Gartner’s estimates regarding the first quarter sales of Microsoft’s mobile operating system Windows Phone 7 may not paint the best picture imaginable, but it certainly doesn’t outline a story of doom and gloom, either. An estimated 1.6 million worldwide sales isn’t remarkable, but it isn’t dismal, and there’s definitely room for improvement in there. Which is exactly what Microsoft is continuously working on with their fledgling OS, hoping to not only tap into existing Windows Mobile/Windows Phone fans, but also grab a few (or way more than a few) new customers along the way as well. Microsoft’s biggest plan hasn’t been put into effect yet, but Nokia’s presence is a constant reminder that new, and possibly quite impressive devices are coming down the pipe.
In Gartner’s report, they mention Nokia by name, specifically calling the company out while they talk about Microsoft’s sales numbers being increased. Unfortunately, 1.6 million handsets on a worldwide stage isn’t all that impressive, so it’s not surprising to see Gartner suggesting that Nokia’s future presence in Microsoft’s corner would put an increase to these numbers. But, here locally, there’s a bigger question mark looming overhead.
Nokia’s presence here in the States is a constant one, but it is certainly not as bright as pretty much every other major manufacturer. HTC, Samsung, LG, Research In Motion, Apple, and HP are all household names at this point, while Nokia’s name pops up only every once in a while. Personally, I don’t even remember the last time I saw someone using a Nokia-branded phone. They’re out there, there’s no question about that, but hard to find.
And that’s what has me wondering just how Nokia will enter into the Windows Phone 7 game, especially here in the States. There’s no denying that if Nokia decided to do so, creating a mid-range WP7-based device for the worldwide market wouldn’t be a bad idea at all. We know that Nokia is going to have a little more wiggle room in the design of their branded handsets, despite Microsoft’s tight design grip on other manufacturers utilizing the Redmond-based company’s mobile OS. So while making that mid-range device for other markets may be a good idea, I think Nokia has only one way to go here in the States, and that’s a killer smartphone.
I’ve already kicked around the idea that the hardware is going to start selling the software for Microsoft’s mobile OS, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Truthfully, even if someone were to buy a handset for primarily the hardware, I think after using Windows Phone 7 for a little while, they’d be just as excited to talk about the software as they are the hardware. And while HTC is primed to make that happen here soon, I think it is Nokia’s place to start selling that as well. We know that Nokia can make some impressive hardware, so if Nokia wants to make a real splash –especially here in the United States—then they have to make a smartphone that people want. And I mean really want.
Creating that perfect piece of hardware will be hard, as any manufacturer out there will tell you, but I think with the time that Nokia has before them, they have a chance at accomplishing it. And if Nokia wanted to be safe, they could very well launch several different devices at the same time, near the end of 2011, all of which accompany a certain spot in the mobile market. A smartphone to show off both the hardware and software, a mid-range device for those who want features without the price tag, and maybe something that could take up space between those two handsets.
What do you think Nokia should do first, when it comes to launching a Windows Phone 7-based device here in the States? Should they go high-end and aim to really impress the general consumer? Or should they go for the middle ground, and hope that a specific design can usher in a wide range of customers? Let me know what you think in the comments below.