Nokia, bring more flagships to the battlefield

Recently at Computex, Microsoft has announced a few new Windows Phone devices coming from OEM's like "Blu", "Prestigio" and "Yezz" (see NeoWin,). It's not really clear what these new Windows Phone devices will cost, but I assume these are all very affordable.

I'm convinced reaching out to "emerging markets" is the way to go - several major companies have reached a huge market with Android. Nokia has already been doing so for quite some time for Windows Phone (up to the point where they even introduced a Windows Phone look-alike on Android with the Nokia X-series).

Also during Computex, it has been hinted that HTC has a new Windows Phone device up its sleave, Samsung seems to have one coming up (the  Ativ Core) and there are rumours about Sony and LG as well.

So far though, in the Battle of the Ecosystems, Nokia has almost been competely alone fighting for Windows Phone. The complete Windows Phone portfolio stilll depends on Nokia (now Microsoft Mobiles). And it's a tough war to fight on your own.

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The competition on Android has become overwhelming this year (like if it wasn't last year or even the year before). But just look at this year's most recent Android flagships. Samsung's Galaxy S5, Sony's Xperia Z2, HTC's One M8, LG's G3. As for completely "dedicated camera phones", Samsung is releasing the  Galaxy K Zoom with a 20MP sensor and 10x optical zoom. And there's Apple of course, about to release the iPhone 6.

The Lumia 1020 was announced  a year ago - a light-year in this industry. Even the next flagship Lumia 1520 is "from last year" (november). I really love it, but I do understand it's simply too big for many customers. Meanwhile, Europe is still waiting for Nokia's next flagship, the Lumia 930 (aka Icon in the US) - waiting for the official release of Windows Phone 8.1.

Now (more or less) three flagships in about a year isn't that bad, but fighting for a complete ecosystem with only three modern devices a year looks like a mission impossible to me. In the same period Android has been showing off at least a dozen flagships, and of course even a lot more cheaper devices to please the crowds (and I'm aware of the fact the Lumia 520 was a bestseller for Windows Phone).

But I do wonder where the next PureView flagship with the famous 41MP camera sensor is? After all five years of R&D on the Nokia 808 PureView, the huge investment of bringing all those amazing innovations (PureView, Rich Recording, OIS) to the Lumia 1020 - where is its successor? What happened to "ZoomReinvented"? Did Nokia/Microsoft get bored with it?

1024px-Holman,_Cape_St_VincentDoes Nokia/Microsoft Mobiles need more flagships? Judging from the experience of just about all other smartphone companies, there simply is no other choice. It's the flagship that gets the attention. Of course you'll need a lot more less expensive products to sell to those who can't afford it, but people will notice the brand thanks to its flagship.

It's the Find 7 that got people interested in Oppo from China. A complete newcomer like OnePlus One gets  major attention because it's a flagship device (although it's actually quite affordable). Apple hardly even cares about anything but the flagship (and its cheaper iPhone 5c even appeared to be quite disappointing).

For Microsoft, a new flagship device will be even more important - not just for the Nokia division it recently acquired, but also for the platform itself. No matter how good Joe Belfiore sells it, Windows Phone is in dire need of great ambassadors people can actually want to buy. Although I really get the focus on emerging markets and connecting the next billion et cetera - showing off with a a few extremely exciting flagships is quintessential.

Just like in the car industry: you will sell more of the less expensive products, but they won't get you as much attention in all major media. It's the flagship that really shows the world who you are and what you're made of. It makes people long for your brand, hold it, use it, be part of it. The centuries old image is a metaphore for a reason: the flagship is the one to fight the war with.

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