Nokia’s fall from preeminent mobile maker to third–placed smartphone scrapper has been a long slide rather than a sudden blip.
Unlike HTC, Nokia’s business took years to slip from its position.
An embattled executive team tried and failed to relaunch Symbian, saw the new hope of Meego disappear, before Windows Phone was introduced in an attempt to bring some order back to Espoo.
But with Lumia smartphone sales gradually rising (7.4 million Windows Phone 8 devices sold in Q2 2013) and losses seemingly under control (just the £98.5 million lost in the same period), Nokia looks as if it’s making its way back to stability.
Its new Lumia 1020 should give it a major boost when it finally hits shelves later this summer, after a glitzy New York launch last week.
More phones, especially budget versions of its Lumia range, are expected to land before Christmas. In short, Nokia should be even stronger come the end of 2013.
That’s important for so many reasons.
Perhaps most importantly, it gives Microsoft’s well thought-out mobile OS a platform on which to launch more sustained attacks on the big boys of Android and iOS.
The more Windows Phone Nokia sells, the more likely developers will get on board and create an ecosystem to rival that of Google and Apple.
The industry needs wider competition, because it’s not healthy to simply have two major companies duking it out while everyone else fights over scraps.
On top of that, Nokia’s own position within the smartphone sector needs to be consolidated. Samsung and Apple are running away with it right now.
Although LG is putting up a decent fight, it remains way off.
BlackBerry is teetering despite a decent line up of phones and HTC will surely succumb to a takeover bid if its financial results continue to be so poor.
Nokia’s mobile pedigree in the past 20 years is stronger than all of those brands.
That means it has a way back in and a brand which resonates with consumers.
If it can force its way back to the top, especially with innovative devices like the Lumia 1020, then surely the whole sector will benefit.
Those who fear competition are always those who don’t want to push the boundaries further.
Nokia’s problems aren’t over. Its revenues and profits are still dicey and its sales aren’t exactly on the iPhone/Galaxy S4 scale.
But it’s building on solid foundations. Perhaps adding an Android phone or something truly unique would help its cause.
Either way, the smartphone industry needs Nokia.