Nokia reloads for a mobile blitzkrieg – in India

Nokia reloads for a mobile blitzkrieg – in IndiaIf you thought Nokia was taking it easy until it miraculously churns out a Windows Phone 7 handset in, ahem, 2012, think again. In one market, 40 new handsets have been lined up between now and December, and 12 of them are smartphones, smoking hot from the burning Symbian platform.

The Hindustan Times call it the Nokia blitz attack, and no wonder: hardly a tech blog hasn't written off Nokia and Symbian as has-beens in these past few weeks, so the sudden announcement of 12 new Nokia smartphones for the Indian market comes as a sneak attack out of the Finnish smoke.

But there really isn't anything blitzy or sneaky about it: last week Nokia's Purnima Kochikar reassured Symbian Developers with the promise of long-term support for the platform in both hard- and software.

And Mr Smoking Platform himself, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, made some interesting remarks on Friday when he spoke to the Financial Post.

While visiting his old stomping grounds in Canada he put a lot of emphasis on Nokia's strong position in the 'developing markets'. And the figures are astonishing:

"From a North American perspective, it’s hard to observe, but as you travel the world and you go into a rural part of India and you discover that lining the main street of a mid-size city there are dozens of stores advertising Nokia products – we have, in India, 204,000 retail outlets selling Nokia devices."

As the Big E rambled on in Friday's Q&A session he also reminded North American readers of the fact that Nokia, not Apple or Microsoft, have recently been rated the "most engaging" brand of the western breed in China.

So we have the two largest markets this planet has to offer firmly under Nokia's control, right? Well. not quite as firmly as Mr Elop and the Hindustan Times make it sound.

Google-search "Android gaining in India" and you get some eight million hits. In Q3 of 2010 Android reached a 9% smartphone share in India, and although no exact figures are available for, well, right now, it is without any question an upward trend.

But doubts aside, Nokia obviously takes its own warnings seriously: In its annual financial report to the US SEC the company did not pussyfoot around the risks inherent to the engagement with Microsoft.

And pampering its strongest markets with a "blitz" of new Symbian devices seems like a wise move if your trying to cover all bases. One lesson is clear: Nokia have not "dumped" Symbian. Not yet.

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Julias  Apr. 4, 2011 at 18:01

Excellent information packed article and that is exactly the sort of thing i look for to read when i'm browsing for mobile news!..It's good to take off the eurocentric glasses for once!!


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