Earlier this year, Microsoft had officially acquired popular Finnish mobile manufacturer, Nokia. The name Nokia, even if you’ve never owned a device made by the company, shouldn’t be an unfamiliar one. The company has been notorious for years now due to their uncanny ability to make extremely durable phones. From the old “brick” phones of the early 90’s to the Lumias we know and love today, with a name like Nokia embossed on a device, you could usually trust it to be one of the tankier phones on the market.
It won’t be too long now before one of the most popular lines of devices on the market will no longer sport that trusted Nokia name. Instead, the Lumia line, which has been running on the Windows Phone operating system for the past 3 years or so, will soon sport a Microsoft branding instead.
The phrase “a rose is a rose by any other name” stands out to me in this particular instance, but I have to wonder whether the Lumia line can continue to be as popular as it already is without the Nokia name stamped across the front.
I say “popular” loosely, because as most are aware, Windows Phone isn’t exactly the most popular mobile platform available. Still, third out of four major platforms is still better than fourth, and Windows Phone is slowly picking up pace every day - and although Nokia wasn’t the only company manufacturing Windows Phones, it was the one that took Windows Phone most seriously. Other companies like HTC and Samsung have thrown out Windows Phone devices haphazardly as well, but for the most part the other companies care more about Android for the moment. Nokia put all of its eggs in the Windows Phone basket, and its dedication to the platform with Nokia-specific apps and features like Here Maps, Nokia Camera, and Glance, not to mention Nokia’s own special updates it released for Windows Phone (the most recent being Cyan) did a lot for Windows Phone.
For Windows Phone to have come as far as it has, Nokia’s assistance was vital. Now that Nokia’s name is also being retired for the Lumia line, I have to wonder if Microsoft is going to be able to carry on the Lumia name just as well. It’s not that I find Microsoft to be any less reputable than Nokia, but Nokia was... well, Nokia - a mobile legend.
Given that Microsoft has pretty much everything they need to ensure that the Lumia line undergoes minimal drastic changes, if any, I’m going to take a shot in the dark and say that I think that the Lumia rebranding will go along just fine when it comes to the actual switch. What I’m not so certain about is how the general public will perceive the change. I could see it going either way; as mentioned, Microsoft isn’t some no-name company, but the reputation that Windows Phone has when it comes down to how the general consumer sees them might be what kills it. People have learned to trust and love Nokia for their hardware - people still aren’t convinced that Windows Phone is a platform that they want to love. Take Nokia out of the equation and you’re left solely with a Microsoft product. It might not be that different (or different at all) but people just might take notice of that.
I hope this ends up not being that big of a deal for Microsoft or Windows Phone. I think that the platform is still picking up momentum, and I would hate to see something happen to it to set it back. Seeing as Nokia is still a name under trademark, keeping the Nokia name isn’t feasible - but I can’t help but think that things would be smoother if Microsoft could have pulled a Google/Lenovo/Motorola type of deal: acquire the company, keep it as a separate branch.
I guess time will tell whether the Microsoft Lumia line of phones will be as successful (or more, or less) as the Nokia Lumia line was.