Nokia's Windows Phones Threaten Android, iOS: 10 Reasons Why

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-10-26

Nokia's Windows Phones Threaten Android, iOS: 10 Reasons Why

As expected, Nokia on Oct. 26 showed off its first line of Windows Phone 7-based smartphones, called Lumia. The Lumia 800 is the more capable of the two devices and will be available in several countries around the world starting next month.

The Lumia 710 is a little less capable and will be available to users later this year. Customers in the United States, however, will be forced to wait until early next year to finally get their hands on these Nokia Windows Phone 7-based devices.

Now that Nokia has shown what it has planned for its Windows Phone 7 handsets, it's a good time to evaluate how they might impact Android- and iOS-based devices. Currently, Android devices and Apple's iPhone line are dominating the handset market. Nokia, once the world's most dominant handset maker, has watched its market share plunge. But with Lumia's help, all that might change.

Nokia is back in the smartphone game in a big way. And the company's current and future Windows Phone 7-based devices might just threaten Android-based handsets and Apple's iPhone.

Read on to find out why:

1. Nokia understands design

One thing about Nokia is that it knows how to create nice-looking smartphones that people actually want. The Lumia 800 is especially appealing. The device comes in several colors with a prominent 3.7-inch touch screen to trump the iPhone's 3.5-inch option. It also features a 1.4GHz processor and an 8-megapixel camera. Does the Lumia 800 match the iPhone 4S on design? No. But it certainly bests the vast majority of handsets out there. And that could have a positive impact on its sales.

2. It's an international game

Nokia has already been criticized for only offering its Lumia handsets outside of the U.S. But further inspection reveals that it's a good idea. Too often, people in the U.S. think that their country will determine the success or failure of a device. And every time, those people are wrong. Even if a device sells poorly in the U.S., it might be a huge success internationally, and vice versa. Long an international player, Nokia understands that and realizes that with the right marketing, it could start winning back a significant portion of the international handset market that it has lost in recent years to the Apple's iPhone and Android handsets.

3. The company still ships boatloads of devices

Beyond that, it's important to consider that although Nokia's market share has declined over the last few years, the company is still selling millions of mobile devices every year. That installed base of customers who continue to purchase Nokia handsets could play into the company's favor as it starts to capitalize on its Windows Phone 7 partnership with Microsoft. The last thing critics should do is marginalize the reach and influence Nokia has around the world.

4. Nokia can pump out new handsets with ease

As Nokia has shown in the past, it has no trouble developing a line of handsets and getting them onto store shelves within just a few months. That could be integral to the company's ability to gain market share from Android handsets and the iPhone. The fact is the Lumia 800 and 710 are just the beginning of what will likely be a long line of Windows Phone 7-based handsets to leave its factories. A year from now, handset vendors might be looking down their barrels at a dozen Windows Phone 7 smartphones designed for many different customers.

Nokias Future Depends on Windows Phone 7 Success


5. Consider the enterprise

The enterprise could very well be the wild card in this entire argument. Android is having an exceedingly difficult time making its way to the enterprise as IT managers realize that the operating system just isn't designed for them. Apple says that more companies are warming to the idea of adopting the iPhone, but by and large, RIM's BlackBerry platform still reigns supreme. So far, Windows Phone 7 hasn't caught fire in the enterprise, mainly because it's still relatively new to the market. But let's not forget that the operating system comes with SharePoint integration, support for Outlook and a host of other enterprise-friendly features that could appeal to those customers. If companies start to realize that and Nokia can grab smartphone market share, its handsets might just jump to the top of the list of products enterprises are willing to support.

6. A proof of concept for other vendors?

The biggest issue for Microsoft right now is that it's having some trouble inking deals with handset vendors to use its operating system. If Nokia's devices are successful-which is entirely possible-all that could change. Microsoft has needed a proof of concept for months to help it steal market share. And at least right now, Nokia's devices appear to be just that.

7. Add another major competitor to the mix

When Nokia was firmly committed to Symbian, it was great news for Apple. The company knew that the aging Symbian OS just wouldn't cut it against iOS even though Nokia has a loyal following around the world. Now that Nokia has Windows Phone 7-based devices ready to go, all that has changed. Nokia is now a worrisome competitor for Apple, and something that the company must keep in mind as it makes product decisions going forward.

8. Think about wireless carriers

Right now, most wireless carriers both in the U.S. and internationally are relying upon sales of Android-based handsets and the iPhone to bolster earnings. That means that in large part, they've lost much of their leverage with handset manufacturers. And as history has shown, losing this leverage is something carriers don't like. But with Nokia now joining the Windows Phone 7 fray, keep an eye on carriers. Trying to regain some lost leverage, they might welcome Nokia devices with open arms and do their best to promote them. If so, Android handsets and the iPhone could be hurt.

9. The long-term emerging markets

Although the devices aren't running Windows Phone 7, Nokia also announced today that it's launching the Asha family of handsets designed for emerging markets. It's an important move, and something that must be considered in all discussions on Nokia. Unlike too many companies, Nokia understands that the future of the mobile business is in the emerging markets. As long as it can establish a foothold in those countries now, it can eventually get them to adopt Windows Phone 7-based devices later. Make no mistake, Nokia views its strategy as a long-term game and not something that will be determined in the next few months. Google and Apple must also keep that in mind.

10. An OS with promise

All this talk of Nokia leaves out one key fact: Windows Phone 7 has promise. If Nokia had stuck with Symbian, the company wouldn't have had any chance of putting up a fight against Apple and Android handset makers. But with Windows Phone 7, it does. Microsoft's operating system, due mainly to the Mango update, is now more capable than ever at taking on iOS and Android. And Nokia is ready to capitalize on that.

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