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Things still aren't great, but Nokia appears to be head in the right direction

Nokia Oyj. (HEX:NOK1V) has been on a wild ride.  For a time it was the largest maker of both smartphones (via its Symbian platform) and feature phones.  Then came its struggles to compete with Apple, Inc. (AAPL) and Android, and the decision to embrace Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Windows Phone.  The bold move seemed to only hasten Nokia's fall from grace on the market.

But while it's true that the Nokia of today is much smaller and less profitable than the Nokia of yore, it also appears to be returning from the brink and returning to growth.

In Q1 2013 it sold [PDF] a humble 5.6 million Lumia phones, up from 4.4m during the holiday quarter and 2 million a year ago.  To put that in context, rival Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) sold around 68 million smartphones in the quarter, while the low estimate for Apple's sales is around 34 million.

In other words, Nokia is still a small player, but it's seeing steady growth in its core Windows Phone platform.  True, 2 million sales is pathetic, but doubling your sales is still doubling your sales.

And Nokia's balance sheet is also improving.  A year ago it made €7.4B ($9.7B USD), but lost €1.34B ($1.70B USD).  This quarter it only made €5.9B ($7.7B USD), but trimmed the losses down to €150M ($196M USD).  That red may be troubling given that it made €202M ($269.0M USD) in total profit after tax last quarter.  But it's not as bad considering that this wasn't a key launch quarter for Nokia smartphone-wise and the holiday quarter tends to be more profitable for all OEMs.
 

Nokia Lumia 920
 
The phonemaker did miss analyst targets -- the consensus target for revenue was €6.5B ($8.5B USD), while the loss was roughly in line with the ~€160M ($209M USD) estimate [source].

Shares in the Finnish phonemaker traded lower on the revenue miss, but that will inevitably turn around if the company continues to grow its Windows Phone sales.  Looking ahead, this fall's Windows Phone Blue will be a critical launch for Nokia. 

In the meantime the company reportedly has a few devices up its sleeve.  It's planning a July refresh to the Lumia 920 that's thinner and lighter, and planning a more affordable version of the 920 for the autumn.  Also slated for July will be the long-awaited 41-megapixel Windows Phone version of the PureView device.  
Nokia PureView
The Nokia PureView 808 [Image Source: Nokia; Modifications: Jason Mick/DailyTech]

Financial Times reports that a phablet is also in the works, writing:

The device that can work as a phone and a tablet – known as a “phablet” – similar in size but with more advanced specifications to Samsung’s popular Galaxy Note.

This is a key emerging category -- Samsung is leading the way with the Galaxy Mega.  Nokia is likely eager to take a piece of the jumbo phone pie as well.

Sources: Nokia, FT [analyst estimates], FT [phablet details]



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RE: Growth is good for everyone
By txDrum on 4/18/2013 7:28:26 PM , Rating: 4
Android had to start at 1% market share too you know. I don't know why people expect WP8 to be an instant competitor. I don't. I love my 8X, and would have bought a 920 if I had AT&T, but I see the caveats to Windows Phone. They're essentially the exact same problems that Android had when it entered the market (namely the biggest thing being apps). People don't care about the hardware inside - If I had bought an HTC One, I'd brag about the Snapdragon 600, the science behind the Ultrapixel camera, and Qualcomm's design/pipeline all day, but the average consumer doesn't care.

Developers ARE getting on to windows phone though. The only big missing apps are Instagram and to a lesser degree snapchat? I don't really use either, but Instagram is a big one. The community is growing, and it shows. Everybody starts somewhere, and Windows Phone is growing like it needs to be.

The reason not all the phones are WP8 is because Lumia 520/620/720 haven't been out everywhere yet. They're just now shipping budget phones that will replace the budget WP7 devices. And also, don't ignore WP in Europe - it's still obviously no Apple/Samsung, but it's growing even better there. Double digit market shares exist in more than one country (and not just the ones with <100,000 smartphone markets or something either).

WP8 (and somewhat, BB10) are in the same position Android was 4 or 5 years? ago. But instead of it being Apple and Blackberry, it's Android(samsung?) and Apple.


RE: Growth is good for everyone
By GulWestfale on 4/18/13, Rating: 0
RE: Growth is good for everyone
By Pirks on 4/18/2013 8:32:12 PM , Rating: 5
your brain is crappy, and wp8 interface is slick, comfortable and functional, it's like souped up iOS on much better hardware


RE: Growth is good for everyone
By Reclaimer77 on 4/18/2013 9:06:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
your brain is crappy


lol does that comeback still work in Middle School, Pirks?


RE: Growth is good for everyone
By Pirks on 4/18/2013 10:22:34 PM , Rating: 1
when you grow up to the level of middle school, you'll see it yourself :P


RE: Growth is good for everyone
By Belard on 4/20/2013 5:16:45 PM , Rating: 2
WP7 / WP8 UI (Metro) works very good on the phone form factor. The tiles are really nothing more than big buttons.

I used to run WP7 Launcher on my Android 2.x phone. When I got a new phone with Android 4.0, I didn't need the WP7/8 launcher... I liked more of what the default Android launcher was offering me. Widgets and such, that WP7/8 launcher would mess up.

Metro on a desktop computer is crap.


RE: Growth is good for everyone
By Solandri on 4/18/2013 8:32:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Android had to start at 1% market share too you know. I don't know why people expect WP8 to be an instant competitor.

Because once upon a time Microsoft held the lion's share of the PDA market. When PDAs merged with phones to become smartphones, everyone figured Microsoft would be right up there with the market leaders. Instead they've misfired and completely squandered away that huge market lead they once had.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Mobile#Market...


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