Thursday, May 15, 2008

Nokia to choose function over form?

Last Friday was Nokia’s annual shareholders meeting. In a series of bold and driving statements, CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo completely redirected the entire company. "Our goal is to act less like a traditional manufacturer, and more like an internet company," Kallasvuo said. "Companies such as Apple, Google, and Microsoft are not our traditional competitors, but they are major forces that must be reckoned with. Make no mistake: We are taking on these challenges seriously and aggressively."

Perhaps this isn’t so surprising considering the recent movement of mobile technology. The iPhone and its many pretenders have swept onto the market and brought the kind of hype which Nokia have failed to fully achieve in some time. Kallasvuo, I think, has realised this and is now considering how Nokia can deliver innovation that will get them those kind of results.

Currently Apple has a smartphone, and both Google and Microsoft each have similar projects in the works. So to combat this Nokia has been restructured into two segments: devices and services. The previous system had three divisions: mobile phones, multimedia, and enterprise solutions. Nokia also have the acquisition of GPS specialist Navteq on the horizon, which should enable their movement into new markets, such as navigation systems for pedestrians and location-based mobile advertising.

"When we look at it with the eyes we have now, when regarding pedestrian navigation, map services, digital maps, we are even more excited about the opportunities than when making the decision" to buy Navteq, said Kallasvuo. "I ask for some more patience from the shareholders. There is quite a lot better to be seen ahead."

So what does it all mean?

Well it looks to me like Nokia will make a noticeable shift away from hardware development towards a more precision driven approach to specialised software development and integration. That’s not to say product development won’t be based around new styled handsets, but it will be primarily driven by the capabilities and function of these new devices.
Let’s just hope that the future isn’t too androgynous!

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