Nokia CEO Stephen Elop was extremely busy during CES 2012 making appearances at press conferences, but he also spent a lot of time sitting down with the press for interviews. I had the opportunity to spend 20 minutes with another press member and ask Mr. Elop several questions about Nokia and Windows Phone and wanted to share some of my thoughts and his answers with you.
What's it going to take for WP to become the 3rd platform?Windows Phone 7/7.5 has been out for over a year now and still only has something like 2% of the smartphone market share so I asked Mr. Elop what it was going to take to grow this adoption rate. He made some rather bold, confident statements that previous Windows Phone devices did not stand out from the crowd and it took Nokia to come in with iconic devices like the Lumia 800 and Lumia 900. I don't think HTC and Samsung would appreciate these type of statements (made previously too), but if you look at what we had with the first generation the devices were primarily previous Android models with Windows Phone inside and were not innovative.
Mr. Elop also stated that there must be a focus on the retail process so that employees at wireless carriers are pleased with Windows Phone and actually offer the devices as viable alternatives to customers who come into the store. I like to go into stores to see what employees pitch to me and I have personally never been told about Windows Phone. I think a retail strategy is a very important factor for Windows Phone adoption and was pleased to hear that Microsoft and Nokia are spending time and money addressing this part of the equation.
Why did Nokia go with Windows Phone instead of Android or even webOS?Nokia was looking for a partner where an ecosystem was in place and the only such platform with a modern OS other than iOS was Windows Phone.
Are Symbian developers switching to Windows Phone?Mr. Elop said that they are actively working with developers. They have given out thousands of Windows Phone devices to help encourage their participation and access to the platform and are working with the development community to increase the number of applications in the Marketplace.
Will we see Nokia innovation in Windows Phone devices?I told Mr. Elop that my wife loves her Nokia N8 because the camera is the best on any smartphone and she will not give it up, even though it is starting to fall apart. I then asked if we would see advanced features such as high end cameras in future Windows Phone devices. As James pointed out the Lumia 900 is a solid device, but the camera is not the best of any smartphone (the N8 holds that title) so I wanted to confirm that Nokia is going to do it better. After listening to Mr. Elop I am confident that Nokia is still early in their Windows Phone development and we will see advanced hardware in the future.
The Nokia Lumia 900 does stand out from the Windows Phone crowd with a sleek form factor, polycarbonate colored body, LTE wireless radio, and high end camera with Carl Zeiss optics.