NEWS ANALYSIS: Nokia, while struggling to rebuild its brand, keeps managing to dissuade consumers from buying its phone. Early advocates of the brand are feeling baffled by the recent Windows Phone 8 announcement.
Nokia and Microsoft, since
announcing their partnership in February 2011
, have been working to
convince consumers and professionals that with their smartphone collaboration theyre swinging for the highest fence. The partners maintain that these are phones of the most
notable craftsmanship and cutting-edge technologyphones that will compete
against the Apple iPhone and high-end Android devices and re-establish Nokia as
the worlds top-selling phone maker.
It shocked many when at the Microsoft Windows
Phone Summit event in San Francisco June 20, the pair, after
introducing the very lovely and feature-rich Windows Phone 8
system and sharing that a software development kit (SDK) will arrive later this
summer, confirmed that current smartphones running Windows Phone 7.5, such as
the Lumia 900phones it seemed that sweat and tears had been shed to sellwould
not be upgradeable to Windows Phone 8.
The 7.5 handsets will instead receive an
update to 7.8, which includes the Windows Phone 8 start screenwhich has been
improved with, among other things, the ability to include more colors and
dictate which of four size options a user would like each app tile to beand a
few new apps.
Windows Phone 8 is a generation shift in technology,
which means that it will not run on existing hardware, Microsofts Joe
Belfiore explained in a June 20 blog post
But we care deeply about our existing customers and want to keep their phones
fresh, so were providing the new start screen in this new update.
Tech writer Stephen Robinson responded as
surely Microsoft and Nokia anticipated some people would. He Tweeted
Microsoft blew any chance it had for me to support WP. Back to iPhone full
time. Lumia few months old, wont get latest update. Insane.
Technology Business Research Senior Analyst
Ken Hyers, relating to the sentiment, says hes baffled how Nokia keeps telling
potential customers its phasing out its devices, which, surprise, surprise,
stops people from buying them.
I just dont understand why Nokia [has] been
so inept in how it has handled its product road map. It publicly abandoned
Symbian long before it had Windows Phone products, and now its telling the
world that its current Lumia phones have a very limited shelf-life, measured in
months, Hyers told eWEEK
Hyers added, I think we can expect a very
bad summer for Nokia as consumers turn their backs on the company.
Neil Mawston, a Strategy Analytics analyst in
the United Kingdom, views the move as simply a necessary one for the pairs
If the new Windows Phone 8 product is strong
enough, any complaints about backward-incompatibility with Windows Phone 7 will
quickly be forgotten, said Mawston. We think the benefits of upgrading old
phones to new operating systems are sometimes overstated by some smartphone
fans. Better operating systems often require better hardware, and running a new
OS on aging hardware can cause slower or buggier operations, and this is not an
Some might ask just how far ahead Nokia has
the luxury of looking. Just days ago, Nokia
announced it plans to lay off another 10,000 workers
, in addition to a
previously announced 20,000, and to cut $2 billion in spending in other areas by
the end of 2013. During its first quarter of 2012, it announced operating
losses of nearly $2 billion.
developers at the Windows event were impressed
Gregory Gibbons, vice
president of business development at The Mobile Lab, told eWEEK
confidence that some of these advancements and the collaboration with
Microsoft will carry Nokiaothers are still skeptical.
Hyers colleague, analyst Jack Narcotta,
Tweeted June 21, Nokia thinks its taking batting practice when its really
the bottom of the 9th and theyre two strikes
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