“The fightback begins here,” is the phrase which has echoed around the smartphone sector ever since words to that effect were uttered by Niklas Savander at last week’s Nokia World. So, how can Nokia go from telling everyone it’s planning on being number one again to actually making it happen? Here’s our top 10 must-do list for the Finnish phone maker.
1 Release the N8 immediately
No more delays. No more holding back the flagship Symbian 3 phone “to ensure a great user experience.” There’s been plenty of time for that. After all, the N8 was first unveiled way back in April. So no more dallying, get it into the wild and let the people decide if it really is a winner.
2 Ensure MeeGo is perfect ahead of release
While the N8 needs to be released stat, letting MeeGo slip from its planned late 2010 unveiling isn’t a bad call. Emails from Nokia insiders have shown that software plays second fiddle to hardware. So this time, make sure software, in the form of MeeGo, leads the line. The hardware can take a back seat for now. MeeGo needs to be perfect from the start.
3 Get board changes locked in quickly
Four execs leaving in less than a fortnight is unfortunate, but the last thing Nokia needs is changes at the top dragging on and distracting investors from products and services. So, if there are more making for the exit, Espoo should ensure a swift and orderly transition in order to get its house in order.
4 Admit previous mistakes
When Nokia owned up about the N97s failings, it got plenty of kudos for its honesty. Admit that while S60 was once great, it’s had its day and that delaying the N8 has been a catastrophic failure for the company as a whole.
5 Stop making trite remarks about rivals
Leave the pointless subtle digs to Apple and Google and get on with making ace phones. Anssi Vanjoki’s comments about Android being “like peeing in your pants to keep warm” are needless and don’t create good press. Stick to bigging up winning features like the N8’s camera or Ovi office services.
6 Get the E7 and C7 out sharpish
No point in teasing and then not releasing a phone immediately. HTC manages to get its phones out into the wild within days. Nokia should realize that the lengthy approach Apple took with the original iPhone only worked because of its iconic status. New Nokia phones don’t have that, so don’t try and create hype when the phone can do the talking.
7 Explain what Ovi really is
Say Ovi to average punters and they’ll stare back blankly. No one really knows what Ovi is and why it’s actually awesome. Nokia needs to work harder on explaining to new and potential users why these services can change their lives, and in layman’s terms too.
8 Ditch attempts to be cool
To be fair, in saying it wouldn’t apologise for not being Apple, Nokia is on its way in this regard. But aligning itself with music events and trendy campaigns when it’s a staid but solid mobile maker doesn’t foster thoughts of coolness. Nokia isn’t cool, and that’s just fine.
9 Get better at teasing new stuff
Chatter about a MeeGo tablet was rife when the OS was first seen at MWC. Now it’s virtually dead while Android tablets pick up the slack. A better understanding of the web and tech blogs, as well as selectively leaked info, would create a worthy rumour mill for an iPad rival.
10 Aim for one flagship phone a year
HTC’s high turnover is working for it, but Nokia will do well to stick with unleashing one killer smartphone annually, around the same time each year. Yes, it’s the same way Apple plays ball, but it works. Hype around Nokia World could be increased if it was known that something really magical is about to be outed.