When the new Nokia CEO announced the adoption of WindowsPhone as the company’s primary smartphone platform, the impression given then was that MeeGo was not in a state anywhere close to deployment.
However, this week’s unveiling of what has turned out to be an absolutely fantastic smartphone, the N9, running on a game-changing OS and UI, MeeGo, has got me stumped. Actually, it has got the entire mobile industry stumped.
Traditional Nokia critics are drooling over the N9 and MeeGo. Die-hard Nokia fans are ecstatic about it. For once in a long time, Nokia looks outstanding. The N9 is without contradiction the most amazing thing that has come out of Nokia ever. Think about it.
Any Advantages of WindowsPhone over MeeGo?
Of course, this now begs the question, Why drop MeeGo for WindowsPhone?
Why throw away a fortune of investments in MeeGo research and development? We are talking about obscenely huge amounts of money here. Why not reap from those investments?
MeeGo and the N9 already have features and services that WindowsPhone wishes to have when it grows up. The N9 has a minimalist user interface that seems even better than WindowsPhone’s. The N9’s user interface certainly packs a greater WHAOH! factor than WindowsPhone, not to mention that it seems to work better too.
I also understand that the MeeGo team at Nokia re-wrote the whole UI to make it what it is now in just 9 months. What? Brilliant! Amazing! Those guys should take a group shot and have their faces plastered all over the Internet.
I don’t get it anymore. Nokia is sending out confusing signals to everybody. Developers don’t know what to make of this Symbian-MeeGo-WindowsPhone dance anymore. Consumers don’t. The press don’t. Network operators don’t. Retailers don’t.
Perhaps only a handful of people on Nokia’s board do. Just perhaps. Or perhaps they are just as confused as the rest of us?
The Iron is Hot: Strike!
Nokia has lost a lot of mindshare and marketshare in the last few years (smartphone Market, that is). On a personal note, I have remained a Symbian fan, but delays in updates have gotten me weary, and I am looking elsewhere already. I will certainly get the N9 when it hits the Market, even if Nokia foolishly relegates MeeGo to experimentation satus.
Yes; it will be foolish of Nokia’s decision makers to ignore the opportunities presented by the buzz that the N9 has generated and continues to generate. It is foolhardy to ignore what the consumers say they want – and we are saying it loud and clear: “We want MeeGo and more devices like the N9”.
From North America (the continent that Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has been courting) to Europe, Asia, and Africa, it is the same thunderous applause for the N9. Leaking a Nokia WindowsPhone that uses the same hardware of the N9 the next day hasn’t muted that applause and desire for the N9.
For the first time in a long, long while, Nokia have almost everyone happy about a Nokia product.
The Logical Things To Do
Nokia needs to re-consider certain things, including the following:
1. Do WindowsPhone if you must, but not at the detriment of MeeGo and an excellent product like the N9. Other manufacturers have multiple smartphone platforms. Samsung produces Android, Bada and WindowsPhone. That’s three. Why can’t Nokia, a much bigger manufacturer, do two? Let’s all agree that Symbian is dead, but seeing that MeeGo is like Symbian or steroids, no-one is going to cry over that.
2. Commit to one MeeGo handset a year. Just one. The iPhone is not selling in droves because there are multiple form factors and variants. Make MeeGo smartphones something for us to look forward to every year. Make it exclusive. A collector’s item. Whatever, just give us one every year.
3. Ride on the current waves of popularity of the N9 and push that device and its successors like crazy in the Market. It is sheer foolishness to ignore or muzzle whatever gets your customers excited. The N9 has got both fans and critics alike excited. Even Engadget has glowing praise for the N9!
A Timely Warning
Nokia have prided themselves in standing out with regards hardware and multimedia. That is changing fast. Samsung is catching up fast in those areas. Apple is catching up there too. Both are unrelenting, tireless innovators.
Perhaps someday, Nokia smartphones wont have the best cameras anymore. What then would Nokia be pushing? What would stand them out? What? History? Maybe. Just maybe.
In the meantime, what the Nokia MeeGo team have done shows in-house innovation, differentiation, and creativity that should be praised and encouraged to high heavens. The N9 is a device that truly beats with the Nokia heart that we used to know.
I am not saying that Nokia WindowsPhones will be terrible. We will have to wait for the jury on that. But if MeeGo is making people look in your direction, and you are in the market to sell to those same people, it is madness not to capitalise on that.
Stephen Elop and Nokia’s management need to wake up to reality. The cookie may just be crumbling. In the meantime, the world watches. And waits.