Facing stiff competition from Apple's iPhone (News - Alert) and RIM's BlackBerry, Nokia is more determined than ever to hold onto its position as the world's number one mobile phone maker -- but the question is how well can it compete in the highly lucrative smartphone market, where Apple and RIM are the dominant players?
Although Nokia (News - Alert) sells more phones than Apple and RIM, the problem is it doesn't have a hugely popular smartphone - and that's a problem because smartphones tend to yield higher profits than 'regular' cell phones. Some analysts are speculating how effectively Nokia will be able to compete against Apple (News - Alert) and RIM moving forward - with some predicting that it could lose its number one position to a rival over the next few years if it doesn't start seeing more success in the smartphone market.
'Nokia's leadership has been questioned in recent months,' said Jo Harlow, senior vice president for smartphones, Nokia, in an opening speech at a trade event in Singapore Monday. 'However, it is often overlooked that we continue to have the largest market share in mobile devices and the largest share in smartphones, which is the fastest growing segment.'
To continue its assault against Apple and RIM, Nokia recently introduced the N8, a touchscreen smartphone based on the Symbian (News - Alert) operation system which is designed with social networking in mind. The new phone is expected to be available in select markets in the third quarter of this year
The N8, company officials claim, 'intuitively connects to the people, places and services that matter most.' It allows users to 'create compelling content, connect to their favorite social networks and enjoy on-demand Web TV programs and Ovi Store apps.'
'With a supreme 12 megapixel Carl Zeiss optics with Xenon flash, the Nokia N8 smartphone introduces the ability to record HD-quality videos and edit them with an intuitive built-in editing suite,' a company release states. 'Doubling as a portable entertainment center, people can enjoy HD quality video with Dolby Digital Plus surround sound by plugging into their home theatre system. The Nokia N8 smartphone also offers Web TV services that deliver programs, news and entertainment from channels like CNN, E! Entertainment, Paramount and National Geographic, additional local Web TV content is also available from the Ovi Store.'
What's really unique about the N8 is its ability to seamlessly connect with social networking sites:
'With Facebook (News - Alert) and Twitter feeds live in one view on the homescreen, people can comment, read and send messages, update their status, share their location and photos,' the release states. 'Missing meet ups become a distant memory with the Nokia N8 smartphone transferring your Facebook events directly into your calendar.'
The device comes with free global Ovi Maps walk and drive navigation. What's more it is the first device to be integrated with Qt, a software development environment that makes it possible to build applications once and deploy them across Symbian and other software platforms.
In April Nokia announced it had increased its smartphone market share to 41 percent, up from an estimated 40 percent in Oct.-Dec. last year. That means Nokia sold roughly 21.5 million of the 52.6 million smartphones sold globally during the first quarter.
Patrick Barnard is a senior Web editor for TMCnet, covering call and contact center technologies. He also compiles and regularly contributes to TMCnet e-Newsletters in the areas of robotics, IT, M2M, OCS and customer interaction solutions. To read more of Patrick's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Patrick Barnard