Nokia Purchases SmarterPhone – Another Mobile OS

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In the beginning, Nokia had Symbian and S40 mobile operating systems. Nokia added Maemo/meeGo, then dropped it. last year, Nokia adopted Windows Phone as its primary smartphone platform. Recently, Nokia’s new version of Symbian has been re-branded as Belle.

Now, news has it that Nokia has acquired SmarterPhone, a small Norwegian company that has an operating system designed for more basic cell phones.

From the press release of the acquisition:

Smarterphone is based in Oslo, Norway and delivers an operating system for the feature phone segment of mobile handsets. The software makes it possible to deliver a user experience similar to smart phones on affordable hardware, and allows unique flexibility for tailoring handset software to different markets.

The sale/acquisition was completed in November 2011. No-one seems to be sure how things will play out from here. There has been no official statement from Nokia either. So, is this another game-changer, or another doubtful venture? comments!



  1. Now, it would be an understatement to label the Nokia Management a Confused House.

    Thought Microsoft is strongly rumoured to be about to buy the mobile arm of Nokia?

    ? adjective
    1 they are confused about what is going on: BEWILDERED, bemused, puzzled, perplexed, baffled, mystified, nonplussed, muddled, dumbfounded, at sea, at a loss, taken aback, disoriented, disconcerted; informal flummoxed, bamboozled, clueless, fazed; N. Amer. informal discombobulated.
    2 her confused elderly mother: DEMENTED, bewildered, muddled, addled, befuddled, disoriented, disorientated; unbalanced, unhinged; senile.
    3 a confused recollection: VAGUE, unclear, indistinct, imprecise, blurred, hazy, woolly, shadowy, dim; imperfect, sketchy.
    4 a confused mass of bones: DISORDERLY, disordered, disorganized, disarranged, out of order, untidy, muddled, jumbled, mixed up, chaotic, topsy-turvy; informal higgledy-piggledy; Brit. informal shambolic.

  2. i do not think nokia is confused,that is without Elop. it seems nokia wants to target the mass market,while givin smartphone feel to feature phones at a cheap cost.

  3. Or is this another Plan B.

    Nokia is so passionate about Feature Phones and wants to make it more like Smartphones.

  4. It appears there is some kind of stage management going on at Nokia.

    Still, this could be a confirmation of the former rumour that Microsoft will acquire Nokia’s smartphone division. Could be Nokia is preparing for the next phase of life and selling their smartphone business.

  5. As AfewGoodMen already mentioned, the smartphone arena is where the profit is to be made.

    Businesses are about profits. Nokia is not only losng market share in the smartphone area, but they are also not as profitable as they used to be.

    The margins made on feature phones are getting thinner by the day. Making them more appealing may not impact their Burton line all thaT much.

    Would think it is logical for them to focus more fiercely where the money is, and where competition is toughest- the smartphone segment?

    The greatest challenge to the Nokia dynasty is from this area.

    As technology improves, feature phones will reduce in relevance. The increasing volume of smartphones sold workwide will engender economies of scale that can only progressively drive prices down -for increasingly powerful smartphones.

    Like in the banking landscape here- would you rather have fewer high,networth customers? Or, higher volumes of low-level customers?

    I think the confusion in strategy is palpable..

  6. We are always quick to forget that majority of cellphone users don’t use smartphones.

  7. Nokia needs to focus on the high end side of the markets. Probably that is still their focus in the is acquisition. Some times, such acquisition could be to enable them add certain features they want in their smart phones. May not necessarily mean using the entire new OS as it is on new Nokia devices.

  8. I am of a different opinion from the comments above. I think Nokia might just make it back with this move.

    What do we really need in a smartphone that makes it so special? The answer would differ with different individuals. But if we have say a feature phone (like Nokia C3) with ability to copy and paste and at the same time multitask smoothly, would it not be a game changer considering the price tag? This is the kind of thing i expect to come out of this deal.

    Nokia is thinking in the right direction.

  9. …What do we really need in a smartphone that makes it so special? …

    What do we really need in a CAR that makes it so special – compared to a BICYCKEr?
    They both provide motion..

    ….But if we have say a feature phone (like Nokia C3) with ability to copy and paste and at the same time multitask smoothly, would it not be a game changer considering the price tag?…..

    Well- a phone running an OS that has no software_running ability / has no software available for it -is just a DUMBphone.

    What would be the
    point of multitasking_ability (and cooy& paste, for that matter-if it does not run apps?

    I guess Nokia is trying to obliterate the THICK line between a featurephone and a smartphone..I wish them GOODLUCK! This strategy looks FUZZY to me!

    I wonder what i would do with a pseudo ‘smartphone’ running a watered_down OS , through…

  10. Well – a phone running an OS that has no software _running ability / has no software available for it -is just a DUMBphone.

    What would be the point of multitasking _ability ( and cooy& paste , for that matter-if it does not run apps?

    Dumb phones or feature phones if you like are not necessarily incapable of running applications, they only do not have native ability to do this, but since most of the feature phones out there have the ability to run Java applications, I think they still have that ability to run applications. The main difference between feature phones and smartphones lies in the ability to provide third party developers APIs that is native and specific to the underlying OS rather than relying on Java applications.

    I once said it here that the initial fear and doubt I had before switching to Android concerns being able to find equivalent applications that would be as good as the ones I was using on my Sony Ericsson feature phone before I was overwhelmed by the advance of by far richer and better apps that is available for the Android platform.

    Notwithstanding that feature phones have numerous Java apps available, the fact remains that feature phones generally have less capable has hardware for some tasks or the apps are not very refined since they are not targeted at a particular platform.

    For instance, there was one PDF reader I downloaded and installed on my Sony Ericsson feature phone then. It opens PDF files quite alright but the experience was so frustrating that the app was more of a novelty than a useful application. Takes a lot of time to open a file of say 20 pages or less, some 60 seconds or more, between 8-20 seconds to scroll to the next page, wouldn’t open images in the document directly. You will need to click on image icons to open images separately and of course taking some more time to do this.

  11. Perhaps we should distinguish the difference between a dumb phone and a feature phone. Harry just dissected the smartphone and a feature one.

    A feature phone has much more “features” than a Dumb phone. Sometimes, it’s even difficukt to tell from a smartphone! Some feature phone can multitask, have Internet facilities and could even load java apps. A dumb phone on the other hand can only manage the basic function like making calls, texting and few others!

  12. AfewGoodMen & Harry, you guys have done an exhaustive job of differentiating between / explaining a dumb-, feature- and smart-phone.

    I also now see DeolaDoctor’s earlier point of view.

    How would Nokia get deveopers to develop NATIVE apps for the new OS?

    I feel that an OS that is bereft of apps to tap its power (via the exposed APIs)- is an under utilised OS,

    If Nokia wants to give their featurePhones an edge, going YETanother OS route seems a curious thing to do. Symbian, Maemo/Meego , WindowsPhone and SmarterPhone. Too many cooks do spoil the broth.The more-the merrier ; the more – the CONFUSION.

    There seems to be THREE sides to this smartphone triangle- DUMB / FEATURE / SMART.

    Nokia seems to be trying to create a fourth category- between FEATURE and smart- PHONE – a bat in an aviary!

    Shall wert call it – emm – SnazzyPhone?

  13. @EyeBeeKay,

    Your err… “SnazzyPhone” might just be the needed tool to change the game for Nokia. Remember, what matters is how broad the smile to the bank is on the face of Nokia stakeholders. And this to a large extent is not determined by you or me. It is determined by the non tech, non-geeky guys out there who want good phones to meet their basic needs at a budget price. The teeming masses in Africa, South East Asia, India, and South Americas.

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