Where Does Nokia Fit In Now?

Nokia’s alliance with Microsoft has yet to bare fruit, the first crop of Nokia Windows phones isn’t likely to land until late this year at the earliest. But where will these phones sit within the market?

Nokia’s position has always been fluid, in the early days of the mobile phone boom Nokia was at the top of the tree, they held off the competition for a long time and their products were premium phones. Once the rot set in and the likes of Apple and Blackberry took hold at the top, Nokia still held a huge share at the mid and lower price points, even though their phones weren’t the best any more they were still plenty good enough for most people and they were priced to sell.

The lower end of the market started to get crowded, Nokia traded on their past glory for a while until companies like Samsung released a flood of good, cheap feature phones and as some tech blogs put it – “out Nokia’d Nokia”.

So where are Nokia aiming now?

Vanity and a wish to relive past success could push Nokia to shoot for the moon and go head to head with Apple for a slice of the premium market.  There’s no doubt that Nokia can compete in terms of styling and hardware, even if they haven’t done so recently, and once it’s had a bit longer to bake Windows Phone will probably be on a par with iOS and Android. The trouble is that Nokia have an awful lot of ground to make up, the iPhone and the top end Android phones are really, really good and tempting people away from them is going to be hard.

Windows Phone has a minimum hardware requirement, which I think is good as it means the user experience will be consistent. But a minimum hardware spec means a minimum hardware cost, so the likelihood is that Nokia won’t be able to offer phones at the lower end of the market.

That leaves the mid market, which is crowded and getting more so. You can’t move for mid priced Android phones at the moment and some of them are very good. Every phone manufacturer on the planet it seems is cranking out cheap Android phones so Nokia will have something different to offer the mid market, whether or not those consumers think Windows is different-good or different-bad remains to be seen.

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