The Nokia N97 and US Carriers: A Realistic Partnership?
Fortune magazine recently reports on the worldwide launch of the Nokia N97, but primarily concentrates on Nokia’s lack of presence in the US market. A definite anomaly: just why can’t the world’s biggest cellphone manufacturer seem to make a dent on America?
You have clear proof of Nokia’s commitment to the US, and grumblings from carriers like AT&T that they’re not willing to play the carrier game.
That, according to Fortune, is a big reason driving Nokia continued loss of market share in the US:
Nokia also refused to cater to American phone companies’ whims. In Europe and Asia, consumers usually buy phones and telephone service separately, so Nokia needs to please only the end user. In the U.S., where phones and service are sold together, carriers want control over the way the phones look and perform. (Another challenge for Nokia is that the dominant wireless standard in North America is CDMA; most Nokia phones are designed to operate on the global standard, GSM.)
Heck, I’m really tempted to lambast the carriers and call them out for wanting to keep their control over the cellphone market in the US. But the fact is that US consumers would rather lock themselves into a two-year plan than pay for a phone outright. That’s a fact that Nokia should start accepting, because it may call for a more accommodating relationship with the carriers.
Ot, alternatively, the Finnish manufacturer should start reconsidering its plans. But whether they like it or not, mobile success in the US may be very important after all:
By lagging in smartphones Nokia isn’t just missing out on sales; it may also be losing the attention of software developers that make cool games and applications for mobile devices, a growing number of which operate in the U.S.
Nokia is reinventing itself yet again as an Internet company, a sort of Yahoo.com for your phone. It is trying to woo application developers to its mobile platform through offices in Silicon Valley and Boston. You’d think it would be tantalizing to write software for the world’s largest mobile platform. But ask developers worldwide to show you their favorite mobile apps, and they’ll probably pull out their iPhones.
(Image from The Smart PDA)