Since Nokia decided to relegate Symbian and MeeGo to the second tier and throw its lot in with Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 (WP7) OS, plenty has been said about when we’d see blowers made in Espoo rocking the Big M’s operating system.
Official renderings, released just days after the tie-up was confirmed, suggested the wait wouldn’t be too long. Hints were then dropped that Nokia was desperate to get a WP7 device on shelves by the end of 2011. And why not?
Any hold-ups would mean that it wouldn’t release a flagship smartphone in 2011, when every other OEM is storming ahead with next-gen goodies. But now Espoo says its first WP7 handset won’t come until 2012, eleven months after the deal was inked.
The news comes from Nokia India’s D Shivakumar in a US regulatory filing. And what’s more, he says the full strategy won’t be implemented until 2013. It appears that Nokia is not keen on the current version of WP7 and is holding out for the so-called “Mango” update, which will bring HTML5, copy and paste and more advanced social skills to the OS.
This is as much Microsoft’s fault as it is Nokia’s, The Mango software boost had been promised for this year, but problems with a less important upgrade, which has bricked certain WP7 phones, means it will have to wait. And now Nokia wants to play the waiting game too.
How this is even an option for them is a surprise. While they get to work on a WP7 cell, rivals across the spectrum will continue to forge ahead. It’s hard to see a Nokia WP7 phone being anything other than stillborn on arrival. By that point, the iPhone 5 will have been on shelves for six months, Google will have moved past Android Ice Cream and even webOS will be resurgent.
It all shows that in its attempts not to lose face, Nokia has made the wrong decision about which OS to back. It at least could have taken HTC, Samsung and LG’s route and opted for Android as well as Windows Phone. As it is, it’s thrown itself behind a platform that is critically lauded but seemingly struggling to do the numbers. Nokia has failed to learn the lessons of the past few years: namely, holding on for something to work is a bum move. It could have worked much faster with Android and released a device that would have soared in terms of volume.
So, the wait continues. The question is, will Nokia still be relevant in the smartphone world when its WP7 is finally put up for sale? Don’t bank on it.