I wrote about the Nokia announcements made this morning and then I was interviewed for a few minutes on KCBS (KCBS Nokia interview MP3 file) about the announcements as they pertain to the Nokia Music Store. The questions focused on looking at the world's largest phone maker and asking if there is any threat to Apple and the iTunes store. I tried to answer as best as I could, but there are a lot of unknowns about Nokia in the US. The interview and this mornings announcements gave me a chance to think a bit more about Nokia, their services, and US marketshare and I am now more depressed than before about the prospects for Nokia here.
The announcements this morning had nothing to really do with the US market and the closest thing to us was the Nokia Music Store launch in Mexico. The new 5330 XM was stated to launch in North America in Q3, but that doesn't mean the US and could just mean Mexico. Plus, this is a Series 40 phone that doesn't excite me like the S60 platform and is more of a feature phone device with some advanced capabilities.
While Nokia continues to make some fantatic mobile phones, they also are spending lots of time and money on rolling out their Ovi services. I see a major conflict here between their continued integration of services and US wireless carriers that may be keeping Nokia out of the US. Wireless carriers today have their own branded services that bring in lots of cash and having devices with Nokia services on them takes away that cash flow. Nokia could customize their devices and put on carrier services, but that would detract from the complete Nokia integrated experience and I doubt Nokia is willing to compromise here. Carriers may be able to make a deal with Nokia to get a cut of revenue from their services, but again this is a very complicated matter.
I am a bit amazed that Apple was able to keep off all of the AT&T services from the iPhone and think AT&T was taking a risk with letting Apple run everything on the device at first. It turns out it was a smart choice for AT&T with the success of the iPhone. I am not sure a carrier is willing to do this same thing with Nokia, but we will see what the future holds since a large carrier like Verizon could easily come out with a killer phone from Nokia.
As far as the Comes With Music service, this is a very country specific service due to all the record label deals that have to be ironed out and it is taking a long time to launch in other countries with only a select few supported so far. I don't know if the limited number of Nokia phones in the US will hurt the chances of having this service launched here, but it seems like a bit of a chicken and egg situation that will take time to even consider in the US.
For now, I'll stick with picking up SIM unlocked Nokia devices that I find to be fantastic mobile phones and have my eye on the N97, E55, and E75 at the moment. The population of users with these unlocked devices is growing, but I highly doubt these numbers are significant enough to warrant the attention of Nokia to focus on getting the Nokia Music Store here in the US.