How Nokia can retake the US Market… and more

I’ve recently chastised Nokia for various failures, some broad and some specific, and I also promised to get out of the negativity rut and start proposing solutions.  So brace yourselves; the ride begins and (inspired by Tomi Ahonen) it’s a long one.

First though for the sake of those who don’t know me: I was a product developer, technician and change management guy who Nokia hired in 2005 to support process improvement activities under the auspices of Quality Assurance in the former US Alliance factory. When the factory closed I moved to a brief stint trying to bring the lessons learned into all American factories, and from there to a global role as logistics business analyst and application specialist.  Even though my last position was eliminated and I fell out of Nokia in 2009, the time spent in various roles helped me get a big picture understanding of Nokia’s challenges, particularly in respect to struggles in the US.  I think it helped that I brought in an outsider’s view– prior to Nokia, I had never even used cell phones!  (for you Nokia employees, I had an internal blog called The Long Tail.

With that out of the way, I want to share my perspective on how Nokia could improve its prospects here, for whatever it’s worth.  Few of these ideas are new or original, but they all represent thoughts with which I am in agreement and consolidate some of my scattered-but-related thoughts. 

Presence and Mindshare

I hated seeing the US Flagship store closure announcement, but IF it’s being done to desperately appease carriers I can reluctantly understand.  Nokia has been break-dancing on a very fine line between giving customers features-plus-freedom and getting product accepted by cellular service providers.

But above anything else Nokia needs to decide who its customers are, and target them appropriately.  I have some ideas there, so…

Suggestions:
Your customers are for the most part not the same as Apple’s.  They’re currently Android’s.  And RIM’s.  And Microsoft’s.  Et al.  They’re people looking for more than Apple wants to offer (see below).  Most of them don’t want their hands held, they just want an effective safety net when something breaks.  So get to know these people better.  You’ll find that many are fairly self-sufficient and proudly so.  They’re either technically competent or are willing to become so.  You won’t find them at wine-tasting parties but rather at comics conventions, sporting events and theaters showing action movies.  You won’t win them over with “I’m a Mac” type commercials, but cat-herding videos will find resonance.

You also need to rethink the abandonment of Nokia Theatres.  What were you thinking when you let Verizon have the one near Dallas?  Clearly self-defeating.  Your brand is already a distant memory here– why would you deliberately make that worse?  Undo it.  Start applying the Nokia logo far and wide.

And let’s not forget my personal favorite: community outreach.  Limiting it to virtual and/or European venues doesn’t cut it.  You need global-plus-regional presence.  For the US, that’s New York, California and Texas for starters.  Your offices in White Plains, San Diego and San Francisco will suffice for the first two states, but you really need to beef up Dallas (actually Irving) and start hosting some events!  Mobilize a geek army; the foot soldiers are already waiting impatiently.

Selling Yourself

I have just one thing to say.

Suggestion:
Do It.  Better.  Effectively.  There are plenty of advertising firms who can help.  Hire whoever came up with the previously mentioned cat-herding video.  And quit thinking that listing lengthy feature sets by a product photo does the trick.  Follow Apple’s lead on just this one thing– simply tell customers what your product DOES, not what it can (or might) do.

Product Stratification

Now that Nokia has their latest reorganization out of the way, it’s time to look at product definition.

Nokia has been trying to figure out how to align and present its various mobile device types for some time.  For the most part the N Series + E Series + All Else model works… or should.  There’s just one drawback, at least in the US.

Nokia was so successful selling into the low end here for so long that the name became synonymous with “good and cheap”.  Nokia phones were sturdy but unexciting little things, especially when sealed up in plastic retail packaging and hung on a grocery store end cap.

As a newbie to the cellular world I was impressed when I joined Nokia’s workforce and discovered the higher end.  The E70 alone had so much potential with the youth crowd, I became an after-hours salesman for that and other upper echelon devices.  But to my disappointment, I found that many of the E and N Series devices weren’t fit for the US market.  Some lacked the all-important AT&T bands (something I never understood in an expensive device) and all were out of scope for the average American without subsidy.  When eBay is your only retail face for key products, something might be amiss.

Suggestions:
First, resurrect the E70 with some modernization.  Are you nuts, Nokia?  Even eternal curmudgeon Maddox praises the thing (passionate language warning)!  Over the iPhone!  The device was a teen texting sensation with those who knew about it (my niece wore the numbers off of hers and still loved it).

Beyond that, create some sort of distinct differentiation between the entry level and upper tiers.  Just one line will do the trick– one that makes the low end obvious.  “EntryPhone by Nokia”… with Nokia in smaller type.  Just enough difference to segregate the levels but link them.  Think Vertu here.  Hire the right marketing agency, and maybe they can come up with other ideas.

And while you’re at it, pull your platforming up a level.  Fewer core SKUs, more surface customizations.  You’re killing yourself managing unnecessary hardware configurations.  All you need are three or four engines per year supported by high firmware configurability and a lot of cool industrial design wrapped around them.  Translate lessons learned from E Series design across the company.  It’ll work.

Process

Many pundits moan that Nokia is too late to market with novel products.  Oh if they only knew what went on inside to cause that.

I’m not the sort of disgruntled ex-employee to divulge secret sauce or even the unsavory stuff.  So this advice will be oblique to the world but understandable by Nokians:

Suggestion:
Change your development incentive model if you haven’t already.  It isn’t working.  It encourages rush jobs that force embarassing defects down to the poor souls in the factories to excuse.  I say excuse, because they sure can’t fix them.  It’s too late.

Novel Execution

I’ve said before that Nokia gets in its own way.  For many companies that would be self-destructive.  Nokia however is blessed with resources and momentum that have kept it, so far, plowing through the barriers it self-erects.

But the past two years show the momentum to be slowing.  Nokia needs to scare its bureaucracy into agility.

I’m not the first to say “it’s all about execution” so I won’t belabor the point.  I only have one thought on it.

Suggestion:
Solve the subsidy problem for US consumers.  How?  By financing your own devices… maybe even at zero interest.  Consider: let the carriers have the E71x and any other stripped-down model they want.  Then offer the unlocked, full-featured version direct to end users at a slightly higher price, with you toting the note and allowing small payments.  If people fall behind, disable the device until they catch up.  There’s a cool way to execute.  Try it.  We’ll like it.

Usability

Apple is successful at carving out and cultivating the 10% to 20% of a consumer electronics market populated by a very specific demographic, characterized by customers wanting immediate gratification in both style and service.  For the most part customers don’t want to configure, much less code: they are asking for a provider to read their minds upfront and deliver a fitting solution.

Apple does this… and very well for their select clientele.

But that leaves 80% or so of the population that doesn’t fit into Apple’s boxes.  Many in that remaining set want more control over their experience than Apple allows.  Rich feature sets, easy access to deep configurations and high transparency are enablers of their satisfaction.

Nokia has long excelled in the feature set category.  The other two are debatable.  Sure, Symbian and Maemo both support high configurability but what’s been missing are contextual cues to guide the user into utilizing them.  Too often the Help function is no help.

Suggestion:
Nokia can improve this by enriching the experience.  Accomodate superusers with high configurability, but cater to new and moderate users by offering in-line explanations and examples of functionality.  The latter could even trespass into hallowed iPhone territory, especially if the out-of-the-box experience is improved as well.

This is another need for migrating low end device users up to mobile computers.  (note: there is a meta-project in place to support this for MeeGo)

Make Openness Work

Nokia did the right thing by first releasing Symbian to the open source world and second by making MeeGo its focus at the high end.  There’s no profit in mobile device operating systems and an open source approach can reap huge dividends.

But Nokia still has a problem with candor toward customers.  As a twice-elected council representative for maemo.org, I had a responsibility to act as interface between Nokia and the developer/superuser community.  The benefit to Nokia is a reduced noise level; my four fellows and I acted as both buffer and conduit to focus the issues.  So it was disappointing when I identified a problem with micro USB connectors detaching from the N900 and the communications were mostly one-way.

Then there was what’s become known as the “cherry bomb” debacle.  You slipped it into the N900 PR1.2 update, forcing users to send an SMS to MyNokia at their expense with no way of opting out.  When challenged by our council, your legal team fell back on lame, defensive boilerplate in response.  Not helpful.

Suggestion:
Nokia, when you have people acting as voluntary community representatives, take advantage of them!  Talk to us.  I don’t mean just through community managers (although Quim Gil has been exceptional in the role), but directly.  Especially when the issue is as catastrophic as a hardware failure or betrayal of user trust.

The Internal Army

I get the feeling sometimes that Nokia overlooks its main asset: passionate, educated, motivated people.  Hiring processes work very well there as far as I’ve seen, but effective retention fails.  Nokia is too quick to layoff employees who can often very easily be reallocated.  I say this broadly and anecdotally but based on what I’ve seen I’m betting Nokia can verfiy this with some HR data analysis.  Just check how often employees have been released only to be hired back (or at least re-approached) later into different positions.  I don’t think the numbers are insignificant.  Combine them with a count of ex-employees who have been snapped up by direct competitors (if practical) and you’ll see where you could do better with personnel decisions.  No excuses either– there are plenty of great people in the US and elsewhere who have been released to the wild through no fault of their own.

Suggestion:
Nokia needs to follow the Google recruitment model– reach out to the best and brightest and keep them at all costs.  Quit worrying so much about salaries and degrees, and concern yourselves more with skill, experience, social network reach and bang-for-the-buck.  Steal strategic people from direct competitors, not just personnel in the right roles.

Rational Response and Resolution

Nokia’s worst enemy is Nokia.  The company has a distressing tendency to get in its own way.  It’s too large to be very agile… but that’s not completely insurmountable.

The recent restructuring looks like the right form for the company, but it’s the little things that kill agility and hence success.  Just one example: my experience from the inside AND out is that while Nokia does forward logistics exceptionally well, it’s been doing poorly at the reverse.  I lay the large part of the blame on its outsourcing model.  Those handling customer claims have no real stake in the issues and are too often disconnected from the rest of operations.  Escalation for frustrated customers means moving slowly up the chain of command (if at all) and encountering obstacles along the way.  I recall internal meetings designed to address declining customer retention and this failure was brought up as serious.  That was four years ago… and it’s still a problem.

Suggestion:
Nokia needs to quit arguing with disenchanted customers.  That costs money and destroys goodwill.  It’s much more sensible overall to lean more toward “no questions asked and we will address promptly” than the antagonistic and too-common “prove you have a genuine problem and maybe we’ll look into it for a couple of months”.  Escalation needs to skip immediately and completely past any outsourced service center and straight to the heart of Nokia operations where the pain is felt and thus incentive to promptly and properly act is high.  It would also help if Nokia stopped being so dismissive of individual purchasers; each single voice carries a lot of influence, good and bad.  You’re not just disenfranchising one disappointed customer, you’re killing business with their entire social circle.  Not smart.

Summary

Why is the US market important?  As I’ve said before, I believe that’s the case because as a mature and complex market, the United States shows what can happen once lesser-developed regions are saturated by low end goods and their citizens begin demanding access to those more advanced.  There’s not much preventing other nations from mutating into carrier-driven virtual monopolies and stifling true competition.  Any company that can succeed in the US can succeed almost anywhere.

For Nokia, that means some serious self-examination.  Pride and complacency have gotten in the way of much-needed corporate soul-searching.  Anssi Vanjoki mentions the company as a challenger now, and that’s precisely the proper mindset for recovery.  That will lead to finding the right identity, a critical step to success.

These suggestions are all based on common sense and proven principles.  No surprises in the list above.  Every one should find a welcome reception.

But more than that, Nokia executives need to cut through the thick middle layer and solicit honest feedback from the beleagured troops.  I think there are more roadblocks in the middle than at either end.  Actively listening to the blogging community would be helpful as well– especially if we’re asked to be involved in solution brainstorming.  Time to start Connecting People!

The way I see it, there’s really no reason to replace current CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo IF he can completely regain investor, customer and employee confidence.  But can he do that quickly enough?

best regards,

Randall Arnold

31 responses to “How Nokia can retake the US Market… and more

  1. Some thoroughly thought out thoughts up in here, well said all around! I can’t think of one thing to add nor one thing to say different.

    The post itself, to me, comes off as very informal, very down to earth and exactly the kind of reading that Nokia, from TOP to BOTTOM, needs to read.

    I work for a company where I can walk into the CEO’s office and discuss any issues with her directly. I’m a Customer Service Representative. I have one direct boss and then one more above him before hitting the CEO, so it is fairly small.

    But just the idea, of knowing that I can (and have, with great success) walked in and spoken directly with the CEO about an issue is an uplifting feeling. It tells me that I can make a difference at my company. I don’t need to be there just for the paycheck!

    So, Nokia…as suggested near the end of this post, Connect People – Your own! :)

    • It was actually surprisingly easy to skip up levels at Nokia– I think it’s time the skipping went the other way though. ;)

      • Wish I could edit my comment. :) I didn’t mean communication needs to improve bottom TO top, which it does, I just meant that every single person from the CEO to the janitor’s janitor assistant, needs to read this!

    • I like your twitter suggestion regarding LightSquared. If Nokia actually did lease from the 4G network, it wouldn’t need carriers at all. Maybe this is where the relationship with Nokia Siemens Networks pays off…

      • It is a VERY interesting thought to have running around your head, isn’t it? :)

        I know when I read the news and my brain made that logical leap, I almost wished I prayed, because that would be an outcome of which even APPLE would be envious!

        The downer in me though, questions if Nokia would have the software, services and polish smarts to successfully make it work? We know they have the money and the manpower, but I think all of the places they are failing most at the moment, are the places that they would need to be shining their brightest in for something like that to succeed!

      • Well, I remember thinking of Motorola’s failed Iridium satellite venture a few years ago and wondering if it was time yet for someone else like Nokia to give that a shot. Maybe LightSquared is an even better idea, given its model.

  2. I read 2 wonderful and very informative posts almost back-to-back. One Tomi’s and next yours, Texrat.

    I liked your idea of Nokia adapting self-financing its phones. That would be great but again it brings its own problems. We are not in a fair world.

    For the most of it, you were bang on and I agree with what you are said except this one.

    “Any company that can succeed in the US can succeed almost anywhere.”

    NOT at all TRUE. You just need to “pay” the right persons/bloggers in the US to be successful. And this I think is totally against Nokia’s style. The fact is that most of the well read bloggers/news agenices/analysts are from the US and they tend to write only things what they know (basically half-knowledge). For them smartphone is a new thing and they religiously fall into Apple’s PR trap. You really can’t blame them here though. Apple’s PR stunts are that amazing.
    For example, Engadget, the most read blog in the world rates the current iphone 9/10 even after knowing that it has call receptions issues.

    What I think Nokia should do is:
    1. Hire the best PR and the ad agency guys.
    2. Make a showman your CEO. Or ask a showman to launch your product. I prefer the second one.

    As already noted by Tomi, OPK has done really good in these tough times and so he should be spared the axe. But again, the current trend in the markets has been that changing your CEO boosts investors confidence. Sad, but true.

    Also one more thing people tend to forget is that, the smartphone thing is not here to go away quick. It IS here and it will be there for a foreseeable future. It’s a long term vision that is needed and I believe Nokia is having their terms right here with MeeGo for high-end and Symbian for rest and Qt to unify everything. Isn’t this superb.

    As you already noted down, Nokia is such big that it itself becomes a problem for its growth. Actually, for companies that big, growth is not in %’s. Their real growth is in sustenance where again Nokia has done amazingly well in this super-competitive space.

    The only thing where I see Nokia didn’t do well is by “hiring”, “paying” the right columnists/bloggers/analysts in the US. That’s all. I am sure they have learned this by now and though against their principles, they would be now forced to do this thing too soon. Wait and you will see.

    I am from India. We love Nokia here. Nokia too loves us. The real challenge (according to me) is the flurry of new phone makers in our country. Just in the recent few years, there are around 10+ new phone manufactures (micromax, lava, onida, intel, olive, zen, etc) who have started offering phones at un-imaginable low prices. E72 type business smartphone from Onida (yes, Onida) would cost you around Rs 3500-4000 (roughly $75). And the same from a no-name company with dual-sim will cost you around $55-60. These things if allowed to grow would hit Nokia’s bottom line hard. And trust me, once hit here, it would be real difficult to come back. I think Nokia understands this very well and that’s why you have these new QWERTY’s at a low price point with the “C” series.

    Conclusion (so far):
    For a device to be successful, you should not only have features but you also have to win the press (by any means). Their reviews have become VERY VERY significant for a buyer before he makes his purchase.

    Nokia, work on winning that and you are all there. OPK has done really wonderful by not letting his bottom line hit. And by no means, he should loose his job. Just get one showman to launch your high-end products. It really could be as simple as that.

    Imagine a dual-sim phone from Nokia. And the interesting thing is they have already announced that they will be doing it. Ask Engadget/WSJ guys if they know what that is or what benefits it brings. But they will report that as ground-breaking when Apple does that may be in 2030?

    What would you do if you were the CEO of Nokia? Save your bottom line or woo the ~8% US market? I know both would be great. But if you have to prioritize, then?

    Now, If the inevitable happens and they make me the CEO. Then,
    1. First, I will throw a grand party :))
    2. Keep OPK as CEO for all except the high-end division. If no such divisions are there, create them.
    3. “I repeat”, hire or promote a showman (preferably an American) as CEO for that division.
    4. Don’t interfere in Qt’s vision and MeeGo’s plans.
    5. NSN has really rocked the last week with 2 mega offers. So, keep it going. It will be big and contribute very soon. Think long-term here.
    6. Buy Nokia’s shares now.

    Please excuse me for my novice style. I am not a professional writer :) Also, please continue writing wonderful articles like these. You excel that.

    • vkvraju it was a pleasure to read your reply and I appreciate you taking the time to compose that.

      Just let me defend the “succeed in the US and succeed anywhere”. I can be cynical too but I don’t think outright bribery is a necessity here. Sucking up to the media, sure, but that’s true for any business here.

      But look at RIM. A conservative company that owns the mobile business world but doesn’t get near the press Apple does. I don’t see RIM playing any games– just consistently putting out good products and service. I believe Nokia CAN do likewise without selling any souls.

      Anyway the point was that the US market is so restricted, so slanted toward the carriers, that a company that finds a way to succeed here can do so anywhere. We can debate for days what that “way” is. ;)

      If I were CEO I would recognize that gaining 8% or so of the US would be the same as saving the bottom line, for the reason cited above. I’ll use your insight on India as an example. When we opened Chennai to great success, I heard Nokia managers brag that we owned India and would for some time. But now you point out that Nokia has competition there– something Nokia didn’t seem to count on.

      As the US has gone, so, too, may go India. Someday.

      Anyway we’ll see. It would be nice just to hear more from Nokia on points we bloggers have been making. So far I have one post from Anssi Vanjoki, and that’s it. Email has been sadly silent…

  3. Tomi Ahonen

    Hi Textrat !

    I had shivers down my spine. I immediately Twittered that every Nokia exec has to read this. Wonderful ! THANK YOU ! It can be done…

    Tomi T Ahonen :-) (aka HatRat)

  4. Just an FYI– I know this list isn’t comprehensive. I have a lot to say about Ovi and more about devices. But it got long enough and I’ve already touched on both topics in previous articles.

  5. In the present scenario, mobile devices have become an important element of human life. Stay in touch with people around the world, the phone is the most useful. As an essential function, the mobile phone companies are developing innovative strategies that anyone can these gadgets at affordable prices. The companies have launched many cheap and useful as the phone Deals Pay As You Go, Sim Free and contract plans.

  6. Hi, I got to this post via Meego news and it struck me as very interesting (and very long as well). I would completely agree that in the US, Nokia’s brand means cheap, brick phones. Nokia was making tiny-screened POS phones and hawking them like hot cakes when the RAZR came out and at Nokia’s lunch. When clamshells came to the US, Nokia was nowhere.

    I don’t think people realize how Nokia is a do-nothing brand in the US. The scene in Transformers the movie, where Nokia is attributed to Japan (terrible quality: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4ya4MUNizc) is telling of the brand.

    I must disagree with your assessment of the US Market. Most people here are so ignorant of the mobile market, they don’t know why their Verizon CDMA phone will not work on AT&T’s GSM network. Only in America can Apple announce video calling, and people think Apple invented that crap!

    Nokia has no message here, they have no brand, and they have no outreach. No one buys unlocked phones. Hell, I’m surprised they even put 850/1900MHz HSPA in their phones because no one else does on unlocked models. The European business model does not work here.

    The N93 was the talk of the town when it appeared in the Bourne movies. But it was advertised nowhere. I still believe the N93 & N93i were just ahead of their time. The same body style would sell like hotcakes. If Apple marketed it people would crap themselves trying to get their hands on the iShoot 3G.

    My message to Nokia is simple. You’re not Google, or Apple or MicroSoft or BlackBerry (all North-American companies, I might add). Yes you have no shot because we love hometown heroes. But, you make the best phones on earth. Tie in with someone who knows the software side, and hawk the crap out of those phones. Buy some billboards. Buy Oprah. Your window is closing.

  7. “Tie in with someone who knows the software side, and hawk the crap out of those phones.”

    Nokia fanboys don’t like to hear it and I get flamed consistently (Which is funny, since it’s an OPINION), but Android could fit that quite nicely with a little effort.

    I am halfheartedly working on a blog post concerning that topic, my reasoning and countering a lot of the arguments people have against the idea. I will get around to it eventually, when the N8 is released, ya! :D

    • well, “Nokia fanboys” IS flamebait ;) I’m hoping to keep discussion here out of that trench.

      • Yes, it is if I were specifically labeling someone as such, in this context I am making a very accurate statement from wht conversations I have had. :)

        It’s a VERY wide trench, avoiding it is like trying to avoid the sun when you are outside. One thing or another leads down its slippery slope and the cause can usually be attributed to a misunderstanding or simple mis-communication between each side.

        Or, you know..name calling starts it too sometimes. :P

    • You get flamed because using Android would do very little to help Nokia in its strategy, and likely would just distract them. It would be a temporary, expensive, short term waste of time. I talk about that here:

      http://www.symbian-freak.com/news/010/07/why_symbian_and_meego_are_best_for_nokia_1.htm

      They just need to get Symbian’s UI up to par with Android. Judging from what I’ve seen of the MeeGo UI for Nokia’s devices, I’m confident that will happen. Remember, the UIs of Symbian and MeeGo are made using the same software toolkit. See this video for what I mean:

      • I get flamed because that subset of users doesn’t even want to think outside the box, even in theory and hypothetical situations!

        Like the last half of your first statement, can you explain why you think any of that to be the case, WITHOUT mentioning Symbian and MeeGo unless it’s for reference use?

        In your linked article, you mention Android needing high priced devices to be able to even run smoothly, let me take that point and run with it for a moment with a hypothetical question:

        Assume Nokia took one of their high spec’d devices capable of running Android and did a superb job marrying it with the OS (Which would only be as expensive as they want, considering no royalties to Google for using) and released it in just the United States, unlocked on AT&T/T-Mo or both.

        Also assume, Nokia spent US$10 million (Pulled from thin air, I briefly searched for verifiable figures) on advertising in the United States on their latest and greatest device, say the N8 since it is about that time.

        The question: Which of the above two scenarios would more than likely help increase Nokia presence in the United States?

        I honestly believe, the Android device would, with varying success based on what network it supported.

        Take that $500 device, cut it sale price in half. If they sell even 10k units, what’s lost? US$2.5 million.

        And I think the “lost” money would have a greater impact on their bottom line than some ignored advertising. If they were a known brand in the US, the advertising may get them further..but until they are known like Apple, Microsoft or Google, I feel a short-term, money losing, risky strategy with the sole intent of getting a stronger US presence could be more beneficial than “playing it safe.”

        As always, just an opinion and one of those “What ifs” – Here is another one:

        WHAT IF Apple did this? They could have 10 million 3GS units in a factory somewhere. Figure out a way to load Android on the device without having to re-engineer squat. Can you imagine what that would do to Android, and Google, if successful?

      • I don’t think I could explain that without including Nokia strategy. To not mention MeeGo and Symbian would be like what has already happened in the US market with the carriers’ strict advertising controlling rules tied to their vendor agreements with manufacturers.

        I’ll make a point real quick. If Nokia decided to make a device of ANY OS, they still couldn’t allocate funds to market said device in the US. And they don’t “release” devices to the market. All devices are sold through carriers, and the carriers, not the consumer, is the customer from the manufacturers’ perspective. So Nokia offers ALL its devices to the GSM carriers in the US, but they don’t buy them. Their choice, not ours as consumers, no matter what we want.

        The carriers simply will not allow ANY manufacturer to create advertisments for product on or off deck, subsidized on not, in the US. Only Apple has secured a special permission to do so as part of its profit sharing agreement with at&t. So marketing funds isn’t even part of the equation for any manufacturer but Apple. The rest have no control over image nor their destiny.

        So every ad you see for a smartphone not called an iPhone in the US is carrier produced, and usually features the carrier as the centerpiece. Verizon’s Droid ads are a newfound exception. The carriers control what devices are sold, how they’re marketed, and even how they look and perform in the US.

        We don’t have the HTC Hero here, we have a totally different looking Sprint Hero and Verizon Droid Eris, neither of which look like the Hero known globally. We may see HTC commercials marketing the brand name, but not a single device will be featured in any ads.

        Now Nokia could gain share and presence in the US using Android. However, it would require a large investment of R&D, totally go against their strategy to use cross platform technologies to save costs, and only gain them a paltry part of the global market, maybe under 6%. The chance to gain while profiting would be abysmal.

        Now I find it almost silly to discuss this without mentioning MeeGo and Symbian, so I have to. Nokia, I, and many others believe they already have superior platforms available for smartphones. Its up to the US carriers to allow them access to the market, and its consumers to continue to demand them. That’s a large undertaking when the carriers make you agree to a gag order blocking you from telling anyone about the superior technologies and devices they have.d

  8. I found that many of the E and N Series devices weren’t fit for the US market

    • That’s a fairly wide statement don’t you think!?

      Any device in particular that stands out with your statement in mind (Except the N97, Nokia obviously made a questionable decision which made the device unfit for a LOT of markets, or so the word on the street goes.) that you can elaborate on?

    • “Many”?? Exactly which models? I’ve yet to see a difference of note from any of the Symbian models that prevents it from being suitable for anyone. Care to elaborate?

      I don’t know why people say things aren’t suitable for the US market. The only difference from our market to the global norm is subsidies and everyone else is more advanced.

      Devices still work the same standard way. I think its just a cop out for folks that don’t want to use something unfamiliar to them. If England can use it, the US can too…

      • For me it was models lacking the proper bands for both US use and international travel. Cost was always thrown out as the reason for not making all N-series devices support the necessary bands, but I challenge that. I believe it could have been done at a minimal cost the consumer would not even notice from device to device.

  9. Now Texrat, THAT is one thing I TOTALLY agree with you on. We should have seen quad and pentaband devices from Nokia in 2008, especially with their focus on unlocked devices. If there’d really been a universal device capable of running on ALL GSM networks equally, that would’ve brought a USP that no one else could offer.

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