It seems Nokia is on the warpath. In an interview earlier this week, the Finnish phone-maker’s director of portfolio Niels Munksgaard tore into Android and the iPhone.
The exec bemoaned the “sea of sameness” he sees every time he walks into a phone shop, claiming ‘youths’ were bored of iPhones and found Android complex and hampered by poor security.
Those are harsh words. And ones that aren’t exactly borne out when you consider global smartphone share and the speedy uptake of the iPhone 4S.
The thing is, was Munksgaard right to take this approach? Or is he leaving himself open to attack from key competitors?
On the face of it, Munksgaard is right with his “sea of sameness” remark. Phones these days do look similar to the untrained eye.
But that’s pretty much all down to modern handsets using touchscreen tech, rather than physical keyboards.
Only so much can be done to differentiate design and while adding a splash of colour with the Lumia 800 is welcome, it’s not exactly going to help Nokia win back users. It tried the same with the N8 and that was hardly a success.
You can also see why he would slate the iPhone and Android. He raises legitimate grievances about the latter’s security, while the iPhone has always been a bugbear in Espoo, the phone that proved to the world how far behind the curve Nokia was at the start of 2007.
In making these remarks, Munksgaard has got some prime coverage and pushed a device, the Lumia 800, that hasn’t sold well yet, despite critical acclaim for both its hardware and OS. On the other hand, this smacks of sour grapes.
The iPhone’s popularity is hardly on the wane, even if sales were down quarter on quarter (a quirk down to the late release of the iPhone 4S).
4S sales have been huge and ‘the kids’ still love the iPhone. Apple remains the premium, must-have brand in the world, no matter what a Nokia exec might think.
As for Android, security is an issue, but with over 50 per cent of smartphones sold now using the OS, and hundreds of thousands of new Google-backed blowers activated daily, he’s some way off the mark here.
The people who worry about Android’s so-called complexity are the hardcore and tech-watchers looking to see how its future might pan out. These are not worries shared by consumers, as stats bear out.
This could garner Nokia some short-term publicity and a few sales. But it shows that times are once again becoming desperate for the Finns.
Trash talk is fun for those watching, but shows that deep down, Elop and co are spooked by how badly things are going for the Lumia 800.
A smarter approach and a string of new phones are what they need in order to start making inroads in 2012.