Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The slow pace of the Nokia plus Microsoft

Nokia is in a tough position. Having announced in February 2011 that the company will be moving to the Windows Phone 7 platform, it basically killed Symbian^S3. Than came the second part of the announcement, that Windows Phone 7 devices would not be available till the 4th Quarter of 2011, and most likely not commercially till the 2012. So for the past six weeks, Nokia has been promoting their Symbian S^3 operating system, promising a new user interface, a new web browser and other improvements before it finally phases out the operating system. 

It would have made more sense for Nokia to delay the announcement of migration to Windows Phone 7 until Nokia was closer to being able to release a Windows Phone 7 device. Now they have the though job of trying to convince buyers that it is still viable to buy their Symbian based devices even if they will be but phased out by the early next year. 

Microsoft also have been better off with a bit of a delay. While Windows Phone 7 viability benefited greatly with announcement of its adoption by Nokia, the special concessions made to Nokia might deter other manufacturers from continuing Windows Phone 7 production. Of the companies that manufactures Windows Phone 7 devices, HTC, Samsung, LG and Dell, only HTC and Dell have new Windows Phone 7 devices for 2011, and nothing very innovative. But that may have been the case whether or not a partnership with Nokia had been announced. 

Ultimately, the early announcement probably did more good, than the late Nokia implementation will cause harm. It keeps the platform viable until we see the Nokia devices. In other fronts, Windows Phone 7 is looking good. It is getting its cut and paste updates, and the Windows Phone 7 market it now 10,000 applications strong. But by the time Nokia get around to producing Windows Phone 7 devices, Apple will have their iOS 5 and Google should be in the process of integrating Android 3.0 Honeycomb as a mobile phone OS. BlackBerry will probably have their QNX software on their way to mobile phones. In other words, it will be a dual core world, looking at quad core devices in the horizon.

Can Nokia leapfrog one generation of hardware to deliver current Windows Phone 7 devices, or will Nokia and Microsoft emerge in 2012 as one generation behind the curve? And we aren't even talking about the tablet market.

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