Is Microsoft killing Nokia?

Nokia unveiled its new flagship phone on September 5, this time running Windows Phone 8 platform to a great fanfare of tech enthusiasts. Some would say that Microsoft/Nokia is arriving too late to the mobile party; I would rather like to believe that better late then never. But I may be wrong on this one. Notoriously tardy, Marilyn Monroe would often arrive a couple of hours late to a glitzy Hollywood event but no matter how late she was her appearance would always trigger a big stir.

I don’t think that Lumia is Marilyn Monroe. Yes, some stir and commotion was made but given what was announced I reckon no that not too many people will want to touch it, much less purchase it whenever it actually comes out. Which makes this whole event a giant marketing failure; announcing a product without any indication as to its price and availability is nothing short of vaporware. I doubt that a couple of months after iPhone 5 and a score of other WP8 or Android devices hit the market that people are going to remember this event. Consumer attention will simply have turned away.

Nokia Lumia 920 Review

In essence, Nokia did not unveil anything new; it upholstered the macaw colored N9 series (came out in 2011) phone first with Windows 7 dressing (did not sell much) and is now doing it again with Windows Phone 8. Same old device with 3 different operating systems. The reason for this desperate move was Microsoft’s decision not to upgrade current WP7 devices. What exacerbates this situation is that apps written for WinPhone8 will not be backward compatible which in essence makes all current Windows phones obsolete. So much for Microsoft’s relationship with OEM’s.

And this whole excitement about wireless charging is premature. It will use a charging pad which is – guess what – plugged into the wall socket! So in addition to an old-fashioned charger (comes free with the phone) you will be tempted to buy the charging pad so that you can show off this miraculous feature? Give me a break. This is nothing but a gimmick, which has almost no practical use.

Until you can charge your device the moment you enter a room with nearby socket and wirelessly ‘tune into it’ and thus refill you battery you cannot talk about true wireless charging. When this technology actually does come, the question may be asked will the cafĂ© and restaurant owners charge you extra because you are piggy backing on their power lines?

Nokia Wireless Charger

Another big ‘if’ is the operating system itself. Yes, the Windows Phone maybe the very reason why Nokia declares bankruptcy soon. Placing all your bets as well as your remaining cash reserves on a system which has been around for two years and which despite the glowing reviews (and also a long list of features it lacks in comparison with other OS’) have not manage to garner more than the poultry 3% may be seen as a precipitous move. I know what I am talking about; I have been a devout WP7 user since its ‘no copy-paste’ inception and have changed 3 devices since WP7 launch almost 2 years ago.

I switched to it from Android because of its speed, fluidity, stability, and ease of use. However, there were a lot of things that this system lacked and which was available on other platforms: no customization of ringtones and other notifications save for the stock ones which were mostly horrible. Partial ringtone customization came with the Mango update, but you had to use desktop Zune and do a few alterations to your mp3 file before you could transfer them to the device and actually use them as a ringtone. Other notifications are still not customizable (after 2 years on the market?!?).

Here are a few more things this OS does not do at all or does poorly:
- no file manager
- no Bluetooth transfers
- Need Zune to transfer files. Zune will only transfer photos, videos & music. All other files need to email/upload
- no centralized notification page
- text messages can only be deleted one by one or the whole thread
- task manager has no option to shut down apps you don’t want running in the background
- search and Back button cannot be de-activated in apps or games and easily touched by accident
- no way to close an app except pressing back button all the way to the first screen
- cannot close music player, can only pause. Music player on lock screen will stay until you reboot
- cannot select multiple pictures for deleting, sending or uploading. They must be done one at a time
forwarded emails cannot be edited
- if both wi-fi and data connection are available which one it chooses to use is unpredictable (HTC - - phones have a very spotty WiFi connection) 
- no global search button for phone content
- no flash, Java, and Silverlight support
- Internet Explorer has no Forward button for page
- no way to back up SMS and call history

Five reasons Windows Phone 7 will fail

There is a score of other shortcomings, especially the App market. We waited almost two years to get Skype (doesn’t MS own it?!), WhatsApp, Viber (still in beta stage – no phone calls allowed), etc. I believe that some of these issues will be addressed in Win Phone 8 like the resizing of the tiles. Personally, the new screen looks to busy on the eye, like a bunch of square widgets squeezed to tightly on the screen.

So in essence, this upcoming OS is not new; it has been on the market for the last two years where it has not gained any significant traction. There goes the 'third mobile ecosystem'! It baffles me to read so many 'positive' comments about WP8 as if its first iteration was never available. I think Microsoft should have invested some money into market research to see what is it that is turning people away from Windows Phone. Could the live tiles be it? As a long time user I must admit that despite WP7's relative speed and stability in comparison to Android the tiles do get tiresome and boring. The fact that one can resize them in WP8 will not make it much better. I do like its hubs - pictures - for example, but I bet that most people who give these phones a cursory look in a store don't get far pass the front screen. Tiles are nothing more than resized widgets which do look like they were drawn by kindergarten children. In Windows Phone 8 they take up all available screen real-estate And no mater how much of tile reshuffling one can do on the front screen there is no escape - a radical departure from iOS or Android experience with wallpapers, clock, etc. Some people do like the tiles, and that is OK, but the number of them is way too small to turn the market around.

Nokia's Misleading Lumia 920 Ads Create an Ugly PR Picture

Most smartphone owners are already deeply entrenched in their ecosystems to wish to change just because Microsoft or Nokia (both losers in the mobile phone world) ask them to. There is however a large, as of yet, untapped developing world market of China and India, but I doubt that MS can gain much traction there due to high licensing fees which OEMs must pay. Cheap Androids and Nokia's Asha feature phone line have a much better chance.


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