Nokia is set to release its first smartphone with Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system installed on it. The Finnish company has decided to shelve Symbian and MeeGo platforms for its new smartphone expected to be released in the 4th quarter.
Technology analysts predict the phone will look similar to the N9 released in June. The smartphone, is the first one to replace the traditional home button with a swipe of the hand. The N9 is made up of a colourful polycarbonate material. It runs the MeeGo operating system. ?We will drive this trend towards reduction and more natural forms. Compare that to the black, grey and metallic rounded-corner rectangles you are seeing in the market,? said Marko Ahtisaari, Nokia’s head designer.
Nokia is focusing on highlighting its hardware credentials. Mr. Ahtisaar is the son of Martti Ahtisaari, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and reports directly to the chief executive of the company, Stephen Elop. The designer said, “The inherent color in the polycarbonate allows us to do things in an interesting way, and that will continue to be important as a simple symbol of choice.”
The operating system that Nokia has settled on using for its new phone sports a modern graphic interface that allows users to operate the phone with fewer clicks compared to that of the iPhone and Android platform.
For Ahtassari and his design team that come from across the world, creativity springs from developing innovative designs inspired by observations made of phone users in their environments. They aim to develop better and more natural ways to use phones and frequently release prototypes in order to achieve the simplicity and precision needed. “When you look around in restaurants in Helsinki, you’ll see couples having their heads down instead of having eye contact and being aware of the environment they’re in,” said Ahtisaari. The new phone will allow users to keep their heads up, thanks to its efficient operating system.
Market Share Changes
Nokia Corp. has experienced a fall in its market share, 15.2% in the second quarter, and 38.1 % last year. This stems mainly from the company?s failure to successfully compete with Apple Inc.?s iPhone and Google Inc.?s Android platform.
It significantly delayed its release of touch screen handsets after Apple brought out the iPhone in 2007 and it failed to bring out the clamshell handset after the release of Motorola?s Razr.
But Nokia has made progress, and its ranking when it comes to market share, it is in 3rd place, behind Apple and Samsung. Last year it launched 28 devices and more than 483 million phones. Nokia attained a lot of commercial success when it released the world?s first smartphone, the Nokia 9000 Communicator, and when its handsets were featured in movies, such as the first ?Matrix? movie that popularized the banana-shaped handset, Nokia 8110.
When commenting on catering to customer choice, Ahtisaari said that Nokia will be creating a demand by bringing to the table a design that customers will be glad to choose. “Designing for true mobility makes it easier for people to have more eye contact and be aware of their environment, and is an example of what people would not explicitly ask for but love when they get it.”
And what is the future for Nokia customers? They can expect more touch screens to be released with physical keyboards, such as the E6 and the C3 handsets. Many people still want keyboards, as per Mr. Ahtisaari?s observation and the phone experiences to be linked to ,?maps and information about where you are, mapping the world in a way that we have not even imagined possible,? he said.
Sources: Information Week, Wall Street Journal