The Big Questions for Nokia to Answer at Nokia World

Ever since Nokia made the decision to partner with Microsoft and standardize on Windows Phone software to drive Nokia hardware, I have become more optimistic on Nokia’s future.

Enough so that I felt compelled to attend Nokia World in London, which starts next week on the 26th. I am going there in the hopes to gain a better understanding of several key things from both Nokia and hopefully from Microsoft as well.

In my opinion Nokia needs to address three key things in order for me to believe they can be relevant in the worldwide smart phone market conversation.

The first thing I will be looking for is the quality in design of the their new hardware. In many countries smart phones are also status symbols, things people want to show off in public, like a fashion statement. Therefore, Nokia needs to release hardware that can become or be seen as an object of desire.

The second thing I will be looking at is how, if anything, they have differentiated the Nokia experience on top of Windows Phone. My biggest concern for Windows Phone going forward is that they create the “sea of sameness” where other than design all devices are the same.

Differentiation is absolutely essential in mature and maturing markets. Because of that, I am hoping that Microsoft is beginning to work on ways that they can help their partners differentiate and compete in more than just hardware.

The last thing I will be looking at is branding. A company’s brand has become extremely critical in so many countries with regards to consumer electronics. Nokia, especially in the US, has little to no consumer mind share. Yet on a global scale the Nokia brand is still strong.

InterBrand ranks them currently at number 14, however, they suffered a 15% decline since 2010.
Although the Nokia brand is strong, I would content, that it is not synonymous with innovation and forward thinking technology. These are key things as consumer look to make investments in these devices for the future.

It will be interesting to see how, if at all, Nokia addresses these topics at Nokia World next week. I am optimistic, but then again I am an eternal optimist.

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Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst and the head of primary research at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research and he is responsible for studying over 30 countries. Full Bio

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