Of all of the cell phone manufacturers out there, who is the largest worldwide? Nokia. But you wouldn't believe that by looking at the shelves of cell phone shops around America. You may find three or four Nokia flip or feature phones hanging around, but rest assured they're being neglected by representatives when demoing the best phones in their lineup.
Since the smartphone boom started, Nokia has lost almost all ground here in the US. The release of the N8 was a great attempt to propel them back into the smartphone race, but based on a handful of unimpressed reviewers, it fell short and didn't live up to the hype. Save for the 12 MP camera with a Carl Zeiss lens, the N8 has no advantage over any other smartphone out there. But that hasn't stopped it from selling fairly well in the rest of the world.
In the States though, things are a little different. Buyers are stiff and very few look to buy phones off-contract. Google showed us just exactly how much we Americans hate unsubsidized phones with the Nexus One. Without signing a big deal with a national carrier, Nokia can kiss any chances of resurfacing here goodbye...at least for now.
As of late, people are captivated by a potential Verizon iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7 updates, and what to expect from webOS 2.0. Some are even drooling over the thought of a new all-touch BlackBerry sporting a fresh TAT interface. I'm sure the rumors of a Nokia device shipping with Android perked some ears up pretty quickly, and the same with the Windows Phone 7 rumor. But the rumors were shot down just as fast by the mobile giant, and I can't say I blame them. Growing hype over a device that may never exist could lead them down a road they don't want to travel.
However, I'm a little curious why they didn't even blink at the idea of giving little Andy a chance. I'm sure it crossed their minds a time or two, but they chose to go the route of MeeGo and Symbian. The truth is, neither of those operating systems are popular in the US. Symbian is an aging platform and never had much traction here, and MeeGo is still a mystery. I'll admit, I'm interested in MeeGo and I want to get my hands on a device running it, but does the OS offer anything that a basic end user will need that Android Windows Phone 7, or iOS don't already offer? We'll let the market decide that for us.
The mobile space is running out of room for platforms and eventually the best will rise to the top. The question is, will MeeGo be one of those? If so, I'm sure we'll see some contracted Nokia devices in the distant future; but if it fails, I'm betting Nokia adopts at least one of the two available platforms we love in the US. Their bread and butter right now is basic feature phones but that market is dying rapidly. They're going to have to do what it takes to survive in the smartphone realm, and adopting a more popular platform may be a necessity at some point.
I know I'm not alone when I say a fusion of Android and Nokia-made hardware would be a very nice combination, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen anytime soon. Then again, Nokia could be playing us; it was a year and a half ago that they debunked those rumors. I say unless they cave and sell smartphones on-contract with US carriers it will be a long time before Nokia reclaims any US ground. Running platforms that don't get a lot of face time or marketing definitely hurts their odds, too. I'd like to see Nokia resurface here, but I just don't have any hopes of it happening any time in the near future.