If you were to sit down and look at all the devices Nokia has for sale in the United States, you may come away thinking that they weren’t in the business of making impressive devices. With only a few exceptions, Nokia’s domestic offerings are low-end, S40-powered talk-and-texters — hardly what one would expect from the self-proclaimed “world leader” of the cell phone industry.
It seems as though the higher-ups at Nokia are starting to feel the same way. Instead of sullying the image of their North American operation, they have announced their intention to kill their low-cost S40 and Symbian smartphone business in an interview with AllThingsD. Instead, they’re putting all of their resources into one big push with Windows Phone 7.
Nokia wasn’t always this clumsy when it came to handling the United States. In 2002, Nokia held onto as much as 35% of the domestic mobile market, thanks in part to some innovative feature phone designs. As the country made the move to smartphones, though, Nokia stubbornly stuck to its S40 and Symbian guns and lost much of the relevance they had worked to gain.
It didn’t help that Nokia’s trouble with carriers also forced them to sell many of their more impressive devices unsubsidized by themselves. Customers, not used to purchasing phones without steep carrier discounts, paid them no mind. Currently, AT&T only has one Nokia device in their inventory, while T-Mobile stocks two.
It’s quite the gamble Nokia is making, as they won’t have a safety net in case their Windows Phone ambitions don’t pan out. The implications aren’t lost on Nokia Inc. President Chris Weber.
“It will be Windows Phone and the accessories around that. The reality is if we are not successful with Windows Phone, it doesn’t matter what we do.”