Bear with me guys, this is a random post that really has no objective except to get my ideas out infront of me, unfortunately you might have to suffer through them. Skipping through the anecdote of what brought this on the other day I was in “Jarir” the largest Bookstore/Electronics place in Saudi Arabia; who very recently have gotten an exclusive stock of the 808 Pureview (for a very reasonable 2000SAR = 530 USD which actually got me to buy one- but that’s another story). What interested me though was the fact that the display panel in the center of the electronics area (where you would usually spot the high end phones/latest phones) had the iPhone 4s, Samsung Galaxy S3, Nokia 808 and surprise surprise the Nokia N9. The N9 is almost a year old now and is by no means “new”, Nokia have released well over 10 phones after it in the past year- and some of those are pretty good phones, so why did the N9 have the same price-tag as the brand-new 808 (yes also 530 USD)?
That’s when I realized that “latest” doesn’t necessarily mean “new” at least not in this case, for all intents and purposes the N9 IS Nokias flagship phone in the Middle East, Gulf, North Africa and everywhere else where Lumias aren’t available- till now any Nokia store in the region has the N9 front and center on the show room, with swipe posters all up on the walls.
As I was playing around on the 808 a random customer next to me spoke up and said “Nokia can never be anything anymore, now it’s all about Samsung and iPhone” (ironically he was buying a blackberry- but that’s besides the point). I felt like responding, proving him wrong but what could I say? what was there to prove that there are still some great devices being made? (this is not a cue for a flame-war, satisfaction rates on lumias prove that they are “loved” = “great”). For all intents and purposes Nokia had abandoned the area for the past year or so, dropping the N9 and disappearing, with no answer to the hordes of customers who bailed on Symbian and went to Droids and iPhones; the N9 is a great device, and has done it’s bit keeping Nokias name out here, but no single device can withstand the continuous onslaught of android phones pumped out, nor the monstrous iOS app store; let alone a single device that has been abandoned by its manufacturers.
In some countries (mostly Dubai/UAE) out of what seems to be sheer desperation the Lumia 800 was launched on a slightly smaller scale, being available but without the large advertisements and campaigns, but who in their right mind would by a device that doesn’t support his native language? If anything prematurely launched software will do alot more harm than good, no matter how many units are sold the word of mouth will be “that phone- HAH! it doesn’t even support Arabic” even after WP8 brings it’s unicode Arabic/Hindi/Hieroglyphics support; reputations aren’t easy to shed just take a look at what the original S^3 did to the whole Symbian name.
Back to the main idea, it fell upon the N9 to represent Nokia in its leave of absence in these areas, but imagine if once Meego was scrapped the N9 was never released; could Nokia really have survived without a “gap device” something to keep people hooked until WPs were ready? Any way you look at it the N9 was a vital piece for Nokia no matter how many were sold (especially since after a whole year they’re still going for 500 USD); and by the way things are going it will remain the “Flagship” until October/September or whenever WP8 is coming, the question is can Nokia really risk going any longer without proper dedication to these markets?
Go ahead and share your thoughts guy, but as always be polite and considerate (thank you).
*Side Note: Are the N9s still in production? I can’t imagine all of what’s being sold is just the end of stock clearance, anybody have any clues about that?