Nokia Lumia Icon


Brands keep pushing the limit on audio and video as we start to record more and more of our lives. Nokia’s new Lumia Icon has some impressive features, like four microphones to boost sound quality along with full 1080p HD, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and unpixelated zoom. Now we’ll see if this phone can make a dent in the market share for Apple and Samsung.


Smartphones are now the majority

Is this a surprise?

Smartphone ownership has now reached the majority, albeit by a slim margin, says a Nielsen survey.

As of March, 50.4% of U.S. mobile subscribers owned a smartphone, up from 47.8% last December.

The smartphone is particularly attractive to adults age 25-34, with more than two out of three owning the mobile device, the survey finds.

We’ve seen a stunning reversal over the past five years. With the success of the iPhone and the Android platform, companies like Nokia have been left in the dust.


Nokia closing flagship stores in Chicago and NYC

Nokia flagship store in NYC.We’ll probably be seeing a lot more announcements like this one from Nokia in the coming months. The company confirmed today that it will be closing flagship stores in NYC and Chicago in early 2010, instead relying on third-party retailers for handset distribution.

This is really no surprise. The company has relatively small market penetration in the US compared to places like the UK, where it is also closing stores. The retail locations were really meant to educate consumers about Nokia products and give them a chance to see a different kind of handset. From the sound of things, the costs far outweigh the benefits, especially in a part of the world where most handsets are sold by carriers.

This was Nokia’s official statement:

“In North America, over 90 percent of consumer purchases are made through carriers – Nokia continues to support our relationship with carriers in this market, as well as the continued expansion of our retail partner network with the likes of Amazon and Best Buy (for example), in line with our strategy. As we continue to expand our services and solutions offerings across these various channels, we have decided to close the NY and Chicago stores to allow more concentration on our other channels.

The Flagship stores were originally conceived to inspire and educate consumers to the benefits of mobility through an innovative retail experience, and to broaden the appeal of the Nokia brand. Since opening the stores in NY and Chicago (2006), consumer awareness in the U.S. has grown substantially. Weighing those dynamics with Nokia’s clear strategy in North America, and our well-established retail channel with third parties, we will close these two stores (New York and Chicago) in early 2010.

This decision was made to create clear alignment with our local market strategy and, in addition, as part of a global realignment of our retail strategy in overall.”

Source: Engadget


Nokia to produce half as many smartphones in 2010

Nokia's Jo Harlow.When Apple beat Nokia’s profits earlier this year selling just one smartphone it sent a very clear message. Nokia has decided to focus its smartphone offering for 2010, cutting back from the 20 sets it released this year to just ten for next. It’s an interesting move, and something that could definitely turn things around for the handset maker.

“We see … really fierce competition certainly in the high end, but we also see it in the mid to low end of smartphones increasing.” That’s from Jo Harlow, the new chief of Nokia’s smartphone unit. She was appointed to the position after Nokia dropped six percentage points of smartphone market share in the September quarter report.

“We will defend our position, but we believe we also have tools to play offense as well as defense.” Phones like the N900 come to mind, which for some reason got a really lackluster release this year. The N97, which is pretty lame by comparison, got all of Nokia’s attention. You might have seen earlier this week that Nokia will only release one Maemo phone next year. That could be a problem, especially as Symbian continues to age.

Source: Reuters


Will somebody save Palm?

Rumors that Nokia might take a look at purchasing Palm resurfaced today, giving Palm stock an eight percent bump. It’s a deal we’ve been hearing about for months, though not always with Nokia as the buyer. There have also been rumors that Dell or Microsoft could nab the struggling mobile company.

Let’s consider the Nokia thing for a minute, though. I would be amazed to see it drop the estimated $2 billion to purchase Palm, especially since Palm isn’t exactly going gangbusters. Stock dipped 30% after this same deal failed to mature in September. So why would Nokia spend so much just to acquire the company, not to mention the marketing that Palm needs to stay alive, when the Finnish handset manufacturer is bleeding market share to Apple every day? It just doesn’t make sense.

Palm’s struggling stock is a clear reminder that the company needs help, but I don’t think it would bring enough value to any of the potential buyers to make a deal reasonable. If anything, Nokia could license WebOS for a facelift on a few devices, but even Palm’s operating system seems to have an expiration date looming in the near future.