It’s now almost a year since Nokia inked its partnership with Microsoft.
On the day the Finns announced predictably weak financial results, we've taken the company’s temperature to see if we're witnessing the birth of a New Model Nokia or a last, doomed throw of the dice. Read on for the skinny...
1 Nokia can get phones out on time
Nokia’s N8 is one of the once-proud phone maker’s greatest misses; a tech flop on the scale of the Atari Lynx or the grand folly that was the Gizmondo.
In part, it was the release of better, sexier phones from rivals that did for it. But the N8 definitely wasn’t helped by constant release date delays that meant that it already felt like old news by the time it landed on shop shelves.
By contrast, the Lumia 800 was on sale in December 2011 – just ten months or so after the partnership with Microsoft was inked and a matter of weeks after the phone took a bow at Nokia World in November.
Of course, it will have helped that, because the Lumia 800 runs Windows Phone, all Nokia had to worry about was delivering the hardware and making a few customisations here or there to the Windows Phone interface to give their phone a unique stamp.
Even so, the handset's prompt arrival will have gone some way at least to assuaging shareholders’ fears and restoring Nokia’s rep from the self-inflicted damage of the last few years.
2 It’s a long, long road back
Today, Nokia confirmed it sold one million Lumia 800 kits in the last quarter. That was marginally better than some analysts had forecast, but won’t cause Apple or Google any sleepless nights.
Still, it’d be very wrong to read Nok-Nok its last rites now. It’s early days yet and given that the Lumia range is currently only available in select territories and just recently hit retail in the US, there's plenty of time for the company to turn things around.
3 S40 phone sales won’t even paper over the cracks
Demand for Nokia phones in the developing world remains incredibly strong. For proof, look no further than the news that the company has now sold a frankly staggering 1.5 billion S40 handsets.
But as our very own Ernest Doku points out, in an industry that’s “obsessed with the future, having an illustrious past counts for nothing”.
That’s especially the case given that sales of low-end, low-margin phones appear to have failed to do anything to ameliorate the company’s titanic £1.17 billion drop in operating profit.
4 Colour me good
The smartphone world can feel like a pretty macho place a lot of the time. It’s not just the specialised lingo. Although, I can’t help noticing how much I sound like Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear when I get over-excited about a ‘quad-core processor-toting smartie with plenty of brawn under the hood”.
The relentless machismo is there in the design, look and feel of the most popular handsets too, which comes in any colour as long as its sober black or gun-metal grey.
Available in eye-popping colourways, the Lumia phones deviate from that orthodoxy. And with some style.
We’re especially in love with the Lumia 710 in white with blue livery. It’s cute, modern and stands out a mile in a world full of identi-kits.
5 No end to trash talking
Towards the end of his troubled reign, departed CEO Olli Pekka-Kallasvuo was much given to pouring scorn on his more successful rivals.
It made for a pretty undignified spectacle. Not least when at Nokia World 2010, he compared what he claimed were underpowered Android phones to “little boys who piss in their pants”.
Unfortunately, under new boss Stephen Elop, once of Microsoft, that kind of snidey, uncalled-for remark is alive and kicking.
Since taking the gig, he’s predicted that customisation will be Android’s downfall and has even pre-emptively rubbished the next-gen of quad-core phones running Google’s OS.
Doubtless intended to make Nokia look bullish and confident in its own products, this needless bellicosity actually presents them as insecure and running scared. That's not a good look when it’s make-or-break time.