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What services does Nokia really offer and how they compare to their rivals.

| May 6, 2011 | 110 Replies

A lot of negativity has been made of Nokia’s decision to adopt the Windows Phone software ecosystem as their primary smartphone platform going forward. A decision seen as frivolous and ignorant to some while seen as a last ditch move by what’s seen as an utterly failing company ( a sentiment I disagree with). The question is what exactly does/did Nokia bring to the table in the smartphone market as compared to their rivals and what services could really be massive differentiators in the future.

I guess we should mention the biggest asset first, Navteq. Initially valued at 5.7 billion Euros when acquired by Nokia in Q4 2007. A lot of people play down the significance of Nokia’s possession of this asset. Most in fact see it as little more than a bullet point on the list of things that a smartphone needs to have in this growing age of integration. Funny enough then that Navteq is the single largest producer of map data not named Google. If you’ve bought or own a GPS enabled device or bought an application made by Garmin or Magellan, planned a trip using Yahoo! Maps, Bing Maps or even MapQuest or even driven a car with integrated GPS navigation, chances are you’re using Navteq’s and by proxy, Nokia’s Maps.

Nokia pretty much owns the map data landscape and if applications like Nokia indoor navigation & Ovi Maps 3D are any indication of things to come, then there’s no doubt that Nokia intend to innovate and improve  on their current offerings. The issue thus far with Nokia however, has been finding ways to monetize this map data in a user-facing way that doesn’t promote some partners at the expense of others. Overt in-app advertising is generally frowned upon or ignored altogether but one could imagine how “promoted restaurants” in line with users’ previous searches, user location and other pertinent information may represent a way for Nokia to increase monetization opportunities.

 

The Ovi Store is Nokia’s next biggest asset both in terms of reach and value to the company.

Summarising the statistics (correct as of April 12 2011) :

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  • 5 Million downloads a DAY
  • 85% of users with Ovi accounts visit “regularly”
  • Active users download ~8.5 applications, games and/or items from the store a month
  • 40,000 apps available in the store (Editor’s Note, not all of these are available for every device for obvious reasons, actual numbers per device will vary).
  • Store available in 32 languages in 190 different markets, with 170 of them able to purchase content via credit card.

Those statistics are obviously massive in the grand scheme of things especially when compared to similar ventures like Samsung’s Bada apps and store and RIM BlackBerry App World and Palm’s (HP now) App store.

The unfortunate case is that the Ovi Store  still pales in comparison to Google’s Android Market  and Apple’s App Store in terms of content available and in the case of Apple especially the quality of content available. Furthermore, the Ovi Store’s facility for updating applications is woeful at best and pathetic at worst.

That said, Nokia’s huge presence worldwide has allowed it more diverse relations with payment service providers around the world allowing them to allow developers to receive compensation in easily 5 times as many countries as Google’s offerings for example. It is these relations rather than the curation of their own applications store architecture and requisite overhead that Nokia can and likely will bring to their new venture with Microsoft.

Mind you, I see Nokia having their own section in the store for their own special and likely powerful applications in the future ;).

 

The next most significant asset for Nokia is less of a monetizing opportunity and more of a differentiator/drawing factor. A great many smartphone buyers (usually the most tech-savvy of the lot) go down the Android route for the excellent integration of Google services like Mail, Maps, Gtalk (with video chat now on select devices), Calendar syncing etc. The N900 with it’s nigh-on perfect integration of Skype and similar IM services and the promise that MeeGo had in integrating similar cloud services with the device. RIM’s ability to somehow draw casual users to their platform using little more than the seamless integration of BBM.

Funnily enough, Nokia has had (continues to have?) an avenue to exploit our growing need for easy, real-time communication. Ovi Chat provided this avenue and with the right device integration and promotion could have been seen as a brilliant reason to own a Nokia. I have memories of using this oft-neglected service in Summer of 2010 and remember ignoring it as an update to my 5800 even further back than that. Alas with that failed opportunity and the new path taken by Nokia comes an opportunity for redemption. Whether they can bring it back from the brink and give it the integration with popular services and devices remains to be seen but it’s an opportunity I feel they should give a strong look towards.

 

In any case, it should be blatantly obvious to even the most bitter skeptics that Nokia is quite a bit more than a basic OEM, even if they no longer create and solely manage the software ecosystem that they’ll be using from here on. There are even more indications that are supportive of this view (Microsoft paying Nokia to adopt WP7 and hints of revenue sharing on some fronts). There’s a lot we don’t know about the details of this deal; something I’m sure the more wealthy investors in the company are privy to. There’s little doubt in my mind however,  that Nokia will be getting a lot out of this deal, something I’ll elaborate on at a later time

There are obviously other services that users will want/miss and if there are any you feel I’ve missed out please mention them in the  comments below.

 

Sources: NavteqForum NokiaGoogle

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Category: Nokia

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So you've read something I've written. yay!! As you already know, my name is Andre and I'm currently a student based in Atlanta. Much like Jay, I pretty much blog here in my free time. Follow me on twitter @andre1989 or contact me directly at Andre(at)mynokiablog(dot)com. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions.