Just when everything was starting to look up for Nokia, it seems the tough times are about to return with a vengeance.
After acres of positive coverage for its stunning Lumia 800 Windows Phone, and a huge ad spend and PR campaign, it appears the device is struggling to sell.
News last week suggested sales wouldn’t top 500,000 this side of Christmas, while today eminent mobile watcher Eldar Murtazin has said that the Lumia 800 was outsold by Samsung’s Omnia W Windows Phone in his home country of Russia, one of Espoo’s biggest markets.
So, what can Nokia do to survive this latest onslaught? Well, cutting prices is top of the agenda, with talk of a 15 per cent drop at the start of 2012.
This’ll be tough, seeing as networks are already selling the Lumia 800 on bargain deals and the number of owners who decide to go SIM-free are very slim.
And realistically, knocking off a few quid and hoping for the best is not going to be a winning strategy. It needs to be a sustained drop and not just a sale price that goes back up at the end of January. Beyond that, Nokia needs to start looking towards its 2012 line-up with some urgency.
Word is that it’ll be unveiling at least one budget handset using the new Windows Phone Tango OS at next year’s Mobile World Congress, apparently dubbed the Nokia Champagne.
It’s going to have to play up this phone’s bargain credentials big style if it wants it to succeed. That means convincing consumers who don’t think they need a smartphone that this phone is the way forward.
The Nokia Champagne will have to offer Samsung Galaxy Ace and HTC Wildfire S levels of affordability to help Espoo back up the smartphone charts.
This will be a matter of playing up the free software solutions and contracts that start as low as £15 a month, not £30.
The worry is that if Nokia doesn’t manage to succeed, then the worst could happen and it could simply be co-opted into Microsoft, something not altogether unlikely according to a string of rumours earlier this year.
It seems that while Nokia has done everything right in terms of design and its choice of OS partner, it’s going to take more than fancy phones to convince customers to return.
Being willing to fight HTC and Samsung on lower ground, while explaining Windows Phone’s unique appeal is its only hope of ending the cycle of modest sales and endless talk of disaster.