In a world of Nokia that’s waiting for the Nokia N8 (and successors) while competitors continue to innovate and advance, I thought I’d take a rather tongue in cheek look at what might happen with future devices should Nokia as a company merge with some of those competitors.
Note this is not meant to be a serious article, a realistic analysis, nor do I have any inside information about any upcoming takeovers. This is more of an exercise in thinking out loud from someone who doesn’t claim to be an expert on such things…
1. Merging with Research in Motion (“Nokia in Motion”?)
Symbian is probably here to stay, as is MeeGo. Blackberry OS has its perks, but to be honest most of the good stuff with Blackberry devices lies in their messaging strengths, which were largely written in the same MIDP Java that Symbian already supports. Nokia’s own messaging software on their devices has drawn criticism over the years, and has never really improved much. They’ve simply added extra email connectors over the top that create confusion and annoyance, whereas Blackberry users have loved every minute of their experience.
Fortunately for Nokia, everything else about Blackberry OS is easily outdone by Symbian. Plus, Symbian supports more than just Java for its application development.
Worth an extra note is that some of the most popular Blackberry devices have been those aimed at enterprise with the very small qwerty keyboards, akin to some of Nokia’s E-series devices. I imagine a merger with RIM would see a lot more high quality devices in this form factor appearing, possibly with a load of multimedia hardware and software thrown in to show off what Nokia is good at.
2. Merging with Apple (“Appia”?)
Combining Apple’s innovations and success stories with the iPhone with Nokia’s hardware expertise and raw sales counts would likely lead to explosive results. Assuming the executives didn’t end up in some sort of Battle Royale situation on an desserted island in the Pacific, we’d probably see a lot of interesting results.
First and foremost, we’d see the number of devices output by the combined company probably easily countable on one hand – one device for each of Nokia’s current choice of letter prefixes perhaps, each with similar hardware and almost identical software, but in different appearances (different form factors, screen resolutions, camera positions, etc.)
The choice between the operating systems on the devices would be tricky. Clearly Apple’s iPhone has the edge as far as user experience and application stores go, and so iOS would need to stick around. However, Nokia’s shown time and again that Symbian is stable, secure, and easier to develop from. Perhaps the answer will be to throw higher specced, Nokia-standard hardware into a device running iOS, and throw in some multitasking and a few other Symbian-isms. Maybe there would still be 2 sets of devices in the market. Or perhaps we might see devices that can dual-boot iOS and Symbian based on needs?
To be honest, it’s more likely that whichever company leads the merge will work to crush the efforts of the other, absorbing a few of the opposition’s good ideas into their own flagship devices. At least the patent war would be over though.
3. Merging with Google (“Gookia”?)
Ignoring the most entertaining name so far, merging with Google is perhaps the most unlikely of these unlikely combinations. Apart from anything else, I expect a lot of their services would suddenly gain the Ovi brand, possibly even the main search engine after a few years, albeit alongside Google’s name.
But that aside, Android would probably not last long in a Gookia World. Symbian would carry on as always, of course, but Android would likely get absorbed in their high-end devices along with Maemo. Perhaps MeeGo would gain a few more project teams, and we’d end up with MeeGoid?
The key point to note is that this merge would perhaps mean the least changes to the parent companies overall. Most of Google’s various ventures would continue to develop as before, and Nokia would keep selling Symbian and Series 40 devices by the millions. However, the pool of resources for the very high-end phones would likely give Gookia a major advantage over its competitors – iPhone and Blackberry devices might even start to decline in popularity, though of course there’ll always be fanboys.
And the rest…
Of course, there are other companies we could consider. Merging with Microsoft (“Nokrosoft”?) would likely see the Nokia name and products fade into obscurity over the following decade. Going with HP (“Nokia HP” is the best I could come up with) to join with old rival Palm would likely be another where the Nokia name get phased out, but the devices themselves would probably continue to develop in a similar manner to the iPAQ brand continued in its years beyond Compaq.
Much of this is just idle speculation offered so that readers can consider the interesting, or entertaining outcomes that might follow these merges. Though, always consider that the acquisition of Palm by HP was a surprise to many, and so perhaps some of these ideas aren’t as far-fetched as we might assume.
By all means offer some thoughts in the comments. I imagine some of our readers can come with far more comedy around the topic than I might manage with my company names…