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Company will unveil its handsets Oct. 26

In the last quarter Nokia, Oyj. (HEL:NOK1V) lost its spot as the world's largest phonemaker as Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (SEO 005930) and Apple, Inc. (AAPLblew by it.  Still, for all the gloom-and-doom surrounding the Finnish firm, its defunct Symbian smartphone operating system, and its slow transition to Windows Phone 7, things may not be quite as bad as some had thought.

I. Earnings Aren't Great, But Are Less Bad Than Expected

Yesterday evening Nokia reported earnings of €9B ($12.35B USD).  That represents a 13 percent year-to-year drop in sales and a 3 percent drop in sales from the Q2 2011.  The company posted a €68M ($93.34M USD) net loss, much worse than the €403M ($553.20M USD) profit the company turned last year, but slightly better than the €487M ($668.50M USD) net loss that the company reported last quarter (International Financial Reporting Standards-style earnings).

The lower loss sent shares soaring 8 percent in pre-market trading.

Such a move may seem baffling to non-investors, particularly in light of Apple's stock taking a hit on large, but less than expected growth.  But it's important to remember that expectations of growth and revenue are baked into stock prices.  A company that's expected to decline sharply is priced low (like Nokia), while a company that's expected to sustain growth (like Apple) is priced high.  Any surprises in either direction can send the stock up or down.

Nokia still has €5.07B in cash ($6.95B USD) on hand, so it should be able to sustain its push to Windows Phone 7.

Nokia's long secret Windows Phone lineup will finally be announced at Nokia World 2011 in London on October 26.  It's unclear whether the company will be able to get significant amounts of product out on the U.S. market this holiday season, but at least the event should give a clearer picture as to where the company is headed.

II. Shots of Slick Nokia 800 Leak

It's not rocket science what Nokia needs to get back on the right track.  It needs to:
  1. Get product on the market
  2. Release attractive handsets
Shots of the Nokia 800 -- part of Nokia's upcoming Windows Phone Mango lineup -- leaked on PocketNow yesterday, in lieu of next week's official launch.

Nokia 800
The Nokia 800 is arguably the best looking Windows Phone on the block. [Source: PocketNow]

The phone looks very good -- in an iPod Nano-ish sort of way, at least.  It comes in three colors.  While it may have a relatively small screen -- 3.7-inches -- this may be one of the more stylish smaller smartphone on the market this side of the iPhone.

The Nokia 800 is rumored to be launch November 15th, alongside two other Windows Phone Mango models from Nokia.  Hopefully that means "launching November 15th in the U.S." as Nokia has been a bit squirrelly about how much hardware it will put out in the U.S. this year.

At the very least the Nokia 800 seems to be a big step in the right direction in design appeal.

Source: Nokia



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looks nice
By kleinma on 10/20/2011 9:54:02 AM , Rating: 4
Looks like a decent phone, but also looks like something samsung or motorola would have put out 2 years ago and be on to the next thinner, better thing.

IMO (and I am a big WinPhone fan) the only way WP7 is going to break more ground, is if they put out a piece of hardware that is BETTER than the iPhone 4s or latest and greatest android handsets. Needs to be thinner, faster, with better battery life.

You can't even put out something that is "as good" when you are that far in the hole in terms of marketshare. People who own droids are likely to get droids again, people who have iPhones tend to upgrade to new iPhones. People with feature phones tend to upgrade to one of the ~50% marketshare camps.




RE: looks nice
By BrgMx5 on 10/20/2011 10:49:37 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
the only way WP7 is going to break more ground, is if they put out a piece of hardware that is BETTER than the iPhone 4s or latest and greatest android handsets.


So not true. iPhone never had the best hardware (spec wise) and sells like crazy.

The latest and greatest android handsets do not appeal to everyone, and i believe Nokia is on the right track with these phones.

1. Good design, looks like a metal finish (plastic is crap);
2. WP7 looks good, and will be simple to use, appealing to a broader market, who sees android as more for techies;
3. Bigger screens make a bigger phone, and not everyone likes to lug around a 4.5'' + beast, this looks right;
4. Regardless of specs, has to have iPhone smooth operation.

My wife doesn't like the iPhone, and hasn't seen an android that she liked yet. I believe she will like this phone, as a first smartphone.


RE: looks nice
By Da W on 10/20/2011 11:36:42 AM , Rating: 3
They need to put phones in the hands of people for a test drive! That's all there is to it.


RE: looks nice
By BrgMx5 on 10/20/2011 11:44:26 AM , Rating: 2
So true


RE: looks nice
By Cypherdude1 on 10/21/2011 6:59:29 AM , Rating: 3
I don't use the expensive smartphones to access the even more expensive mobile internet. When I'm on the road, I use my laptop with free Wi-Fi for that. In fact, I'm using it right now.

For calls, I prefer the small inexpensive flip-phones. Nokia does make good flip-phones hardware-wise. However, their menu system is subpar. For example, there is no way to prevent the screen from shutting down while you're using the phone which is ridiculous!

Nokia needs to improve the software on their flip-phones. Essentially, what we need is a flip-phone with Nokia hardware and Samsung software. Not everyone wants to pay mega-bucks to use a phone.


RE: looks nice
By Pirks on 10/20/11, Rating: -1
RE: looks nice
By jordanclock on 10/20/2011 2:09:37 PM , Rating: 3
Aside from the GPU, the iPhones hardware really isn't that impressive. But that was his point: Since the iOS only runs on a few devices that are created by Apple as well, it runs VERY smooth on them. Android runs good enough for most people, but there are times where it's wide-net approach to supporting so many devices results in experiences that are quite lacking. WP7 is much more like iOS in that regard. Microsoft has made it run on specific SoCs and thus runs butter smooth on all WP7 devices, regardless of manufacturer.

His point is the same as yours: The best specs in the world won't save you from inefficiencies introduced from having such a large separation between Android developers and handset developers.


RE: looks nice
By Pirks on 10/20/2011 2:15:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The best specs in the world won't save you from inefficiencies introduced from having such a large separation between Android developers and handset developers.
Agreed, Android junk loses quality wise to vertically integrated handset providers like MS, Apple and RIM.


RE: looks nice
By Gurthang on 10/20/2011 4:28:18 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft also needs to work very hard to make it so that third parties can extend the phone into their services. Like for instance the API needs to allow someone like Google to have the same seemless integration with lets say Google+ that Facebook has. With Mango they are on the right path but if they keep going with the Apple completely closed OS model I think they will fail.

While I agree they do not need to directly compete with the wild pace of phones cranked out on Android, I do think they need to move the hardware platform updates a tad faster.


RE: looks nice
By augiem on 10/20/2011 1:36:13 PM , Rating: 2
Everyone seems to forget that smart phones have not reached saturation. 151.8 million Americans use non-smartphones according to below.

"For the three month average period ending in July, 234 million Americans ages 13 and older used mobile devices."
Smartphone Platform Market Share

"82.2 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three months ending in July 2011, up 10 percent from the preceding three month period."

Source:
http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Release...

151 million people is a huge untapped market. Nokia and Windows 7 don't HAVE get all their users by taking away from Google and Apple. There are still plenty of us out there who don't own smartphones.

There is still massive growth going on in the smartphone sector and will likely not stop until smartphones replace feature phones entirely (once the tech is cheap enough). And those figures are US only. If I'm not wrong, world-wide that gap is even larger.


RE: looks nice
By NellyFromMA on 10/20/2011 1:36:58 PM , Rating: 3
WP7 is not Microsoft's priority. Windows 8 is. WP7 is only now starting to even get noticed, even with less then cutting-edge hardware. I'm thinking you will notice a change in this mid 2012 but until then, expect more minor updates. Not that I think badly of WP7, but I mean who cares truly about dual-core this and that... The phone is already snappy as can be. Android needs all the extra hardware to offer a worthwhile and smooth experience, WP7 is doing just fine in that dept. Whether it has 1 core or 2 cores, its kind of trivial to the majority of people, don't you think? It's more about how the experience feels and gtetting that experience into people hands.


RE: looks nice
By drycrust3 on 10/20/2011 5:11:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
WP7 is not Microsoft's priority. Windows 8 is.

Well, WP7 should be their top priority, and paying programmers well to write apps is essential. The world has changed. Half of regular internet users will be accessing the internet on a mobile device within the next 4 years. The market would probably be prepared to wait a few more years for W8 to appear (and may not care if it never does), but it won't tolerate a delay in WP7 (in fact it may well be too late already). The market needs smartphone operating systems with hundreds of thousands of apps, it needs tablet operating systems with hundreds of thousands of apps, and it needs them now! Next year and just tens of thousands of apps is too late and too little.


RE: looks nice
By NellyFromMA on 10/21/2011 4:15:04 PM , Rating: 2
Why would they choose WP7-8 as a priority OVER Windows 8? I must be missing something.. that makes no sense.


RE: looks nice
By NellyFromMA on 10/21/2011 4:20:58 PM , Rating: 2
Also, I don't understand how number of apps is any measurement of new OSs. WP7, Android, and iOS are all relatively young. Why do you needs 40 apps that do the same thing for every trivial singular function you want? It's a feel good stat if anything.

I don't want to sift through 10 mediocre messaging apps to find the 1 or 2 really good ones. Even if the OS has these 10 available, I'm likely just to Google which is the best and start figuring it out from there.

So, I really REALLY doubt the market needs hundreds of thousands of apps on their platform of preference. What they need are quality apps. iOS thrives because it has both, but one should not be confused for the other.

Android does well for a different reason altogether, in fact it is the reason the PC has done so well, open-development. There is no distro-model to adhere (marketplace/app store). Unfortunately, it's very buggy and inconsitent across devices. Google will get better at that with time, but MS is already good at that now.

You might be right on WP7 being too late to the party. All the more reason not to make it the primary focus. If win8 (especially on tablets) is a hit, it will not be too little to late. The synergy between WP and Win8 will actually be about the only thing that can really save the WP platform, in conjunction with proper marketting and staying with the features.

That's my view anyways. Seems logical.


RE: looks nice
By Aloonatic on 10/20/2011 2:57:33 PM , Rating: 2
MS need to:

a) Actually get their devices in shops in numbers. Obvious, but it doesn't seem to be happening, at least in the UK. There are so few of them, they just look lonely, odd and unwanted.

b) Have handsets at all price points. If they want market share and growth, then they really need to get some cheap phones out there too. I really don't get why they haven't done this as WP7 is (apparently) more efficient, and runs well on cheaper hardware. Why MS haven't exploited this I really don't know. Cheap android phones (like the wildfire) are really not all that great.

c) Get their marketing and sales staff education sorted out.

I say this as someone who actually wanted a WP7 phone, but in the end gave up. The hardware (which I know is not everything) was uninspiring, as where the designs. The prices were nothing special either, and the sales staff that I talked too seemed almost completely clueless about it.

The thing is, people know iPhone, and they know Android. MS need to give people a compelling reason to switch. What people seem to forget is that phones come with 24 month contracts these days. People are making a 2 year commitment to what is a pretty hefty (for many) monthly payment.

Most are unlikely to take chances on something that they don't know, especially if it's a top end, and therefore a no doubt very expensive phone, with an expensive contract too that they are going to be tied to for such a long time.


RE: looks nice
By drycrust3 on 10/20/2011 4:40:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
people know iPhone, and they know Android

We are at the cusp of a new era in mobile phones. The brand of the phone is becoming less and less important, and even the type of OS is becoming less and less important, but the apps that can run on the phone are increasingly the thing that will make or break a sale.
For a first time user of a smartphone they can be sold pretty well anything, but once a person has become familiar with a smartphone then they will become increasingly resistant to going to a phone OS with less apps (and especially a lot less) than what they currently have, and increasingly susceptible to selling out the love for their favourite phone and OS to go to one which has more and better apps. People may have tried lots of similar apps before they found one that does exactly what they want, e.g. a scientific calculator with RPN. This is where Android and iOS have such a huge advantage over Microsoft, Blackberry OS, etc. An article in May this year on the Apple friendly website Mobilmedia put Microsoft as having 15000 apps compared to 350,000 for Apple and 250,000 for Android. Sure, there probably is some bias there, but it illustrates an important point: it would be a backward step going from either Android or iOS to Microsoft (and worse to something like Blackberry OS), but if a person has a phone with WP7 on it then it would be fairly easy for them to find lots of similar or better apps in the Android or iOS libraries, thus they would become willing to trade in their current Microsoft phone and buy Microsoft's competitors products.
Thus, the problem for Nokia isn't just that they have put their lot in with Microsoft who were slow getting to the market with a decent phone OS, but that because of the delay people wrote apps only for Android or iOS, so Microsoft have a minuscule app library, so second time buyers won't be interested in what they have to offer.
What Nokia need to do is have at least one decent quality phone with Android on it on the store shelves this Christmas (and at a reasonable price too!).


RE: looks nice
By robertgu2k on 10/20/2011 10:24:20 PM , Rating: 2
Just an FYI the app count for WP7 is currently more like 30,000. This is even after MSFT removing a ton of spam apps recently.

Just one source, you can Bing/Google for many articles on the app count:

http://news.yahoo.com/microsoft-limit-wp7-app-deve...


RE: looks nice
By drycrust3 on 10/21/2011 7:52:39 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks. I thought there would be better information available, but I only had a small amount of time to write what I did, so I used the information I had at hand.


RE: looks nice
By NellyFromMA on 10/21/2011 4:23:11 PM , Rating: 2
Again, I fail to understand what app count does for anyone other than give the (false) perception your odds are better at finding a quality app that does what you want.


RE: looks nice
By W00dmann on 10/20/2011 3:46:06 PM , Rating: 2
That is one *ugly* phone, coupled with one *ugly* operating system. Still, I give them full credit for trying something new and attempting to stand out from the crowd.


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