Today Microsoft and Nokia announced their strategic partnership which will put the Windows Phone 7 operating system onto NOKIA devices. I’ve been waiting for this for a while now – NOKIA has had multiple chances to fix things in-house (renovating Symbian, Maemo, Meego, adopting Android like virtually every other OEM) but this deal needed to have a massive press release.
We didn’t see similar fanfare from other WP7 licensees (Dell, Garmin-Asus, HTC, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Qualcomm) but then this is more than just a new OS licensee, this is the death-by-attrition of both Symbian (now accurately described as legacy) and Meego (formerly Maemo and Intel Moblin – and I wonder how Intel feels about this). In theory, this is a return to the norm, before Nokia decided to dabble in operating system licensing itself.
So, Nokia becomes “just another Windows Phone 7 licensee”. Microsoft were very careful to note that this was a non-exclusive license for Nokia and that they would continue to supply operating systems to other mobile device manufacturers.
In other words, NOKIA just became SGI.
And I get to be the Armchair CEO for one of the most successful mobile companies in the world.
NOKIA had a legacy of great hardware. From the Matrix, we had the 7110. There was the oddity but lustworthy Nokia 9000 Communicator. The relentless onslaught of the 5100-series, the ubiquitous 6310, the first candy-bar 3210. We can only hope that they make some amazing hardware (No, I don’t rate the N8) for the new WP7 NOKIA phones.
They should be aiming to be at the top end. Designer no-seams-and-screws hardware, engineer-wet-dream internals. Rock-solid construction, good quality capacitative touch screens (unlike Android cheap-phones), amazing aerials and, what the heck, offer a SatPhone version. You have the technology.
They need to pivot their entire software development teams into making amazing NOKIA-branded apps – and make them available on Marketplace to all phones – not just NOKIA devices. Make great software your greatest asset and best advert.