Nokia posted a video Aug. 29 of a coy and lovely woman riding a bicycle in dusky evening light, footage oddly more notable for the ominous tension it builds-find me the person who doesn’t uneasily fear that she’s pedaling toward an unfortunate fate-than for the message it delivers at the end: “5.9.12. Things are about to change.”
Nokia has a big introduction coming up. On 5.9.12 it will by all expectations show off a Microsoft Windows Phone 8-running smartphone (or two) at a New York City event. The launch and device are critical. The brand has been shedding users, has yet to really wow the world through its still-newish partnership with Microsoft, and potentially alienated millions of supporters after Microsoft announced in June that the pair’s Windows Phone 7.5-running Lumia smartphones won’t be able to upgrade to Windows Phone 8.
This launch is critical, which makes it surprising how little hype has been built around the event, the announcement or the phones. And how weak or ineffectual even small efforts like this have been.
“In light of the June announcement, which came on the heels of a lukewarm reception of the Lumia 900, despite a massive advertising campaign with AT&T (March 2012) in which the carrier stated the Lumia 900 would be the ‘biggest launch ever,’ I don’t think it’s surprising that Nokia is taking a more laid-back approach to advertising,” Jack Narcotta, an analyst with Technology Business Research (TBR) told eWEEK. “Nokia is in the midst of a large workforce reduction, and as a result, it lacks the human and financial resources to create and sustain a high-profile marketing campaign for its new Windows 8 phones.”
Ken Hyers, also an analyst with TBR, expects that Nokia hasn’t wanted to further depress the market for the current Lumia smartphones, and that the big marketing blitz is coming.
“I don’t think they got the launch they expected when they first introduced the Lumia line last year, despite the hundreds of millions in worldwide marketing they spent,” said Hyers. “So I see them doing a reset right now. From a timing perspective, this launch should be much better than the last one. This time around they are introducing a new line of Lumia devices at the same time as PC makers will be introducing new Windows 8 PCs, laptops, Ultrabooks and tablets.”
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has said he expects to benefit from a synergy created through Microsoft’s Windows 8 announcement.
“We anticipate that Microsoft will launch a bold and aggressive marketing campaign for Windows 8, which we believe will have a halo effect for Lumia,” Elop told analysts during the phone maker’s July 19 earnings call.
TBR’s Hyers pointed out that the recent verdict in the Samsung-Apple patent trial-Samsung was told to pay Apple more than $1 billion for too closely copying its products-could also work in Nokia’s favor.
“A lot of Android OEMs are going to be backfooted, trying to revamp their products to avoid facing court injunctions that block them from importing their devices. So there’s a window of opportunity here for Nokia’s devices to really build on the buzz surrounding Windows 8, while at the same time the Android device market is in some disarray,” Hyers explained.
With the carriers also expected to get behind Windows Phone, he added, “I think that Nokia, this time around, is in a lot better position to make a real impact on the market with Lumia.”