Nokia announces ‘fightback’ in smartphone market

Nokia wants the world to know that it is the big kahuna in the smartphone market. Despite unrelenting hype around iPhone and Android devices, the mobile phone manufacturer reminds the world that people have so far bought far more Nokia smartphones than both iPhone and Android combined.

There was a discernible touch of insecurity and defensiveness at the London Nokia World 2010 summit when the company’s Executive Vice President of Markets Niklas Savander announced a “fightback in smartphone leadership”, directly taking on Apple by poking fun at a senior iPhone exec who had unwittingly used the company’s tagline “connecting people” in a talk.

“We won’t apologise for not being Google or Apple — we are Nokia, we are the most global mobile phone company. On average people buy 260 000 Nokia smartphones every day. That is more more smartphone sales than any company by far. Period,” he said.

The company said that despite new competition, its mobile OS Symbian has “continued to hold its own” with just over 40% of today’s smartphone market. Another senior Nokia exec, Anssi Vanjoki, declared Symbian the “most popular smartphone platform on the planet”. Nokia has to date shipped more than 300-million Symbian devices.

Nokia said its latest version of the Symbian platform brings “more than 250 new features and improvements”, but also retains the familiarity enjoyed by smartphone users worldwide.

Savander also announced plans to “own” the location-based and navigation space on the mobile phone. He estimated that by 2013 800-million people will have access to GPS-enabled devices.

Again comparing the company to Apple, Savander noted that navigation applications on Nokia devices are less data hungry and therefore better optimised for a mobile experience. Pushing the global angle, he said that mapping services are now available in 78 countries and in 46 languages.

“Soon your phone will be able to analyse your location, your friend’s location and take into account your tastes and needs. This will result in services uniquely catered for you. This ‘science fiction’ story is now in place. Soon everyone will have a coordinate. The impact of this is huge,” he said.

New smartphones join N8
Nokia also announced a family of smartphones, powered by the all-new Symbian platform, tightly integrated with enhanced Ovi services and apps. The three new smartphones, Nokia E7, Nokia C7 and Nokia C6, join the previously announced N8 to form a family of Symbian products.

Making it easier for developers
Nokia appears to be taking steps to nurture their developer ecosystem. The company said it was making an effort to ensure “development consistency and a broader distribution base for applications” on their phones.

This will be some relief to mobile app developers who face an increasing nightmare when developing rich, complex applications on multiple phone platforms. Developers can distribute apps to approximately 175 million Nokia Symbian smartphones — the largest smartphone user base in the world.

The company announced enhancements to the Nokia Qt Software Development Kit (SDK) resulting in a 70 percent reduction in the number of lines of code required when developing for the company’s family of smartphones; a lower barrier of entry and increased monetisation opportunities for developers, including free Java and Symbian signing, in-app purchase, improved revenue share, and advanced developer analytics.

In addition to the refinements with the Nokia Qt SDK for smartphones and mobile computers, Nokia also announced an SDK for Series 40 Touch and Type — the industry’s first touch SDK for mobile phones.

Matthew Buckland: Publisher


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