web stats

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Where are you NO-kia?

Nokia has continuously lost its share in mobile handset market since FY04Q1. What is going on? FY05Q4 Motorola launched 20 new phone models loaded with features like phones built into sun glass, plugs to skiing jacket, hooks to iTunes and now sexy SLVR and PEBL. Nokia on the other hand has refused to move from its candy box phones, which I think increases a phones life by removing mechanical parts of the kind one finds in flip phones. But, I don't know what has happened to Nokia's creativity. I personally like them very much and am addicted to their friendly menu and features but the look factor is lost in the wireless airwaves.

Wall Street reported (subscription required) that Motorola is coming out with a phone that might replace credit cards and users can pay their groceries with their cell phone. This has been around in Europe and Japan for a while and I love the idea. Mobile service providers are running out of ideas to sell their 3G bandwidth to its subscribers, there are enough phones with address book and camera like features and people are tired of carrying 101 gadgets and credit cards with them. This is an excellent opportunity. Thus far service provider’s biggest success story has been ring tones; now with something like a payment service or M-Wallet this will revolutionize the way we buy our groceries and cell phone companies make their moolah.

This is a wake up call to Nokia. Nokia's market share has fallen below 30% though sales have gone up and in last two quarters Motorola has gained 3% of market share to about 16% and secured itself as second largest in the handset market. Samsung is further challenging the market and with Microsoft entering the market there will be new handset manufacturers emerging from South East Asia.

10 things I want from my cell phone in order of preference:

1. Reception. This is the most important.
2. Decent address book that integrates with Outlook or some PIM. A decent address book is one that has Name, phone and email anything more than this will be the manufacturer’s generosity not my need.
3. Alarm clock
4. Different ring settings. Something like Nokia's profile settings.
5. A usable keypad. A major issue with small phones is when dialing a number or entering information.
6. Easy access to menu items.
7. Receive text messages. Since callers can page their numbers instead of leaving VM.
8. Extendable memory with MP3 player (replace my Ipod)
9. Light weight and sleek. I hate phones that feel like a rock in the pocket.
10. Camera is nice to have but not needed.

Anything more than this and I will go for a PDA/Smartphone kind of handset.

PS: I have been loyal to Nokia for the last about 6 years. But if Motorola has changed its menu and features I am ready to say Hello Moto to SLVR.