'Messaging' to lead Nokia's comeback

Phone giant plans to focus on e-mail offerings to recapture smartphone segment from the likes of Apple and RIM by next year, says top exec.
Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor

Nokia is planning to make mobile e-mail on its devices more appealing to users, particularly in emerging markets, in a bid to stabilize its slipping hold on the smartphone segment, a top company executive reveals.

According to a report by India Times, Rick Simonson, Nokia's executive vice president and head of mobile phones, acknowledged the company had lost ground in the smartphone space, but it expects to catch up with the likes of Apple and Research in Motion (RIM) by 2011.

Nokia's third quarter earnings last year indicated it was shipping fewer smartphones: its global market share for the segment fell to 35 percent from 41 percent in the previous quarter.

The Finnish phone giant intends to reclaim consumer favor through "messaging", where it will build "a whole range of e-mail solutions" through partners, said Simonson.

This, he hopes, will bring Nokia to better standing in North America--a territory, he admitted, where the company is "not doing too well".

The mobile phone maker is also looking to the emerging markets of Latin America and BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) to achieve its overall global market share goals.

To target competitor RIM, which has made a name on its enterprise-targeted e-mail devices, Simonson said Nokia's gameplan is to take the "mass market" route. "To make money, RIM must now focus on mass e-mail [and] this is an area that we own," he said.

"You have to be in the mass market to win," he added, noting that the company has been successful in "mass market" e-mail, mainly in emerging regions where it can present its mobile e-mail offering to consumers as their first e-mail experience.

He predicted that within this year, Nokia "will grow faster than [RIM]" in Latin America, bringing the company "on par with Apple and RIM in smartphones" by next year.

"Not only we draw level with them, we will also win the war because, in addition to e-mail, we will be adding content, chat, music, entertainment and several other features, which will soon become very critical for success of any company in this space," said Simonson.

Nokia has long champion the mass market model; its entry-level devices are the main boost to the company's overall handset share.

Simonson added that in the mobile OS space, the company plans to start its recovery via the introduction of Maemo on high-end smartphones and the "stabilization of the Symbian operating system", found on its mid-range handsets.

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