We got excited for a moment about the prospect of Nokia waking up and coming to grips with the fact that the Apple and Research in Motion phones were eating their lunch.Â This week they have number of announcements coming and the first one we looked at was the new N97 phone.Â The engadget post is a good place to see it.
To be sure it’s a very nice smart phone and since it’s the newest it probably has the best collection of high end features for now.Â It also a fairly big, expensive, slide-with-a-full-keyboard, kind of thing.Â We’ll let the gadget and phone industry and street analysts have their day of doing a full analysis but this model isn’t enough to stop the secular slide for Nokia in the mobile Internet space (at least in the US.)
Here are our five reasons why:
1. It’s not a high unit phone: Of course the pricing will get much lower than the $600 or so list price with carrier plans.Â But even if it is offered at $149 it’s just too much phone for many users.Â Nokia has other models of course but these haven’t been helping the company versus the other players either.
2. It’s not sexy or business.Â The iPhone wins in sexy category.Â The N97 looks like a brick next to an iPhone.Â It’s not something a business person is going to be fiddling with either.Â They will stick to the blackberry.
3. The "mobile computer" positioning is confusing.Â The two things that have momentum right now are netbooks (eePC, mini9, Samsung, etc.) and smart phones.Â Nokia may want this to be a mainstream category, but it’s not.
4. Services are lame and suffer from a lack of integration and elegance.Â Nokia has a number of refreshed and new services as part of the announcement as well.Â They include Ovi, Games, Music, Navigation and also a set of development services to build on.Â But they are nothing like what Apple is offering now.Â Possibly closer to what the blackberry offers but again, business users who are into games and music are more likely to push for an iPhone.
5. Beyond the "big three" there are strong new offerings out there from a variety of players.Â The new Samsung phones are actually pretty impressive.Â Phones based on Google are getting into the marketplace to reasonably good reviews and it’s just the beginning.Â The Google phone will undoubtedly improve rapidly.Â Even the lowly Palm is surviving for now and planning something big in 2009 (hope it doesn’t look like an N97! 😉
In conclusion we thought this might be a week where Nokia really "woke up" to the reality in the mobile Internet space.Â So far the evidence suggests that is not the case.Â We are still rooting for them but only they can help themselves out of this.