Nokia has had a rough ride over the past half-decade or so. They were never particularly big in the US and still managed to maintain a leading global market share, that is, until they decided not to compete with Android, iOS and HTC. As a result, in April of this year HTC passed up Nokia to claim the number 3 spot, in terms of market value, behind Samsung and Apple. The struggling Symbian and MeeGo operating systems Nokia had developed in-house were antiquated and Nokia just couldn't seem to bring them up to par. This has forced them to cut 4,000 jobs and move 3,000 more to Accenture who would be taking on Symbian and MeeGo development. All this makes it feel like Nokia did a hard reset on themselves and just forgot how to be Nokia. The uncertainty of their future even earned them a spot on 24/7 Wall St.'s 10 brands that will not survive in 2012.
Then from Microsoft came hope that Nokia could rise again. September of last year, Stephen Elop, the former Microsoft executive who headed up the $18.6 billion business division, took the reins from former CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo. Elop was faced with solving Nokia's market erosion problems which resulted in Nokia giving up on Symbian and MeeGo completely, in favor of Windows Phone 7 earlier this year. Now, Nokia has come forward with some information to reassure us that they weren't making a bad decision by signing their life away to WinPho7.
Marko Ahtisaari, Nokia's head designer, plans to design phones that will save us from our phones. Sound familiar? Find out more after the break.
In Q4 of this year, Nokia intends to get back on the saddle with a new innovative phone running the Mango version of WinPho7. When discussing how Nokia intends to differentiate its new phones Ahtisaari stated,
We will drive this trend toward reduction and more natural forms. Compare that to the black, grey and metallic rounded-corner rectangles you are seeing in the market.
He also mentioned that modern touchscreen phones are inappropriately immersive,
When you look around at a restaurant in Helsinki, you'll see couples having their heads down instead of having eye contact and being aware of the environment they're in. Designing for true mobility...makes it easier for people to have more eye contact and be aware of their environment, and is an example of what people would not explicitly ask for but love when they get it.
This is reminiscent of Microsoft's attempt to market Windows Phone 7 in the same manner and it's very interesting that Ahtisarri has seemingly adopted the same philosophy. It all just smells very Microsofty with a trace amount of Nokia. The ads weren't a big hit for selling an OS but maybe Nokia can find a way to integrate that philosophy in their hardware equation; well see.