Bumpy week for Nordic handset makers

nokia-e71[Finland/Sweden] Last week was somewhat of a roller-coaster ride for the Nordic mobile phone companies. It started with a hurricane of tweets and blogposts as Spotify was launched for Nokia phones with Symbian. There was also some confusion about whether or not Nokia would continue using Symbian or switch to Linux based Maemo. Nokia later denied that they are abandoning Symbian for Maemo.

It seems like the people at Nokia are having a difficult time making up their mind, however. According to the company’s head of PR, Oskar Södergren, Nokia usually doesn’t release details about future products (huh?), but will stay faithful to Symbian for their future smartphones. He says that Nokia will use Symbian in phones that are aimed at a large audience and Maemo for smartphones that can also double up as mini computers.

The company’s latest attempt at becoming cool again is the N900, which runs on Maemo, and was released this week. So far the launch has gone well and the phone sold out in record time in Finland.

It also seems like Nokia themselves have finally realised that all this talk about operating systems isn’t really helping the company. In an interview with German magazine Handelsblatt, Nokia’s head of marketing Anssi Vanajoki says that the company has focused too much on technology and not enough on design and marketing.

The company’s market share has fallen to 37 percent. According to Vanajoki that is because Nokia hasn’t been competitive enough in the more shallow aspects of the industry. Which might be why they’ve also lost out on the fame and glory that comes with producing the world’s most expensive mobile phone.

iphone-goldNokia’s luxury model Vertu Signature Cobra (200, 000 euro) has now been beaten by none other than the iPhone. British company Goldstriker International have produced an iPhone with a casing containing 136 diamonds and 271 grams of 22 carat gold. Buyers will have to fork out about 2 million euros for that one. However, looking at Goldstriker International’s website, I personally wouldn’t want to transfer 2 million euros into their account even if I had that kind of money. I’m sure some iPhone addict in Dubai will though.

If Nokia’s doing alright, it’s looking a lot gloomier for Swedish competitor Sony Ericsson. Two of the company’s smartphones have been withdrawn from sales in the UK. First Carphone Warehouse and then Phones 4U halted sales of Sony Ericsson’s Satio because of problems with the phone’s software. Later both retailers also dropped the Aino model because of similar problems.

According to Sony Ericsson the problems are limited to customers in the UK, but the timing is still a blow to the company. Sony Ericsson have put a lot of faith into these new releases and hoped that the sales would pick up before Christmas. The company’s market share has halved during the last year and the recent problems aren’t helping.