Can T-Mobile improve Nokia mind share in the US?

Summary:Even though Nokia rules the smartphone world, they have very little market share in the US. T-Mobile has a couple of fairly new smartphones priced to sell, but can this increase Nokia's market and mind share here in the US?

Nokia leads the world in smartphone market share and even with all the new devices running slick operating system they continue to maintain quite a lead over all the others. However, they have a very small share of the US market that I think is due in large part to limited availability from carriers. The Nokia E71x is available from AT&T, but AT&T took their customizations too far and severely hampered what could be a great Eseries device. Thankfully, T-Mobile is stepping up to the plate and currently has the Nokia 5230 Nuron available with the Nokia E73 Mode coming soon and both are priced at just $69.99. Although not sold directly from T-Mobile you can also find the high end Nokia N900 with T-Mobile USA support for around $460 with no contract necessary.

While the S60 operating system used in the Nuron and E73 Mode may not be as slick as Google Android or iPhone devices, there are some very compelling reasons to use these devices and at $70 a purchase decision is almost a no brainer. With each of these two devices you get FREE Ovi Maps voice-guided navigation support with maps around the world. I actually used a Nokia N97 mini loaded with maps of Spain, Italy, and France last week on my vacation and was able to walk around foreign cities with no SIM card in the device and no data connection necessary since I preloaded these maps for free before my trip. Support for Ovi Maps itself can be used to justify the $70 purchase price of one of these smartphones.

In addition to Ovi Maps support, the following are some other reasons you may want to consider one of these two Nokia smarphtones:

  • Amazing RF reception and voice call quality
  • Solid Bluetooth driver support
  • Voice dialing integration
  • Support for T-Mobile's high speed 7.2 Mbps data network
  • Support for carrier billing through the Ovi Store

When I compare different devices with my same T-Mobile SIM card the Nokia smartphones ALWAYS show stronger RF reception. I often hear people complain about Bluetooth A2DP performance, but I have personally heard flawless podcast and music streaming with Nokia smartphones and Nokia Bluetooth headsets so with the right devices you can have a solid experience.

My wife used a T-Mobile Dash (actually 3 of them) over the past few years and took my Nokia E71 a few months ago and loves the device. I plan to buy the E73 Mode when it is launched next week because it has all of these benefits I mentioned previously with the addition of UMA call support, visual voicemail, active noise cancellation, solid 5 megapixel camera, large 1500 mAh battery, and more. The Nokia Nuron is a more basic smartphone, but it does have a 3.2 inch touchscreen with S60 5th Edition, Ovi Maps, and 3G wireless data support.

Do you think T-Mobile's adoption and selling of subsidized Nokia smartphones will increase Nokia's share (market and mind) in the US? I know T-Mobile is the smallest of the four major carriers, but they also seem to take the most hands-off approach with their devices and keep them in the configuration intended by the manufacturer.

Topics: Hardware, Mobility, Nokia, Smartphones

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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