Meanwhile, on the battlefield...
Looking forward to the upcoming announcements during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, I'm wondering about a few things and I just want to share my thoughts here. It's all a bit off-topic since it's not just about PureView, but about Nokia and platforms in general. There are a few things I just don't get. Maybe you do.
After the jump
Since we all know since Elop's memo from February 2011, we live in a war of ecosystems. Nokia jumped from it's own “burning platform” and the company needed to be saved by Microsoft, to join forces on an ecosystem to integrate smartphones, tablets and laptops. It took a while, but true: it’s there now with Windows Phone 8, Windows RT and Windows 8.
But I never really understood ditching Symbian, especially not after all the obvious progress made. Nokia Belle FP2 looks full of potential and I don't see why it just had to be thrown away completely. Maybe supporting its development (and I understood there were offices filled with different teams of developers) was too expensive. I just don't know. Anyway: it's gone, the Nokia 808 PureView will be the last device proving the decision to kill Symbian is confusing, to say the least.
MeeGo is another OS ditched, and there are a few reasons to mention it as well. Its development would have been way too slow, it would take way too long to get the first smartphone running on MeeGo on the market. That may be true, but it took quite a while for Windows Phone 8 to be ready as well, and I think the only thing that made people really look at the first Lumia 800 was it´s brilliant design – copied from the Nokia N9, running on MeeGo. People loved the hardware more than the OS it offered back then.
I can't help but notice many people still adore their Nokia N9. These people eagerly await what the new company Jolla is going to announce - be that during the Mobile World Congress or later. Jolla will be taking MeeGo to a new dimension (as Sailfish) and in doing so they will prove Nokia’s decision was wrong – or not.
Meanwhile, Blackberry just released its completely renewed OS that seems to be very similar to the MeeGo swyping interface – “blatantly copied” another company would scream and start a trial. What will this new OS mean for Jolla's Sailfish? Will people be attracted to it now that Blackberry clearly has an interesting alternative?
The company formerly known as RIM still has a huge fanbase – like Nokia still has an enormous fanbase for Symbian ánd MeeGo. Yes, everyone loves a comeback: I’m sure the former Blackberry users are very happy with the new OS. And it's not like this planet has an endless desire of new platforms, right?
Nokia decided to put all its faith in Microsoft and by now it looks like their marriage is pretty successful (or promising at least), but it doesn’t really look like “a match made in heaven”. Microsoft was a bit too fast showing its love for HTC and soon, Nokia will have to pay Microsoft royalties for every handset sold. I’m not sure how much (I’ve read $50 per handset), but it´s business as usual after all. No matter how much we personally love our “own” OS, there clearly is no place for romance in this "war of ecosystems".
One more thing I never really got, and I don’t think anyone has. Nokia sunk all of its own (“burning”) platforms and devoted itself completely to Windows Phone. I wouldn’t like to be this dependant on one company during this “war”, but it seems Nokia is comfortable with the idea.
But it’s not just the company that surprises me: I know a lot of Nokia fans downright hate – and here it is, I know you’ve been waiting for it - Android, and they would never ever buy a Nokia device again if the company would produce smartpones running on Android as well. That’s something I really don’t get either.
I know the OS is “horribly fragmented”, but that doesn’t keep companies like Samsung, HTC, LG and Sony to produce smartphones people crave for: the Note II, the One X+, the Nexus 4 and the soon to be available Xperia Z are smartphones that make a big impression. And you don’t have to be rich to buy an Android device – just like Nokia is bringing very affordable Lumia devices to the market.
Samsung, HTC, LG even Huawei (but not Sony) are producing Windows Phone devices as well. Why would it be so unthinkable for Nokia to produce Android smartphones? Would that be some kind of treason? To what? Certainly not to their "marriage"?
Samsung is working together with Intel on its own platform, Tizen. I don’t want to become too technical, but It’s based on Linux and embraces HTML5 and it will give Samsung the possibility not to be completely dependent on Google (more background here).
It looks like a logical and even essential thing to do. Just as Nokia has always said it will be looking for the best way to survive in this war and keep all options open. But what are the other options right now, besides Microsoft's Windows Phone OS?
iOS and Blackberry are out, of course. I don’t think Samsung would be looking forward to join forces on the Tizen platform – and I’m sure Intel won’t be interested after Nokia ditched MeeGo it developed with them. What is that other OS Nokia is looking at as an alternative then? A further development of its own S40 platform it uses on the Asha devices? What is plan B?
Maybe on a secret floor below the deepest basement somewhere in Finland, a few dozen of developers are working on the newest Symbian platform to secure Nokia's own independence, but somewhere I doubt it. So if Nokia is really keeping an eye open for any plan B, isn’t it most likely to be Android after all?
Some people say they would buy a Nokia smartphone running on Android “in a heartbeat”. Other swore never to buy the brand again. I'm sure the stock market would jump when Nokia would make the announcement, but I don't expect it anytime soon.
Personally, I love a lot of different platforms, I might even consider trying to get my hands on the new Blackberry Z10 if only to experience what it has taken from MeeGo. I still want a Nokia N9 in my collection. And yes, I’d buy high-end Nokia hardware running on the newest Android platform too. In a heartbeat. Why not? It’s not platforms, it's people who create wars.
PS: I borrowed the illustration from badcompany2