Phones Review

Nokia Windows Phone 8 success with Android in the loop

Under: Mobile Phones
Date: September 25th, 2012

It’s tough times for Nokia. Over the past two years, they’ve seen an 80 percent fall in their stock price –from $11.73 in early 2011 to a measly $1.69 as it stands today – and they’ve had to spin off or cancel entire product lines to keep afloat (like the ill-fated Symbian operating system). Once the lynchpin of the mobile telecommunications world, Nokia now needs to put its eggs in the right basket, or risk being condemned to the past (specifically, the nineties).

It’s a tough call for Stephen Elop, Nokia CEO. Does he go with Android, the fastest-growing operating system on the planet, on license from Google? That route involves competing with the million other Android-based handsets out there, and Google are anything but predictable with picking and keeping features. Or do the Finnish company – which employs over 100,000 people worldwide – plumb for Windows 8, Microsoft’s big gamble to get it back in to the market it held at the turn of the millennium? Microsoft and Nokia surely share that same interests: the awareness that this could really be one of their last chances at turning their fortunes around (both have seen plummeting operating revenues in the past decade), and the understanding that to do so requires something rather radical.

The answer, surely, is both. But Nokia is sticking hard to Microsoft. It’s a little reminiscent of two first-time hang-gliders tied together with rope, but there are tactical advantages to what Nokia is doing.

First of all, Windows 8 does look good, seriously good, and it has a few aces in the hole: big business has still not changed away from Office, and that’s a major drawback to both Android and other big-timer iOS. There have been rumours that Microsoft is looking at releasing Office for iOS in the near future, but that would seem barmy – surrendering one of their main advantages.

Secondly, there’s the Microsoft app store. Nokia have had its own in the past (the OVI store for Symbian) and Microsoft has dabbled, too, with its poorly received Windows Phone Store. But things are different now. Both companies have realised that ecosystems are the way forward, and working together on the hardware (such as Nokia’s Lumia line) and the OS (Windows 8), wrapping them together and delivering them with a place to get all your software (the Microsoft app store) is a neat tactic. What’s more, Nokia are designing and making ARM-based devices in the near future, and that ties the system even closer together (Microsoft make a special version of Windows 8 just for ARM devices, bundled with Office).

So it’s understandable that Stephen Elop is defiant in the face of calls to involve Android in the loop. He’s happy to rest the fate of the Finnish company on a bigger, more experienced American brother. For the rest of the world, though, that gamble may be just too much to bear. If you’re in the market for a tablet right now, and are wondering about which camp to plumb for, it’s hard not to recommend going for an Android tablet – it certainly looks like the safer option. Android tablets, along with iOS, seem to have their future made a little more certainly. In a rapidly changing tech world, that’s an important consideration for anybody.

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  • http://twitter.com/Liilaby Liilaby

    WP looks as boring as my wp

  • WPIsGreat

    Windows Phone 8 will be great and will sell great no matter what fan boys and pessimistic analysts have to say about the matter. Think about it, WP7 ran smoother than a lot of Android phones on way lower specs (single-core processors, etc..). Just imagine how well WP8 will run now that its spec sheet has caught up to the expectations of our superficial consumer market. This OS will blow the iPhone and Galaxy phones out of the water.

    If you’ve noticed the criticisms of WP’s harshest opponents have been reduced down to talking about the OS’s “lack of Apps” which is just bogus (100k+ is not lacking…). These critics are just minor roadblocks in the way of Windows Phone’s future domination.

    Hopefully though Windows Phone makers will come to their senses and launch some large-screen phones with PHYSICAL keyboards!

  • DaveWS

    I have an Android phone and an iPad so I’m not a fan boy of
    anyone. I love the look of WP8 and the Nokia phones are stunning, far
    sexier than the boring plasticy Galaxy but are they iPhone sexy? The problem with
    Apple is they don’t always make the best phones but they have the slickest
    advertising anywhere. Nokia and Microsoft need to work on that area more
    than anything.

    In 2013 I think we will see Android remain king with Samsung and lots of cheap Chinese companies at the low end. Apple will go on making tonnes of money while steadily losing market share.

    Microsoft WP8 will probably succeed but it will take time. Meanwhile HTC will
    probably jump ship to WP8 because there’s no real money in Android for them as
    they can’t compete with Samsung. My pipe dream is Sony jumping on board too.

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