Nick Dillon, Ovum Telecoms Analyst
AUSTRALIA: Having replaced its own Symbian platform with Microsoft's, this is essentially a restart for the handset manufacturer, which has struggled to adjust to the new dynamics of the smartphone market following the launch of the iPhone in 2007. With Microsoft's new mobile platform yet to take off and Nokia banking on Windows Phone it as its primary smartphone platform, the success of the devices will be critical to the future of both companies. Both companies therefore have much riding on the outcome of this launch.
The challenges which Nokia faces are significant - many potential Windows Phone customers will have already bought an Android or iPhone and will have some form of attachment to those platforms. They will have invested in the platforms from a service, financial (via applications) and a familiarity perspective, and as such Nokia will have a challenge to convince them to switch to what is a largely unknown, and therefore risky, alternative. For consumers, they will need to have a clear and simple answer to the question: ‘why should I buy this instead of an iPhone or Android?
Considering that Nokia had very little, if no, input into the Mango release of Windows Phone, the company has done well to differentiate its devices against those from other Windows Phones licensees. Nokia has included its Nokia Maps, which provides free offline navigation on both devices. Additionally, Nokia has brought its experience in imaging with an f2.2 Carl Zeiss camera which features touch to focus, a function which is unique to Nokia's Windows Phone devices. Nokia has also brought another of its assets, Nokia Music to help differentiate the devices.
In addition to offering access to its music catalogue in 38 countries, Nokia will also provide free access to a Pandora-like radio streaming service which uses the Nokia Music catalogue. While none of these on their own are standout features, they at least provide Nokia with some ammunition for its marketing and sales team to market the devices in an increasingly competitive market.