Losses totaling hundreds of millions, phone sales down by 22 per cent year-on-year and a somewhat vague release date for its new top-end Windows phones. On the face of it, the last quarter wasn’t exactly a roaring success for Nokia.
But considering this is a company that’s spent the best part of five years playing catch-up with Apple and Google, ditching its ailing Symbian platform and eschewing its Finnish roots, things could have gone a lot worse.
In fact, the news that Nokia shifted an impressive 2.9 million Lumia phones during the third quarter of 2012 suggests things are finally looking up at Espoo.
Let’s be clear, those numbers aren’t exactly world-beating. Apple’s last reported quarter saw Cupertino shift 26 million iPhones and a million Android handsets are activated daily.
But considering the position Nokia has started from, with Windows Phone hardly troubling the smartphone charts and its reputation for amazing top-end devices in tatters, this is actually pretty impressive.
Both the Lumia 820 and Lumia 920 are stunning devices. Forget the rather embarrassing PR fail surrounding the latter’s Pureview camera and a faked ad to promote it, and you’re looking at a device that has everything to compete with the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S3.
Nokia is finally creating phones that are worth lusting after, something which couldn’t really be said about the disastrous Nokia N8 and the series of woeful Symbian handsets at the end of the last decade.
There’s now palpable excitement about what Nokia can produce. CEO Stephen Elop speaks of the results being “remarkable”, something it’s hard to disagree with seeing as the mobile-maker has slashed costs and shed thousands of staff throughout 2012.
What’s becoming clear is that while Nokia will perhaps take many years to ever scale the heights it achieved prior to the arrival of the iPhone in 2007, it is now a leaner, meaner company. One which still has some way to go, but one which is now undoubtedly pointing in the right direction.
There are, of course, lessons to be learned.
The Pureview debacle showed the PR side of the business could use fine-tuning, while the failure to announce a release date at the launch event for the Lumia 820 and Lumia 920 suggested one of Nokia’s worst traits remains unfixed.
If it can sort that, though, then perhaps there’ll be greater goodwill towards these ace new devices.
Stop harping on about specs and instead play up Windows Phones excellent UX, and Nokia could have a great 2013 on its hands.
And here’s hoping it does. With Samsung and Apple continuing to duke it out in the courtroom, we need all the companies we can get innovating and pushing the smartphone space forward.