Every model has a different charger and they benefit is long gone. Which is why after years of buying Nokia i switched. Why do they keep changing their chargers? it cant be all about size as i have 2 nokias which both are the same size but have different chargers?

Giorgos
August 25, 2010

i like this website. comments come from serious people, they are structured and express an opinion.

Alex
August 27, 2010

@Kips
Sure, Nokia has always dominated everywhere but the US. But guess what, they’re market share is declining. Rapidly. Their market share numbers were meaninful 3 or 4 years ago, but since then they’ve been in nose-dive mode. They’re quickly becoming irrelevant due to Android and iPhone. Nokia’s always made nice hardware, but for pete’s sake they need to dump meego already and just use Android. I know they’d never do it, but frankly I don’t see any other choice for them that will allow them to stay in the game.

Alex
August 27, 2010

“The yankee market is a market on its own. It is totally diff from the rest of the world… …americans are, sorry to say this but its true, total morons when it comes to cellphones (and not only that) and that is why they dislike nokias but spend loads of money for the iphone for example. Go anywhere else in the world, Nokia rules and the people who buy the other platforms and phones buy them for phone related uses, not bs kiddy **** apps. Truth!”

Wow, what an ignorant post for someone who’s criticizing others for being morons. Android is exploding worldwide, and the iPhone is every bit a high-end and sought-after device in Europe as it is in the US. Both are American products. Nokia is losing market share rapidly. Thanks for playing though!

axiomseekr
September 2, 2010

Nokia needs to step up and step up big. IOS, Android and Blackberry are eating up their market share in every part of the world, this is a proven fact. In the US Nokia has not been able to get a foothold of the smartphone market and Samsung kills it in the feature phone area too. Even in developing countries it’s a matter of time when affordable Android devices will munch on Nokia’s share. Nokia keeps developing world class hardware with inferior software that leaves much to be desired. I do agree with a lot of you here. Why should I buy an N8 over a Samsung Galaxy S, an IPhone or even a Palm Pre? Why spend almost $600 on a phone who’s software infrastructure is not growing at the rapid pace of IOS or Android? With the launch of WMPhone 7 just around the corner and the $500 million that Microsoft will pump in advertising behind it, what share will there be left for Nokia to conquer in the US? I would love to see a real effort in the US by Nokia in terms of a whole revamp of their strategy. If Motorola came back from the ashes with the Droid why can’t Nokia pull this off? It’s time to put a serious phone with Meego platform or go Android. Partner with one of the top 3 providers to offer a solid subsidized option and great marketing, and build a robust app marketplace that fosters growth and momentum. Remember not long ago, Palm Treos and Windows mobile phones ruled the market, things change fast and only those who adapt will remain. For Nokia it’s make or break going forward…

Ilikegravity
September 3, 2010

Worldwide, for all offerings in every segment of the market, Nokia still does well. Nokia Hardware lasts forever and function as well as if they were fresh out of the box. From dumphones to smartphones I think they can offer the consumer a lot more and for less than what you can get with the competition. I mean I know there is an app for everything on Android or Iphone but for on Symbian a lot of the functionality is built in all the way down to low end and always has been. The north american market just requires a lot more education on Nokia phones especially at the high end. NA is familiar with nokia in the low end and dominates that area in my opinion. Take a look at the X3, if that is nokia’s update to the standard candybar phone then it’s a great value for the low end and a slow introduction to touchscreens for the older generation. Nokia just needs to spend more on MARKETING. I mean Ovi maps alone is a great selling point but nobody in the US knows that ovimaps is free and gives you voice guided navigation.

Nokia will never dump Symbian or meego especially for android. As open as android is it’s still owned by Google and will not hand over the reigns of their business to another company. That’s crazy talk and their partnership with Intel will ensure integration of meego devices with meego handsets.

@axiomseeker why does the software infrastructure have to grow for you to buy a phone. I thought they where for making calls, a function that all nokia’s do well. You’ll buy an N8 if you want a phone with 5 bands that will be compatible with every carrier in the world. Also if you like camera phones. If you want to be able to use your maps without having to pull info from the net. Also if you want to be able to share your media to the tv with the hdmi out. It was never meant to compete at the ultra high end. I think their strategy with cross platform development with QT was smart and will pay dividends in time. All it needs in the US is more aggressive marketing. If your looking for a Serious phone I would wait for the N9 since the meego devices will be Nokias ultra high end device.

I’m pretty excited about what Nokia plans to do with meego and all the different symbian variations. I just hope they market it enough so that it’s not so obscure a brand in North America.

OmnyMisa
September 3, 2010

Looking from out side here in the Central America Caribbean the frame in the USA seems to go like this: USA customers are strong pushed by SP (Service Providers) to get into IOS or Android just because they can control more the benefits those devices offer to the end user end in that process more ways to charge their wallets. How? advertisement and the press, they are right about outdated look of the Nokia UI experience but they do omit Nokia advantages the more they can and at certain poit the customer just remember the bad things about the brand’s devices. At least is how it looks from outside, my opinion.

A.B.NOY
September 9, 2010

US media/blogs are biased. Yep, Nokia sux in some aspects but whatever good the have, the media doesn’t mention. Lol.

Yeah, like deleting the comment which mentions the Sports tracker on Engadget. Pretty cool, huh?

Amy
October 26, 2011

Thank you! USA customers are strong pushed by SP (Service Providers) to get into IOS or Android just because they can control more the benefits those devices offer to the end user end in that process more ways to charge their wallets.

Dan
November 1, 2011

I happen to like Nokia and the majority of their products. IMO there advertising has been lacking for a while now, you just do not hear or see them very much. Not much visability


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