Will the Lumia 920 be enough for Nokia to make a comeback? Here’s a wrap-up of the rough patches leading up to the Nokia Lumia 920 launch.
Ilari Nurmi, vice president of product marketing at Nokia has left the company. The former Nokia executive was responsible for Nokia’s smartphone strategy. With this recent news and the series of gaffes for the Nokia Lumia 920, Nokia’s flagship device, the stakes seem to be against a successful Nokia comeback.
After watching the Nokia Lumia 920’s launch, I could say that I was pretty much impressed by what the Finnish company came up with; the Nokia phones were beautiful as both a personal phone and a business phone to complement my phone service. Given the specs, the Lumia 920 looks like a powerful device, something that I’d be willing to bet my money on in the midst of smartphone wars between Samsung and Apple. My philosophy is simple: the more choices we have, the better. That said, I was banking on a huge Nokia comeback with the new breed of Lumia phones. And Nokia didn’t disappoint me during the product demo last September in New York. It was unfortunate that Nokia hit some very rough patches before their new phones could even be released.
The PureView Controversy
Last month, Nokia apologized for misleading promotional photos and videos that attempted to demonstrate the power of the Lumia 920’s optical image stabilization (OIS) technology. The Lumia’s PureView camera is a highly touted feature, one of the enticements that the company is hoping would draw consumers to switch to Lumia phones.
However, just hours after the Lumia was demonstrated in New York, the tech blog The Verge questioned Nokia’s video advertisement that would supposedly show the camera’s prowess. Nokia apologized for the confusion in a blog post entitled “An Apology is Due,” saying that the video was never meant to give the impression that the shots were taken using the Lumia 920. Instead, they claimed that they only meant to demonstrate what image-stabilization technology can achieve. In the post, Nokia says it “should have posted a disclaimer stating this was a representation of OIS only.”
To its credit, Nokia soon released a new video showing that the Lumia’s OIS technology really works. However, the damage had already been done. The blunder called into question Nokia’s marketing tactics at a very inopportune time, just when the company is making a push to be a serious player in the smartphone market and challenging Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android handsets.
Windows 8 – Nokia’s achilles’ heel?
Over on CNNMoney’s tech news, Michal Lev-Ram calls Nokia ally Microsoft its “potential Achilles’ Heel.” The partnership with Microsoft means that Nokia gets special treatment from Microsoft and earns them quarterly “platform support” payments starting at $250 million in Q4 of 2011. It also means that Nokia will have to build smartphones with only one platform in mind. However, Microsoft’s following is dismal compared to Google and Apple; it only has 3.6% smartphone market share as of July 2012. Even with Blackberry death pronouncements, RIM has an even bigger market share at 9.5%. Plus, Nokia has other Windows 8 phone competitors to worry about; both Samsung and HTC have announced their own Windows Phone 8 devices.
Locked to AT&T
Meanwhile on other news, AT&T recently announced that it will offer the Lumia 920 and the mid-tier Lumia 820 in November. Surprisingly, the Lumia 920 will also be exclusive to AT&T. As expected, consumers who were looking forward to getting their hands on the Lumia 920 are not too happy with this announcement. The Lumia is no doubt a fantastic device, but with Samsung and Apple opening up to carriers and making record sales and with Nokia lagging behind, Nokia should have moved past all the exclusivity and made the device available to more carriers. No doubt, the Lumia 920 stands to receive tough competition from other Windows phones. HTC, for instance, had announced that its Windows Phone 8X and 8S smartphones are slated for a November release and will be available not only on AT&T, but on T-Mobile and Verizon as well.
Out of all these rough patches, AT&T exclusivity strikes me as the most detrimental to a Nokia comeback. While the Windows 8 mobile OS still remains to be fully unveiled, there are those who are already excited about integration with other windows devices and who couldn’t care less about downloading a barrage of apps on their smartphones. Nokia still has hopes of making a comeback, given the specs and design of the new Lumia phones. Now, we just have to await the results come preorder and actual sales periods. Do you think that the company will be able to tough this situation out and return to its former glory days?