Another quarter has just passed with no encouraging results for the Finnish handset maker. The quarter showed Nokia the way out of top five smart phone sellers. Though they still are the number two in the world in the overall handset market, but the matter of concern is the pace with which users are becoming smart and switching from ‘dumb’ phones to smarter counterparts.
According to a report by Cybermedia, Nokia had 22.2 per cent share of the Indian handset market in terms of total unit shipments in the first half of 2012, followed by Samsung with 13 per cent and Micromax in the third spot with 5.5 per cent share. Nokia’s share in smart phone market was over 15 per cent last year which has dipped down to four per cent this year.
Nokia tried their luck with in house OS Symbian but it did not live up to their expectations. Eventually Nokia has tied up with Microsoft and are bullish on the performance of Windows 8 which would be available by the end of next month. Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer took to the stage in New York last month to help Nokia, the once mighty European mobile phone giant, unveil two new smart phones in a do or die bid by Nokia to create a hit product capable of taking on Apple and Samsung. It’s a do or die situation for Nokia as this is a very crucial time for the company. Nokia has been in News not for its product’s success but for plant and research centre closures, laying off staffs and losing its place to Samsung. The original Lumia handsets, unveiled last autumn, have sold 6 million units this year compared with iPhone's 61 million units in the first six months of 2012. Retailers withdrew marketing and promotion because no one wants to sell customers a device that ages in a few months.
However, there is some positive to be drawn from Nokia’s latest product. Windows 8 has brought some relief for Nokia as they have used tiles instead of static icons and they are step ahead in the design terms from IOS. Handsets have a clever range of new features: Bing search lenses, screens that can be used with gloves on, and improved camera software, although the camera is still a disappointing 8 megapixels. And of course the Windows live tiles user interface that is in many ways more modern than the iPhone. The WinKia partnership will not produce an overnight revolution, but it does have a slow build potential.
India is still a safe bet for Nokia as India's total mobile handset shipments topped 102.43 million units, of which only 5.50 million were smart phones. The only reason is majority of users specially who are 35 or 40 yrs of age are not that tech savvy and for them calling means pressing buttons without bothering if its touch screen or not. They will listen to radio or few songs in their mobiles without bothering the sound quality and they will take pictures once in a while without bothering the megapixels. But the competition given by the smaller players like karbon and Micromax is bothering Nokia even in their domain of non smart phone category. And from business point of view, these phones generate very less profit, thus leaving Nokia only in the hands on Windows 8.