Nokia's 2010 Strategy Includes Symbian Overhaul

During Nokia's annual Capital Markets Day, the phone maker detailed its strategies for 2010, which include improvements to Symbian and two "major product milestones." Analysts worry that Nokia is falling behind Apple and RIM.

Nokia executives, looking to position the company for a successful 2010, offered a broad assessment of the entire mobile industry, at the phone maker's annual Capital Markets Day event in Helsinki, Finland, on Dec. 2.
At the event, Nokia executives discussed several ways the company is looking to achieve and sustain successes in the mobile device market in 2010. Part of that strategy includes demonstrating improvements to an upcoming version of the Symbian user interface.
Nokia's 2010 forecast comes at time when it's facing increasing competition from the likes of Apple's iPhone, Research in Motion's BlackBerry and a slew of Android-based devices in the global handset market.
While the largest mobile handset maker in the world, Nokia's market share has slipped during consecutive quarters, with the company seeming to struggle to again find the right path forward. In a Nov. 23 research note, Mark McKechnie, an analyst with Broadpoint AmTech, wrote that he expected Nokia to set a strategy at the meeting that included meeting large-volume orders with Symbian phones, and Maemo and Linus phones on the high end.
And indeed, Nokia said it has big plans for Symbian.
"In 2010, we will drive user experience improvements, and the progress we make will take the Symbian user interface to a new level," said Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, according to a statement from Nokia.
"As an operating system, Symbian has reach and flexibility like no other platform, and we have measures in place to push smartphones down to new price points globally, while growing margins," Kallasvuo continued. "I see great opportunity for Nokia to capture new growth in our industry, by creating what we expect to be the world's biggest platform for services on the mobile."
Nokia forecasted that in 2010, mobile device volumes will increase approximately 10 percent over 2009 numbers. Timo Ihamuotila, Nokia's chief financial officer, said the company was well-positioned to take advantage of this growth.
"Going into 2010, the overall mobile devices market is stabilizing and it is growing more in the areas where Nokia has competitive advantages," said Ihjamuotila. "We believe that by executing on the operational priorities we have set, Nokia will be competitive in both mobile phones and smartphones and will improve its value share."
Executives announced that Nokia will re-engineer the Symbian user interface, and introduce a "major product milestone" before the middle of 2010, and again toward the end of the year.
Other specified goals were to deliver Nokia's first Maemo 6-powered mobile computer in the second half of 2010; to increase the portion of touch and QWERTY devices in its smartphone portfolio; to expand its services business; to provide developers with better tools, to help grow the Ovi ecosytem; to further optimize the business model for the industry's lowest-cost mobile phones; and to continue building its service offerings to emerging markets.
Nokia is targeting to have its services sector deliver net sales of 2 billion Euro, or approximately $3 billion, in 2011, and to have 300 million active users for its services by the end of 2011.
In a Dec. 2 note, Broapoint AmTech's McKechnie said Nokia's announcements were in line with his expectations, and went on to write that Nokia's "European and emerging market strongholds [are] challenged by wider iPhone and Blackberry distribution. We remain concerned that despite a recovery for the overall industry in 2010, smartphone competition will move aggressively to [Nokia's] -backyard' in Europe."
He went on to say Broadpoint remains concerned about "weak smartphone unit shipments," and Nokia falling behind Research In Motion and Apple in the smartphone race.