Nokia is currently the dominating force in the smartphone. But is Android quickly catching up?
One issue that currently stands out in the world of Nokia is the lack of an up-to-date, mainstream powerhouse. While there isn’t a shortage of devices to choose from, those choices aren’t all that exciting, at least not anymore. There is of course the N97 which isn’t all that up-to-date and the fact that it had its share of criticism for its software and underpowered hardware doesn’t help either. Symbian S60 5th edition (including its 3rd edition sibling) is also starting to look a bit aged, despite being a pretty powerful platform. There’s also the X6 and the N97 mini, which basically are variations of the N97 with their share of software troubles. And while Nokia has fixed many of these problems with recent firmware updates, it can’t make up for the lack of RAM, outdated UI, dedicated graphics chip and slow CPU.
The Nokia N900 is a completely different story. It brings a modern UI with a powerful OS and equally powerful hardware to match and which is arguably one of the best enthusiast’s smartphone currently on the market. But that’s exactly the problem: it geared towards the enthusiast. Because of this there’s the need for an equally powerful yet more mainstream offering. That’s exactly where a Symbian-based Nokia comes in. Hopefully of the Symbain^3 kind.
The most obvious and immediate threat seems to be RIM, which currently holds 21% of the global smartphone market. However one could argue that due to the dated OS and lack of innovation, it’s not really RIM that Nokia should worry about, but rather Apple and Android-based devices. Apple’s usual one-device army might take some time to catch up, but it’s Android that could be the more immediate threat for the Finnish giant. With support from HTC, Motorola, Samsung. Huawei,Sony Ericsson and Acer, Android could quickly gain more market share. In fact it has. Take for example the HTC Desire which currently stands as THE Android device to get if you live outside of the US, While the EVO and Droid are getting all the attention in North America.
In Nokia’s world it’s the low-end devices that sell in buckets, but Nokia needs a powerful yet mainstream device to bring back the excitement to the brand, just like the N95 days. Hopefully the much rumored Symbian^3 based device does the trick.