The technology world is abuzz with the reports that Apple has surpassed Nokia to be the largest smartphone manufacturer in the world. It gives the Cupertino based company a second crown, the first being the the largest technology company in the world in terms of market capitalization. How many times have you read the number of professional sports teams that the company could buy and have cash left over? What about countries? The latest involves the current US debt ceiling debate in which Apple is cited as having more cash than the US treasury.
When the talk turns Nokia, all you hear about is their steep decline in profits and the big mistake on staking their future with Microsoft instead of partnering with Android, or going at it alone with Meego. The critics however downplay the fact that hardware wise, Nokia is on par if not ahead of the competition. Case in point, the N9 (The first Nokia WP device, Sea Ray, will share the same specs as the N9). The Finnish giantâ€™s phones are also renown for their superb optics. No matter what shiny new hardware the iPhone 5 or the latest flavor of Android will bring in the latter part of this year, Nokia can easily match and even beat them in some of the specs.
The next two quarters will be brutal for the company as turns the ship around and integrates itself with Microsoft technologies, but by the beginning of next year, I see the company starting the steady ascent back to the top. There are three areas that make me optimistic to think that Nokia will be fine twelve to fifteen months from now.
1. Windows Phone
Having inked a special deal with Microsoft, I think the hardware coming from Nokia will the standard by which devices utilizing the new OS will be judged by. They went all in unlike the other OEMs like Samsung and HTC, who are hedging their bets on the Android OS as well. They have everything to loose so it behooves them to produce a premium devices and advertise them as far and as wide possible to make sure they succeed. They reportedly will spend 127 million dollars in marketing Windows phone. One thing Iâ€™m a bit concerned about are stories that they are going to launch the devices in a limited number of European countries at first excluding the US! Why? This will be such a wasted opportunity because a lot of people are waiting for Nokia phones (including myself) and if they canâ€™t get them when they become available, they will opt to purchase a Windows phone from a competing manufacturer or worse, go with an Android or iPhone! I hope there will be Nokia Phones available on day one or soon thereafter in every market Windows Phone is available.
2. Windows 8 Tablet
When Microsoft announced their next version the Windows desktop OS (Windows 8) the stark difference came with the news that this version would run on the ARM architecture found in mobile devices in addition to the traditional X86 processors from Intel and AMD. As a logical leap, Nokia will more than likely take advantage of the new capability and produce tablets with ARM chips running Windows 8 that challenge the iPad domination. Just like the Phones, Nokia has a chance to produce more desirable hardware than their competitors who have divided allegiances.
3. Windows 8 Laptop
As with the the tablets, having Windows 8 run on ARM chips gives Nokia the opportunity to produce premium, lightweight and long battery life capable laptops that can easily match the highly vaunted Macbook Air. The new generation dual and quad core ARM processors should provide enough horsepower to match their Apple rivals in my opinion. Furthermore, they will be more functional than any Chrome OS powered laptop.
With the opening of these two new markets for Nokia via Windows 8, coupled with their already announced commitment to Windows Phone, the future prospects of the company that seemed headed for the dustbin of history donâ€™t seem that bad after all. Where once, Nokia depended on only the mobile space for its revenues, they now have the addition of tablets and laptops to the mix! In fact, I think the other OEMs who have been neglecting Microsoft have more to worry about because they will now have to compete with a company that produces premium products.
In the end, to all the naysayers, you can keep on dancing over Nokiaâ€™s grave, but you are doing so at your own peril.
Image credit Josh Long/CNET