Nokia: Showing signs of life, innovation ahead

Nokia: Showing signs of life, innovation ahead

Summary: The jury is still out on Nokia, but the company is showing just enough spunk to defend its global turf and maybe even innovate along the way.

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Nokia is showing signs of life, proving it can rush product to market, innovate and maybe even get something commercial out of its research and development.

It's early, but there are signs of life here. Perhaps Nokia won't be road kill for Android and Apple's iOS.

Let's connect a few positive data points for Nokia.

First, Nokia is showing off a flexible display and some R&D chops. CNET News' Stephen Shankland highlighted a "kinetic device" that has a flexible display. Simply put, this flexible display can bend and bowing it inward or outward will zoom in and out of photos and make music selections. Shankland is skeptical about the prospects for this technology---and rightly so---but the big takeaway here is that Nokia is at least thinking of something new. Remember Nokia is the same company that had touchscreen technology but determined no one wanted it. Oops.

Nokia can move quickly when it wants. The biggest takeaway from CEO Stephen Elop's keynote on Wednesday is that the company can go from idea to product in less than a year. Now there are compromises for sure---Mary Jo Foley examines why there aren't any front-facing cameras on the first Windows Phone. In short, Nokia didn't have time. That criticism aside Nokia did move faster than it ever has.

Barclays analyst Jeff Kvaal noted:

The Lumia 800 and 710 are set to ship in 4Q and rebuild visibility into Nokia’s product engine. These devices are not overly differentiated, but then the development timeline never allowed that. We feel they are, however, well built (800 feels particularly high quality), fully featured, and competitively priced – below the iPhone 4S and on par with Android devices. We include a comparison to rival devices and service plans. We remain confident Nokia will retain traditional advantages in scale and distribution.

And finally, Nokia seems to know its strengths and has scale. You can knock the lack of a 2011 U.S. launch, but Nokia specifically picked its first markets based on its strength. Nokia has to defend its base countries and then move on from there. Analysts also noted that Nokia's pricing for the Lumia is aggressive. Wunderlich Securities analyst Matthew Robison said in a research note:

The Lumia 800 is listed for €420. The Lumia 710 is somewhat less elegant but sports most of the capabilities of the 800 at €270. Management indicates that deals have been struck with initial carriers to ensure the Lumia 800 retails alongside Android devices at €10-20 below the iPhone. Lumia is targeted for subsidy to the €0-single digit level of the BlackBerry 9900 in the UK.

Meanwhile, Nokia's new Asha phones---designed for emerging markets---undercut the BlackBerry on pricing.

The message is clear: Nokia will use its scale to defend its turf and cover the world with Windows Phone tiles.

And now for the caveats. The jury is still out on Nokia. The specs for the Lumia leave a lot to be desired. It's unclear consumers even want Nokia Windows Phone devices. Nokia's marketing could be a hit or mocked just as easily. And finally Elop is an unknown commodity. Who knows if Elop can really reinvent Nokia?

In the end, Nokia showed this week that it has a pulse and might just get off the mat and punch rivals in the mouth. At this juncture, Nokia is certainly worth keeping an eye on.

Full Nokia world coverage:

ZDNet and TechRepublic:

Nokia's first Windows Phones: What's there, what's not

CNET:

International:

ZDNet UK: Nokia introduces Asha for emerging markets

ZDNet UK: Nokia sees 'new dawn' in Lumia Windows Phones

Topics: Telcos, Emerging Tech, Hardware, Mobile OS, Nokia, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

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22 comments
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  • RE: Nokia: Showing signs of life, innovation ahead

    When I look at all the facts, and look at the past glory Nokia used to revel in I think I can sum up Nokia as they stand right now very easily: They just wiggled their big toe. Hard part is over. Time to get those other little piggies moving!
    Bates_
    • RE: Nokia: Showing signs of life, innovation ahead

      @Bates_ Nokia are dead. They only have a failing Windows Phone platform to fall back upon, and consumers simply aren't interested in that platform (it has very little in the way of apps or developer support).

      Microsoft mad too many wrong moves with Windows CE, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone, consumers have heard it all before....
      Mark Str
      • RE: Nokia: Showing signs of life, innovation ahead

        @Mark Str, you're talking out your belly button. Consumers not interested in Windows Phone? That is either a straight-up lie or you're just misinformed.
        VintageComputerGuy
      • RE: Nokia: Showing signs of life, innovation ahead

        @Mark Str
        just like apple before... but look at them now!!! the jury is not out yet, just wait for nokia come back. they deserve it...
        kc63092@...
  • RE: Nokia: Showing signs of life, innovation ahead

    That flexible display is pretty cool. I know they aren't the first and only to work on it but if they can advance the technology it could set a future precedent for phones. It would make dropping them a lot less destructive.
    LoverockDavidson_-24231404894599612871915491754222
    • RE: Nokia: Showing signs of life, innovation ahead

      @LoverockDavidson_ Good point re flexible display. Would probably also kill an upgrade cycle.
      Larry Dignan
      • RE: Nokia: Showing signs of life, innovation ahead

        @Larry Dignan I doubt that. People love upgrading their phones, not because they are broken, but because they want the latest cool thing. Upgrade cycle is safe.
        gomigomijunk
  • RE: Nokia: Showing signs of life, innovation ahead

    http://snipurl.com/2dmzl7
    zhangxiaomei
  • RE: Nokia: Showing signs of life, innovation ahead

    The lumia 800 is a sexy phone. i can live without a front facing camera and I'm sure others can too. Far too often people get caught up in small features that they won't use often or use at all. I'm just waiting for a US launch and i'll buy this phone because as I look back at the history of the phones I purchased in the past the NOKIA devices were by far the best!
    Rob.sharp
    • RE: Nokia: Showing signs of life, innovation ahead

      @rob.sharp@...

      <em>"Far too often people get caught up in small features that they won't use often or use at all. "</em>

      Features like the touch screen?

      I disagree, the front facing camera is going to be a really big deal very soon.
      Raid6
      • RE: Nokia: Showing signs of life, innovation ahead

        @Raid6 I have iPhone4 and so far, I have only used front facing camera once. Trust me, it is not a big deal for most of the consumers. Thought I agree to the fact that it would have been better to have a front facing camera given the fact now that skype is officially a part of Microsoft. But as indicated by Nokia, they din't have enough time to implement this feature.
        animageofmine1
      • RE: Nokia: Showing signs of life, innovation ahead

        @Raid6 "Features like the touch screen?"

        What does that even mean..? Are you suggesting the Lumia 800 doesn't have a touch screen? Whoa.. You didn't make any sense there.

        As for the front facing camera, while it is true that many smartphone owners rarely use it, it would be better to have it, because all too often, consumers have a check-list and they want everything on it (even if they don't use/need it).

        LTE? Check
        Front-facing camera? Check
        Dual-Core? Check
        8 megapixel camera? Check
        Voice controls? Check
        Turn by Turn navigation? Check
        SD card slot? Check
        and so on..

        Some features are necessary, some are cool, others are rarely used, but to be safe, get it all in there so no one can say, "well, it doesn't have this, so.. I'll choose this Android phone..."

        Yikes.
        VintageComputerGuy
  • old story

    The flex display is cool but when is it going to go to production if ever. The upcoming line up of phones doesn't stack up against latest iOS and Android even close, and we aren't even going to see it in US for a few months if not more? I hope Nokia makes it and I wanted to get a WinP7 phone but I won't be buying something this outdated at a near full price.
    vpasman2@...
  • The flexible display may find a future in smartphones,

    as displays that can wrap around a person's wrist or his/her upper arm, and then, no more worrying about taking it out of your pockets or purses or forgetting it on a tabletop somewhere.
    adornoe
  • RE: Nokia: Showing signs of life, innovation ahead

    windows phone 7.5 mango phones are so better than iphone 4S has it has most best OS AND Fast and more stable than iphone or android phones.
    obamasucks2011
    • RE: Nokia: Showing signs of life, innovation ahead

      @obamasucks2011 I like your ID :P
      animageofmine1
  • RE: Nokia: Showing signs of life, innovation ahead

    We saw some discussion about the supposed problems for other Android vendors after Google taking over Motorola. But did we had already the similar discussion about the narrow cooperation between the ex-Microsoft CEO at Nokia and Microsoft itself?
    somereader
  • RE: Nokia: Showing signs of life, innovation ahead

    my roomate's half-sister makes $76 an hour on the laptop. She has been fired for 9 months but last month her paycheck was $8478 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Go to this site NuttyRich.c0m
    levy1986
  • Signs of life?

    More like death quivers.
    jessepollard
  • RE: Nokia: Showing signs of life, innovation ahead

    Wp7 has failed.

    Start sue the world
    Sultansulan