Nokia will announce its first Windows Phone smartphone or smartphones at the Nokia World event in about two hours, at 09:00 in London (about 11:00 in Finland). Pictures of some presentation material of two Nokia Lumia 710 (aka ”Sabre”) and 800 (aka ”Sea Ray”) phones leaked already yesterday, published for example by Engadget and WinRumours.
Some sites also claim there could be a third model coming with code name ”Ace” which would supposedly have a larger 4,3-inch screen.
At the moment all the Windows Phone smartphones look and feel almost alike. How could Nokia and other vendors differentiate from their competitors? Below is my humble wish list:
- Better cameras. All the Windows Phone devices I’ve tried so far have very crappy cameras without Xenon flash or at least decent LED light.
- Higher quality materials. I don’t want cheap looking plastic in a smartphone that costs 500 euros or more. Aluminium (like Nokia N8) or polycarbonate (like Nokia N9) casings could be great.
- Do they all really have to be black or grey? I want more vibrant colours, such as cyan, magenta, blue or even pink.
- Good offline maps and navigation with a life-time license.
- More physical QWERTY keyboards. So far I’ve noticed just two models from Dell and HTC.
A couple of days ago I interviewed research company IDC’s Francisco Jeronimo (for my news article in Finnish). He said it could take until 2013 or even 2014 before Nokia can really get to mass market volumes with their Windows Phone devices. Nokia is stuck with Symbian smartphones for a long time, even though their market share is decreasing fast especially in Western Europe.
IDC expects Windows Phone to gain some 12 percent market share in Western Europe and about 8 percent globally by the end of 2012, of which IDC expects Nokia to represent the majority part. This means Microsoft will need to do a lot if they really want to put a spurt on Apple and Google.
According to IDC, Nokia has an important role in helping Microsoft to get Windows Phone distributed around the world and spread to lower price points. IDC’s Jeronimo said we could see Windows Phone smartphones from Nokia for less than 200 euros by the end of 2012, if their products are well received by consumers and operators.
Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer also praised co-operation with Nokia when he made a quick appearance at the BUILD 2011 event in Anaheim in September. Ballmer also said Nokia will take Windows Phones to the masses.
Jeronimo said Nokia’s biggest strengths compared to other Windows Phone vendors are hardware design, effective world-wide logistics and services, such as maps, music and videos.
It’s interesting to hear what Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop and other Nokia executives will tell today about their own services and software on the Windows Phone platform, and can they differentiate from HTC and Samsung here too.