TheVerge: ‘Nokia saw the future, but couldn’t build it” – Symbian stopped Nokia reaching Apple/Google’s success?
Another ‘look back’ article reminiscing Nokia’s yester-years. Nokia always had vision, it always had potential to be the best. But for one reason or another, they failed on execution. Frequently from bad management/poor decision making but also due to other factors.
Vlad Savov sees that everything Google and Apple are today is what Nokia wanted to become. Nokia saw the destiny of mobile and how it could infiltrate all of our lives. They spearheaded in designs and innovation.
It’s quite funny that now in hindsight, Vlad (who used to be on Engadget) praises the Nokia N8 hardware, particularly camera so highly. See this link on what I’m referring to. An aluminium phone, curvy sides with an awesome camera that protrudes. The only thing Nokia didn’t do right apparently, was software.
Well that’s possibly ‘Symbian’ software. I was all up and ready for Maemo. And N8 hardware internals could have benefitted from slightly beefier offerings, no?
Wildly optimistic and full of ambition. Those were some of the things I loved about Nokia, both in position as leader in mobile space and later as plucky underdog. Vlad pins the failure on Symbian – or at least the resistance to change, fearing of alienating the userbase by changing too much. Even some internally said Symbian was like a religion at Nokia, so that promising new OSes could not blossom.
Jumping to Android could have been a quick solution, but pride and possibly confidence in Nokia’s own platforms made sure they stuck to their own guns. Whilst you might think, hah, Anssi was wrong about peeing in your pants for warmth, Vlad actually finds those words prophetic due to the short term wins and longer term losses for the likes of HTC, Motorola and Sony.
The N9 was the revelation in hardware and software. Both seemed to finally match but it wasn’t given the chance. Elop said it wasn’t developing quickly enough. Nokia had already made deals to go with Microsoft’s WindowsPhone. In many of us, myself included, we thought that since Nokia had waited so long, they could have waited longer with MeeGo. But we’re just going to be recycling old arguments (as there are equally just as many to the contrary that indicated why Nokia couldn’t afford to wait).
The Fabula design won many awards, MeeGo Swipe UI won many hearts. The stylings of the pillowy design developed and evolved through Lumia, but the most recent Nokia Lumia 730 seem to sing of the N9 most closely again. But for Nokia fans perhaps, what they loved even more than Fabula was the OS within that flowed from the UX to the swipe friendly curved glass.
Vlad admits another wrong to Anssi’s claims that we’d have a DSLR in our pocket. Come the 808 PureView and 1020 and the world marvelled at what could be achieved. Even in some tests in certain settings, it had been shown that detail wise, the Nokia could outperform dedicated counterparts (even my 60D. No excuses on poor lenses, not right setting, only in certain conditions and being old. It’s still a DSLR).
In the end, we’re given examples of many others that had foreseen the future; Palm with Palm OS, Intel with mobile internet devices and Xerox with the GUI. Like them, Nokia has shown that whilst it’s awesome being first, it’s not always the key to success, especially when you do not capitalise on it.
Before iPhone, Nokia’s Symbian phones already had it all. The Nokia N95 compared to the first iPhone was lightyears ahead in features and quite rightly was a very successful handset for Nokia. But iPhone brought about a paradigm shift of user interaction and expectation from mobile. It changed the rules on how people wanted to use their phones. Yes, Nokia had better imaging, had flash, had GPS, had 3G, could record video, could download apps etc, etc. However these things slowly changed in order of importance for the consumer. This is where companies have to synchronise with; either delivering what the consumers are wanting right here, right now, or essentially telling them what they should want. Nokia’s products weren’t in harmony. Some maybe too far ahead of the curve, some behind. Either way, they couldn’t tell the right story to the consumer as their marketing was also naff (or at least in comparison to the likes of Apple that, well, at the time, showed such brilliance that their claims were often named ‘reality distortion field’ – the truth didn’t matter. You could be made to believe what they want you to believe).
Some say that Nokia is gone. Others might think that whilst the name is gone, they might be merged with another company that can finally deliver. Then there are those who are hoping again of a resurgence of old, when Nokia could possibly come back in 2016.