3 Articles for 'Nokia'
- 2006/08/14 Nokia's Smart Move (1)
- 2006/07/24 iPod vs. Music phones
- 2006/06/03 Does a mobile phone manufacturer have a shot at Web 2.0? (1)
Nokia's Smart MoveMobile | 2006/08/14 22:28 | Web 2.0 Asia
It's an open secret around the industry that some carriers (especially more powerful ones) basically ask the phone manufacturers to be good boys and make the phones just as told by the carriers - not so much of gimmicks allowed.
But the manufacturers need to innovate despite all this - if they only try to stick to the manufacturers' guidelines and specs, they will soon find themselves lacking in unique differentiation factors and therefore competing solely on price.
And "competing solely on price" is equal to "getting one day destoryed by the Chinese cheap labor". In China, things are so cheap that they sell computers by weight.
I think Nokia's acquisition of Loudeye will greatly help the company to provide an end-to-end mobile music experience. Hence a smart move - In fact I think Nokia as a company is pretty smart.
Personally, I have some friends over at Nokia. At one time, I was taking a stroll with this guy who'd been with Nokia for years. It was around the time when Nokia's market share had slided to a mere twenty-something percent, possibly a historic low.
I asked him what was going on. He said, "It's just that Nokia people have been too proud. That's all. We are not dumb, and we will come back hard. You gotta watch out."
And that's exactly what happened. Look at Nokia today - they're amazing.
Although due to the professional conflict I guess I'm not supoosed to say this, but I like Nokia -- for these reasons.
1. The company is smart and successful - see above, plus the fact that they are making 10 phones a second and yet generating around 33% of profit margin.
2. The company alone represents a good portion of Finnish economy while being not evil. This is remarkable - how many global companies are feeding large number of countrymen, while not so much evil? (The "not evil" part excludes Russian Oligarches, who by the way do feed large number of countrymen.)
3. They seem to be doing a fairly good job of treating its people right. I haven't seen many guys who had been with Nokia and say bad things about the company. Yes, I've heard some stories but Nokia is a big company and therefore it would't be able to please everyone.
* Picture source: Mobile Crunch
I've got to catch up on my blog -- I've been swamped by all these meetings and projects.
According to this article, Apple has only 14% market share in the MP3 device market, while Nokia alone sells twice as many MP3 players as Apple does. The article is quite long, but a must read, if you are interested in mobile media.
My day job (well, sometime I work till evenings and nights) is to plan and implement new internet (fixed + mobile) services for the buyers of our mobile phones.
I'm a web guy - I have always been in the internet business (strategy and service planning) ever since I started work (circa 1997). Naturally, I've been following the Web 2.0 since its early days. To this day, I rarely miss reading feeds on web 2.0 -- about 50 of them (I try to keep the max # of feeds at under 50).
Of course this kind of practice makes me smarter, but as a professional, you don't just study; You gotta contribute and deliver, based on what you learned. So how do I align my personal interest with my professional one to create maximum synergy? The answer would be to apply my knowledge on Web 2.0 to our services.
Then the question becomes, does a mobile phone manufacturer (ie. Nokias and Motorolas) have any shot at becoming a significant player in Web 2.0? I think so, for some reasons.
First, a very important ingredient of Web 2.0 is edge content production (aka user generated content), and mobile phones are increasingly well-suited for creating and sharing media content.
- First, the "edge" part: Everyone has a phone, and he carries the phone everywhere with him. Some people jokingly say that mobile phones are the first electronic device in human history that the majority of people carry with them when they go to men's room (or women's).
- Second, the "content" part: Mobile phones are not only great multimedia consumption devices (Nokia being #1 maker of digital camera and MP3 players), but also great multimedia producing devices. One example: mobile phones can be the best device to podcast on. You talk into the phone, as you do all the time, do some editing (like putting in background music), send it - and there you have your podcast, nice and easy.
Also, besides the content, moblie phones can leverage on other C's of internet business quite effectively as well:
- Communication: Phones are by nature communication devices. SMS, MMS, email, chat all supported.
- Community: The address book in your mobile phone = your buddy list
- Context: Phones can do smart tagging (geo / time stamp and other auto tagging)
- Commerce: While users expect whatever service on the fixed web will come free, they are less reluctant to pay for things on mobile. Also mobile services have well established billing methods in short codes, monthly phone bills, micropayments, etc.
In the past, they could exert their buying power to hold off innovations being created outside of their walled gardens. In the US, Sprint is rumored to have told Nokia to shut down their content service, otherwise no business with them. In Italy, the top carrier TIM doesn't allow its subscribers to purchase any content from 3rd parties directly from their phones.
But due to the (ongoing) convergence, mobile carriers will soon face fierce competiion from alternative connectivity methods such as WiMax. This means a) today's mobile carriers won't be the sole companies to sell devices to, and b) by market demands carriers will be forced to provide affordable, all-you-can-eat connectivity, and if they don't offer compelling services as well, they will turn into mere "bit pipes".
This will hopefully make the carriers more open-minded about innovative services from other parties, including phone manufacturers.
Ever since the phenomenal success of the iPod-iTunes, all manufacturers are waking up to the huge potential of the hardware-service coupling, done in the right way. Mobile phone manufacturers are not exceptions, and you will see more and more innovative services from Nokia and other manufacturers. Here I'll be posting my own initiatives sometimes as well.