Friday, January 28, 2011

Nokia Embracing Android (Or Windows Phone 7) Would Be Bad For Mobile Users

Nokia is making money but it's not an investor or media favorite for obvious reasons. Though still the biggest cell phone marker in the world, it's market-share is eroding and being chipped away by more nimble and innovative companies and platforms.

There has been a lot of talk about Nokia embracing Android. Then Windows Phone 7. No one really knows but it does sound like it is about to do that. And that is bad for mobile warriors like us.

Here's why.

The mobile market is huge. There are seven billion humans on the planet and a majority of that do no use smartphones or mobile devices. That means there is a lot of growth. I'm not putting it in terms of potential. The growth is real. It'll be a decade or so before smartphones saturate the market.

That also means there is plenty of room for a lot of mobile players and the size of the market can support multiple platforms.

But with Nokia going away from Symbian or Meego and taking the easy way out by using Android and/or WP7, we lose out a top tier tech company embracing tech without the innovative efforts it would have otherwise needed to sustain its own mobile platform.

Effectively, Nokia becomes another HTC, Samsung, or an drone for someone else's mobile effort.

Look at Samsung. Yes, it has found success with Android selling over ten million Galaxy S devices and over two million Galaxy Tabs. However, it is also trying to foster its own platform. I am sure Nokia will do the same with Symbian or Meego. So, ask Samsung how well its Bada OS is doing?

I'll bet you most mobile warriors have not heard of it unless he or she is a mobile enthusiast like myself. And the same thing will happen to Nokia's other mobile efforts.

I know the executives at Nokia are under a lot of pressure to perform. However, if its true that Nokia is about to jump into bed with Google or Microsoft over its own mobile OS, any short-term gain from this effort will be the first step down the road towards its demise.

Contrast this with HP and Palm. HP will spend multi-years developing and fostering Web OS and I'm betting they will find greater success than anyone else is giving them credit for. Nokia ought to look at what HP is doing and find inspiration there.

Frankly, we have enough Android and Windows Phone devices out there. Nokia has to create its own digital and mobile vision and follow through on it. It's doable and there's a lot of time left.

We need more platforms competing on the market. Not less.

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