Where Nokia and Microsoft Went Wrong with the Lumia 900

Posted on April 4, 2012

2012 should be a big year for Windows Phone 7, it’s the year that new Nokia phones are released into the important US market and it’s the year that Windows for tablets, aka Windows 8 is launched.

Having a strong offering for Windows on tablets and Windows on a smartphone is crucial for Microsoft, because both devices will feed off of one another to create the Windows ecosystem. You don’t want to have a Windows tablet if you have an iPhone as you cannot share iCloud access and applications.

Hence the launch of Nokia devices with Windows Phone 7 is of crucial importance to Microsoft and Nokia. The launch is important because the phone hardware has to be at least competitive with where the rest of the market will be around mid-2012; and the software has to have the necessary functions. As Nokia has just released the new Lumia 900 smartphone, this article will concentrate on the hardware.

Let’s start by looking at the minimum requirements a smartphone should have for launch in 2012. I think it’s important now to bear in mind the famous phrase from Wayne Gretzky, the Canadian Hockey player:

skate to where the puck’s going, not where it’s been.

That’s to say, when designing a phone for 2012, it’s important to bear in mind what your competitors are expected to do min-2012, not what they did mid-2011.

So what did Nokia need to do:

  • A standout high quality design
  • Near ‘Retina’ screen quality
  • Near iPhone 4S camera quality
  • All-day on one charge battery life
  • LTE network support

So, according to the reviews such as The Verge how did Nokia do?

  • A standout high quality design ✓
  • Near ‘Retina’ screen quality ✕
  • Near iPhone 4S camera quality ✕
  • All-day on one charge battery life ✕
  • LTE network support ✓

Nokia has released a flagship smartphone that is not competitive in 2012! What! How does this make sense?

The future relevance of Nokia is based on them being able to sell competitive Windows Phone 7 devices and they have failed to market a competitive device.

Now, they have launched it at a $99 price point (with carrier subsidy) that is true, but at $99 it’s up against the iPhone 4, which doesn’t have LTE it’s true, but it has iOS and the Retina Display. Most consumers will plump for the iPhone 4 rather than the Nokia Lumia 900.

At this moment profit should not be an issue for Nokia / Microsoft in Windows Phone 7. They need to grow market share quickly and have a competitive offering to go with Windows 8 tablets. Hence they really should have launched compelling hardware at a low price to drive market share. If only the guys in the phone shops could say: “This Nokia phone has a great screen, great camera, it looks amazing and it’s only $99.”