Is Nokia regaining its swagger?

Posted by: Stephen Baker on May 4, 2005

When I moved to Europe in 1998, Nokia was the hottest big company around, and its phones were cool. One I especially liked had the look and feel of a Zippo lighter. Its chief designer, Frank Nuovo, even got a big writeup in The New Yorker. But by the time I returned from Europe a couple years ago, Nokia seemed to have lost its edge—not to mention a huge hunk of its market value.

When Nuovo came by our offices a few weeks ago, I was prepared to be skeptical. But after checking out the new phones, for the first time in years I found myself experiencing… phone lust.

The coolest one was a pricy metalic handset, the 8800, View image that will sell for nearly $900 (if the phone companies don't subsidize it). Believe me, I won't be buying it. But I'll be wanting it--which is a good sign for Nokia. A savvy Swedish blogger, Per Mosseby, agrees. (He also discovered our blogspotting blog, you'll note.)

Reader Comments

Robert Anton Patterson

May 9, 2005 5:06 PM

Hope all is well. I've been reading the site for a while and recently read a report on the come back of Nokia through the launch of new value added phones. I've been doing some research regarding cell phone churn and came across a bit of information that might be of interest to your
readers and staff. I'd like to hear your thoughts on why people switch carriers. Do you think carrier models or features play more
importance in why users switch?

The reason I ask is that a new firm known as Sennari Mobile based in the USA is specializing in developing mobile games as a solution for limiting churn.

I did some research on the firm and they previously developed games such as the #1 downloaded mobile game in U.S. history, Jamdat Bowling, but recently they acquired the support of a number of industry big dogs on its team and has some funding of $2M.

The company is using mobile games as a way for consumers to stay loyal to certain phone carriers. Essentially gamers can earn "bling points" which will allow them to earn points towards prizes and products. It's a cool idea in my opinion.

The whole idea is to have gamers stay loyal to one particular carrier…sort of like airline loyalty or credit card loyalty. Sennari has a patent-pending loyalty platform and is the only current company
within this space. They have some more information at http://www.sennari.com/

Anyway I'd be interested in seeing an article run on your site about the future of loyalty programs in the tech. industry? Any thoughts you might share?

I found this information interesting to my research on cell phone churn and it might serve you in the future of games and cell phones.

Thanks for the great comments and analysis - keep them comin' - feel
free to hit me up with any questions or comments you might have,

Robert Anton Patterson

The Increment

May 9, 2005 7:38 PM

of course Nokia lost its way in Europe - it started bring out ugly phones, it was only the menus that kept the already converted to stay with Nokia, those who were then persuaded by Motorola's V3 style braved the menu and found it was fine to work....also Nokia missed a trick my not sorting out its 3G phones...but the other thing is that the asia pac phones started impacting - Samsung stormed the market...I think Nokia will find it difficult to regain lots of market share - you'll probably see the Chinese players coming through soon as soon as they've sorted the WCDMA vs CDMA issues out - I hope they stay WCDMA -it makes no sense to go CDMA...

the increment

Sherman Golbitz

May 10, 2005 3:53 PM

Buying a cell phone can be confusing, especially if you want to buy one not featured by your cell phone company. If I wanted a hot, new "Nokia" that Verizon didn't sell, how would I buy it and connect it to their services?

Jonathan

May 11, 2005 9:18 PM

One of the biggest challenges phone manufacturers face is not having direct contact with the phone user. Carriers typically include the phone as part of a service contract and as long as the contract is active the carrier no longer cares. The manufacturer ends up not getting feedback directly from the person actually using the phone which ultimately results in a failed product.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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