russellbeattie 7 days ago

Ex-Nokia employee here - I used to work directly for the CTO of Nokia. It's amazing, but unsurprising, to me the strength of Nokia's phone brand after all these years. There's a lot longer of a story to Nokia's decision not to use Android than most people realize. For example, Intel figured prominently, the Symbian vs. Maemo debate raged internally, discussions with Google were marred by massive cultural differences and arrogance on both sides. I'm surprised no one has written a book.

For what it's worth, Windows Phone was actually an amazing platform for both users and developers, and shows a fundamental rule of technology: There Is No Third Ecosystsm. The most dominant hardware maker (at the time) and software/os maker teamed up with a really great product, but couldn't break the established smartphone duopoly, even though it was only a few years old by that point. I wasn't a Microsoft fan by any stretch (the opposite actually), but even I agreed with the decision at the time, especially after using Windows Phone. First mover advantage is huge, and developers only have so much bandwidth.

Edit: Heh. Apparently someone did write a book. See comments below. Wow.

  • torpedo 7 days ago

    > I'm surprised no one has written a book.

    They have. Help yourself:

    https://medium.com/@harrikiljander/operation-elop-6f2b043f52...

    https://asokan.org/operation-elop/

    • russellbeattie 7 days ago

      Wow. Thanks... That will probably help fill in a lot of missing blanks for me. (Actually, I'm not even sure I want to read it... Still a little bitter).

      • torpedo 6 days ago

        That was just the beginning. Once you are done go for "Smartphones and beyond - lessons from the remarkable rise and fall of Symbian". It's an 800-page tome from David Wood, who, according to the publisher, is "the only executive to remain on the Symbian leadership team throughout virtually the entirety of the company’s history".

        https://smartphonesandbeyond.com/

  • toast0 6 days ago

    > For what it's worth, Windows Phone was actually an amazing platform for both users and developers, and shows a fundamental rule of technology: There Is No Third Ecosystem

    I don't think this is fundamental. Microsoft really dropped the ball on Windows 10 Mobile. Building a third ecosystem is very hard, and it's a long term commitment. Microsoft had made good inroads on cheap phones with reasonable performance, and they didn't follow through with that for W10M; instead they were focusing on flagship phones. Flagship phone buyers are a lot more discriminating about everything including OS polish, app marketplace, and upgrade experience (edit to add, and a browser that doesn't suck).

    • jpalomaki 6 days ago

      I owned Lumia 920 and 930. Hardware was good, I liked the OS. I eventually switched to iOS due to 3rd party app support. It was annoying when the apps you wanted to try were either not available or were lacking features.

      In my view the app support killed the platform. It would have been impossible to fix. Even if Microsoft had paid for the development it would not have made sense for companies to spend time with WP versions for just a few users.

      • toast0 6 days ago

        App support was problematic, in part because Microsoft kept coming up with new, incompatible ways to develop apps. Apps for WP7 could work on WP8 and W10M (except sometimes, when the app compat didn't work right on upgrade, and users had to wipe their phone and try again, and Microsoft never fixed it); but there was also a 'new way' to build apps for WP8 that was required for some features, and a new way to build 'universal' apps for W10M that didn't work on any of the other versions of Windows Phone. To say nothing of the apps for Windows Mobile 6 that were thrown away (despite WP7 still being Windows CE, but with a fancy skin).

        It's one thing to build an app for a platform with not very many users; it's another to build three similar apps for three similar platforms that don't have very many users. This is something Microsoft should have done better, and falls in the camp of if you're going to be a third ecosystem, you have to be consistently good.

        • digi_owl 5 days ago

          And that was basically what allowed iOS and Android to flourish. Microsoft already had an established platform with the PocketPC lineage (damn it, Opera Mobile originated on such devices!) and yet they dropped that like hot potato once the media started yakking about iPhones.

          You would have thought that Microsoft of all companies understood the value of platforms, having maintained Win32 compatibility for a decade already at that point.

          Similarly Nokia bought Trolltech for their Qt UI toolkit, because it would allow software to be developed that could be compiled for both Maemo and Symbian. But before that could be put into effect, the board panicked and brought in Elop (in large part because of American pension funds, apparently).

        • akmittal 6 days ago

          This is the reason progressive web apps are good investment. In future if a new mobile platform evolves, it only has to support PWAs and they will have thousands of apps.

    • digi_owl 5 days ago

      The real crazy is that Microsoft, who you would have thought would have known better given their long Windows on desktop history, dropped all support for an established platform (PocketPC) to focus on the Phone7/8/10 stuff.

      This more than anything was perhaps what allowed Apple and Google to take over, as it signaled to companies that Microsoft was not committed to support them for the long haul.

      Not long after we started to see abominations like iPhones fitted with barcode scanner cases to handle warehouse inventorying!

    • karmakaze 6 days ago

      The worst part I remember of developing for Windows Phone was that the development tools were superficially the same as for the new desktop API but not enough for any benefit. Specifically none of the UI code was portable.

  • garaetjjte 7 days ago

    Windows Phone 7 was horrible. No native apps, no background tasks, no globally accessible storage, no serious graphics API, no API for audio streaming, no API for anything! It got slightly better in WP8, but bad impression remained.

    • cesnja 7 days ago

      The phones worked more smoothly than any other mobile device I can recall, though. After I tried to switch away from WP7 for the first time, I had to return the Android flagship at that time (Samsung Galaxy Nexus) because it lagged so much. The lack of apps and no way to sync with Linux computers made me eventually migrate to Android, which still seems clumsy and slow even today..

      • blackaspen 6 days ago

        Man, I miss Windows Phone all the time. If you could have run WP8 on the Lumia 800 I feel like I might still be rocking it today.

        I used an HD7 for years, as well as a 925, because it always felt snappy and "brand new".

        I fired up my 925 a few days ago and it still feels fresh, quick, and gorgeous.

      • ClassyJacket 7 days ago

        A 100$ Windows Phone from two years ago is still smoother than a 1000$ Android bought today.

        • devereaux 6 days ago

          I still use a Windows Phone (and I purchased a few spares as I love it so much!)

          Smooth experience, no clutter, no distraction - it just works.

        • throwaway7645 6 days ago

          Agreed. A single-core windows phone 7 was waaaay more stable than my android flagship. Superb phones and this is coming from a Linux fan boy.

        • mgkimsal 6 days ago

          i could never find a $100 windows phone to buy. I always had to get it 'free' with a 2 year service contract. The 'retail' price without a service contract was still, IIRC, in the multiple hundreds ($499? $599?). Not spending that on what would have been a secondary/dev device to play with. FWIW, I never saw too many on ebay or craigslist at the time either.

      • asveikau 6 days ago

        > The phones worked more smoothly than any other mobile device I can recall, though.

        You're probably referring to the first party apps which used an entirely different UI framework which was never publicly accessible.

        Meanwhile in the earliest days of Windows Phone Silverlight the default blank app in Visual Studio took more than a second to load.

      • Grazester 7 days ago

        I guess you might have had one phone OS that was trying to do too much for its hardware and another that did too little.

      • barrkel 6 days ago

        My Galaxy Nexus was a nice phone IMO, considerably nicer than the LG Nexus 4 that followed it. I actually bought a Nexus 4 and then didn't use it until my GN's screen cracked.

    • Const-me 7 days ago

      > no background tasks, no API for audio streaming

      Here’s my old WP7 project implementing both of these: https://github.com/Const-me/SkyFM

      Update: the solution in that repo builds a WP7 app using WP8 SDK. Earlier versions used WP7 SDK. I had to upgrade a few things, e.g. replaced Async CTP with Microsoft.Bcl.Async but the changes were minor.

      • garaetjjte 7 days ago

        I don't remember exactly, but maybe streaming API got added with WP7.5?

        • Const-me 6 days ago

          Right, they have added background tasks, media streaming and many other features in WP7.5. Happened less than 1 year after the initial 7.0 version, all original phones were upgradeable to 7.5.

          BTW, when original iPhone was released in 2007, it didn’t have any user-installable apps at all, only the built-in ones. The store with the apps was launched a year after the phone.

    • darkhorn 6 days ago

      Also while there was IE11 on Windows on Windows Phone the web view was based on IE9 or IE10. So we were unable to port our app to Windows Phone. But I'm happy that Windows Phone lost the market becouse Microsoft cooperates with opressive regimes (unlike Google and Aplle) in order to be able to sell their Windows operating systems and Microsoft Office to civil servants.

  • nikanj 6 days ago

    Windows phone was a great platform, but the constant abandonment of hardware made many people really angry. First WP7 phones could not get WP8, then WP8 phones could not get WP10. Both times the users were promised years of upgrades and support when they bought the devices.

    • russellbeattie 6 days ago

      This is where Intel figures in. The lead time for a new phone is 18-24 months. Intel had been going around to OEMs and Microsoft promising that the Atom would catch up and surpass ARM, and started making deals. Palm also got screwed by Intel as well if I remember correctly. Nokia cancelled at least one Symbian phone and a Maemo tablet late into development because of this, and Microsoft as well lost a lot of time focusing on a chip that never came. By the time Elop wanted to launch a Windows phone, the only option was to go with a phone in the pipeline. The other option was to wait a full cycle. The phones that could run WP8 came out the next year, I'm pretty sure, and all of the original Lumia buyers (me included) were stuck.

      • digi_owl 6 days ago

        The whole Maemo+Moblin=Meego were also a mess thanks to Intel.

        Moblin, much like Maemo, started out as a modified Debian.

        But right after the merger was announced, Intel released Moblin 2, that was RPM based.

        End result was that Nokia was left hanging high and dry with their N900 that used DEB and also attempted to switch out GTK with Qt (Nokia bought Trolltech) because Qt could be used on both Linux and Symbian.

  • digi_owl 6 days ago

    Established duopoly my foot.

    There was already an established duopoly when iOS and Android first shipped.

    But what happened was that for some reason the focus shifted from the well established European market to the backwaters American market, rolling back some 2 decades of progress in mobile tech in the process.

    Nokia was demoing Symbian phones that could operate as a pocket computer (just hook up to a TV a keyboard and a mouse) while Android barely could show a video on a external screen by blanking the internal one.

    Yet the established players flinched, bought into the MSM hype, and ran their ships aground, leaving themselves wide open to be overtaken by upstarts.

    • jacksmith21006 6 days ago

      So why is there only two and both from the US? I am no following what you are trying to say? Also not sure where MSM plays in if this means mainstream media?

    • jordanthoms 6 days ago

      Symbian had a lot of functionality, but the quality of the experience was poor in comparison to iOS and Android. That's why it lost, not hype.

  • usaphp 6 days ago

    > For what it's worth, Windows Phone was actually an amazing platform for both users and developers

    Inability of Nokia/Microsoft to see that it wasn't amazing at all - in my opinion is the reason they got destroyed by iOS and Android. Windows Phone 7 was far from amazing, and by the time windows phone 8 came out - everybody already realized that and were not going to purchase another phone with WP8 that will be bricked by a new update again like all the WP7 phones did.

  • segmondy 6 days ago

    Windows phone was the worst thing ever. You could only open 4 tabs in your browser. Give me a break. The floor of stacking everything on top of each other was a mess where once you popped off an app you couldn't go back. I used windows phone via proxy, first thing I did was to get everyone to give it up and switch to Android.

    • ivm 6 days ago

      I used Windows Phone 8 for two years, initially it was a $180 Nokia 520 that was as snappy as iPhone. Every popular app worked or had a decent 3rd party replacement. I liked the consistent and simple OS, much better than Android in terms of UX design.

      One day it fell down about 3 meters on a stone floor and survived almost without a scratch. Great hardware, nice software, but a poor mobile strategy by Microsoft.

    • j3097736 6 days ago

      This, windows phone works well as a phone, but the lack of quality apps and crappy browser that chokes/crashes on avertising make the "smart" part a complete fail.

    • yorby 6 days ago

      Too bad Firefox was not available.... I was pretty happy with mine anyways...

  • baybal2 7 days ago

    What office you worked in? I used to meet a lot of Nokia refugees in Vancouver and Seattle. Almost all retell the same story: C-Levels spending more time flying than on the ground, complete sturpor with platform development, internal sabotage in between internal symbian teams

    • russellbeattie 7 days ago

      I was in Palo Alto. Despite the name, the CTO of Nokia at the time was basically the head of Nokia Research, which was focused on fundamental research - like nanotech and low-power comms like Wibree (which became Bluetooth LE). This is a part of the company present-day Nokia kept when they split off the phone manufacturing bit. I don't think the CTO had much to do with the Android decision really. He used an iPhone daily anyways (no joke).

    • xiphias 7 days ago

      I heared the same thing, and I see the same thing happening to Google and Apple as well. Still I don't expect a manager who worked under the CTO to say this problem out loud

  • throwaway7645 6 days ago

    I agreed with y'all as well at the time. Anytime someone hated on windows phone I would show it to them and it wasn't at all uncommon for them to go out and buy it later. The PDF viewer is the only thing I've ever had an issue with.

  • joncrane 6 days ago

    If "there is no third ecosystem," then who's going to lose between Azure and Google Compute?

  • Bromskloss 6 days ago

    > First mover advantage is huge

    And second mover, it seems, then, but not third. Is that so?

romwell 7 days ago

For what it's worth, my phone now is a Nokia 6.

I was choosing between that and a Moto G5 Plus in the price bracket. Perhaps the Moto has better features, but the Nokia has a solid steel plate running through its entire body[1].

So, I could have had a better camera and battery on a Moto, or I could get the assurance that if I end up in a Star Wars garbage compactor scenario, I'd have something I could wedge into the damn doors to avoid being crushed completely flat.

I went with the Nokia.

[1] https://youtu.be/0M3Budnl3aI?t=186

  • ignoramous 7 days ago

    Absolutely can relate to this, as a Nokia user pre-Android era. Nokia 1100 was pretty much indestructible. It was love. It was life.

    One of the ex-engineers in my team worked for Nokia in Finland and he spoke abt this Finnish concept of _sisu_ and how big of a deal it was.

    I think it badly translates in English to 'unbreakable' or 'full of grit'. And he claimed that that pretty much explained the Finnish engineering ethos: Everything built to last forever.

    Ref: https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Sisu

    • jacquesm 6 days ago

      I can confirm this. My oldie is still going strong, I don't even remember just how old the thing is. The chrome has worn off but the phone still works as good as when it was new, and the battery is doing just fine as well.

  • StudentStuff 7 days ago

    Nokia has been the timeliest about pushing out updates too, beating Google to the punch by a few weeks for the December Android security patches recently. Realistically, the Nokia 6 will probably have modern Android updates longer than any of the Nexus or Pixel line.

    • Spare_account 7 days ago

      Is this reliable? My choice of next phone wad going to be Pixel due to the importance I place on timely updates.

      Has Nokia committed to beating Google on terms of handset support lifetime?

      • Nokinside 7 days ago

        Nokia phones have two years of Android updates guaranteed.

        • nikanj 6 days ago

          And how do you enforce that guarantee? I remember when they guaranteed years of updates for the Lumia 800, and then the Lumia 1020.

          If they stop the updates, you can participate in a class-action lawsuit, and get a Nokia ballpoint pen (ink not included) after eleven years.

          • Nokinside 6 days ago

            Microsoft is not good at keeping promises.

            Google + HMD Global seems more credible combination.

    • dethstar 6 days ago

      This was the reason I bought a Nokia and I was very happy already participating on the beta program to get Oreo for my Nokia 5. However the poor support (and by that I mean, none at all and saying that's google's issue when on all my other Android 8 Motorola devices it worked perfectly) of Android Auto made me ditch it.

  • emmelaich 6 days ago

    > my phone now is a Nokia 6.

    Same. Absolutely the best value for money phone I have ever had.

  • ToFundorNot 7 days ago

    The camera on the G5 Plus is terrible, fyi.

    • romwell 6 days ago

      Well, there's more one can do with a dual-lens setup -- but good to know. Thanks for making the grass less green on the other side :)

ironjunkie 6 days ago

Every single time there is an article about Nokia I cannot believe how little people actually know about Nokia, the company.

* The cellphone division was entirely sold to Microsoft ages ago.

* The cellphones coming out today is just a branding agreement with HMD.

* The Nokia of today is a huge company (more than 100.000 people) that focuses on backbone networks and telecom services. Almost every single ISP and provider in the world is using Nokia tecnology. Every other core router or service router on Internet is a Nokia router (or Alcatel-Lucent router that was bought by Nokia couple years ago).

I know the Name Nokia is not Hype like an Apple or Google, but there is very cool stuff happening in the Backbone telecom business.

  • jpalomaki 6 days ago

    Nokia Bell Labs [1]. I think that's something.

    Pretty well done considering that they were in very deep troubles before selling the (worthless) mobile phone business to Microsoft for quite a nice price.

    [1] http://www.bell-labs.com

  • bahmboo 6 days ago

    Apparently HMD is across the street from Nokia and is run be former Nokia execs. HMD gets the brand, Nokia gets the royalties. Almost like a step-subsidiary. Not sure what the agreement was with MSFT but certainly a great save of their IP and brand given the circumstances.

  • digi_owl 6 days ago

    It is not hype, and it is not American, ergo it is not important...

petepete 7 days ago

My next phone will be a Nokia, having exclusively bought Nexus devices since the Galaxy Nexus.

Google's last few phones have been plagued with problems, and them withholding software from their niche hardcore fans was the last straw.

If only Nokia had got in on the Android action earlier and realised that Symbian/Ovi wasn't up to it.

  • nextos 7 days ago

    They should have also stayed with Maemo. A dual Android and Maemo strategy could have been very successful. IMHO the Nokia 770-900 series is the best mobile saga in history.

    I would still carry out that strategy. Android for the masses, and a real Linux as a different product aimed at enthusiasts, privacy aware and governments. That market is growing. Even Apple is focusing on privacy-aware people.

    My Nokia N9, which is inferior to the N900 in some ways, is still ahead of many smartphones of 2018 in a few key aspects. The UI is incredibly elegant. Furthermore, its a real Linux machine, with a real terminal and a regular userland. And offline navigation is amazing.

    I still use it often. The hardware is beautiful in a way very few products are.

    • underwater 7 days ago

      Every competitor that has tried to kickstart their own OS has failed (Microsoft, Palm, Mozilla, Ubuntu, etc.)

      Maemo might have been a great OS, but Android and iOS have sucked the oxygen out of the room. There’s no way Nokia could build and support an alternative OS just for enthusiasts.

      • hsivonen 7 days ago

        The successor of Meego, Sailfish OS is still alive when Ubuntu Touch, Firefox OS and Windows Phone have been discontinued.

        • nextos 7 days ago

          Exactly. And there's still no mobile platform that gives one the same experience as a PC does in terms of separation of OS and hardware, plus the possibility of running a fully open source stack. That's why Sailfish (not fully open, though), Mer, Librem, PostmarketOS, Pyra, Neo900 and many other projects keep trying.

        • vesinisa 6 days ago

          Yes, and one should recall that Android is just a Linux usermode abstraction layer. You can have Android apps within a traditional Linux distro, and Sailfish are already doing that. My understanding is it can be technically made work pretty flawlessly, but bundling the proprietary Google Play libraries is a legal hurdle. So you are stuck with an Amazon Fire OS type "Android-clone".

          • digi_owl 6 days ago

            And this is why we see Google shift more and more development resource out of AOSP and onto the Play platform.

            The OS you get out of the repo today is very stale and bare bones compared to the early days, before Amazon Fire and like.

      • notspanishflu 7 days ago

        Ubuntu Touch is alive thanks to the community [0].

        Nokia doesn't need to "build and support an alternative OS just for enthusiasts", they just need to give some support to the Halium project [1].

        [0] https://ubports.com/

        [1] https://halium.org/

        • nextos 7 days ago

          Yes, Maemo was just a Debian-based distro. They introduced a few changes, but it was largely just another Linux distro. And that's why it was so good.

          It doesn't require big efforts, just a bit of sanity choosing components and perhaps mainlining drivers.

    • bitL 7 days ago

      Yeah, I still use N9, it didn't lose anything from its elegance. I wish they still had Meego, but MS' change agent made sure all internal competition to WP was obliterated, first indirectly then directly.

    • FridgeSeal 6 days ago

      The Nokia N9 I had way back in 2012 was one of the best phones I've ever used.

      It was fast, well built, good battery life, the gesture based UI was awesome to use (the iPhone X UI, while alright is inferior to the N9's IMO). If only it could have survived through to today. :(

    • megy 6 days ago

      > They should have also stayed with Maemo. A dual Android and Maemo strategy could have been very successful.

      This is just silly, one company with two mobile OS is just such a waste of resources.

      • nextos 6 days ago

        Really? First, Linux at Nokia was drawing very little resources. Second, have you heard about barbell strategies? Third, do you know that Nokia was running several mobile OSes for most of its time? Symbian and Maemo, Symbian and Windows, etc.

    • blackaspen 6 days ago

      I've seriously thought about buying an N9 again just so I can whip it out every now and then to show to folks for how far ahead of it's time it was.

      • FridgeSeal 6 days ago

        I would pay serious money for a modern version of the N9.

        That OS was seriously so good. Put it in some modern hardware (Nokia 8/Nokia 9 body??) and update the OS (said like it's some small task) and I would buy that day 1.

    • bitwize 7 days ago

      Maemo/MeeGo is also based on X11 for a graphics layer -- and still provided a smooth, fesponsive user experience.

      • amiga-workbench 6 days ago

        And real multitasking, apps open on the overview screen were just shrunk X windows that continued to animate.

  • Nokinside 7 days ago

    I bought Nokia 3 when it came out because I needed a new phone and I just need a basic phone. I didn't do any deep feature comparison but I like it.

    1. It's solid Android phone.

    2. It's vanilla Android with frequent updates. No crapware and up to date.

    • thinkloop 7 days ago

      #2 is 90% of my requirements

      • gautamnarula 7 days ago

        Vanilla Android with a decent camera. It is far too difficult to find a phone that meets those criteria.

        • StudentStuff 7 days ago

          Have you tried the Google Camera mod? It brings those sweet lens blur shots to other android devices, I have to say it works well on the Nokia 6.

    • dingaling 6 days ago

      3. Reasonably easy to root, with a delockable bootloader and quick-to-flash TWRP and SuperSU

  • foepys 7 days ago

    Same here, even though they are a bit more expensive than the Google branded phones from two years ago and earlier.

    Nokia also sounded quite sad about not being able to put project Treble on the Nokia 8. Maybe because they now have to put in more effort into putting out Android updates but I welcome their strategy of bringing those updates to the consumer very fast. Sometimes even faster than Google.

    • digi_owl 6 days ago

      Likely because Treble will insulate them from SOC shenanigans.

      At least until Google comes up with something that require a more recent kernel to implement, as seen with the whole ChromeOS support for Android apps...

  • jazoom 7 days ago

    > ..., having exclusively bought Nexus devices since the Galaxy Nexus.

    Me too. Why will your next be a Nokia?

    • emmelaich 6 days ago

      Problems -- such as going dead or bootlooping.

      (not the one you're replying to, but I'm in the same boat)

      • jazoom 6 days ago

        I think you misunderstand my question. There are no new nexuses to update to and probably never will be. I'm still enjoying my 6P.

        My question is, why should the next one be a Nokia? Is it just the stock Android and fast updates (which is why I always went Nexus, along with price), or is there another compelling reason?

        • emmelaich 6 days ago

          Pretty much just stock Android and price.

          But I suspect that the Nexus phones have problems because either Google are too ambitious and pushy or differences* between Google and the hardware manufacturer make things less reliable.

          * differences such as culture and communication.

hsivonen 7 days ago

Nice to see people choose phones that get security updates.

I've had an opportunity to try Nokia 8 and Nokia 3. Basically go for the highest model number that you can afford.

Nokia 8 is very good. No complaints that wouldn't apply to Pixel, too.

Nokia 3 is remarkably good _for its €150 price_ (camera underwhelming, screen blue-tinted and unreliable wifi [at least with November software] compared to flagships, but in Europe unreliable wifi doesn't matter since you can stay on mobile data all the time, so better choose the security updates than a competitor with better wifi).

cwyers 6 days ago

For perspective. Apple shipped 77.3 million smartphones in Q4 2017. Samsung shipped 74.1 million. Huawei shipped 41.0 million. Xiaomi shipped 28.1 million. OPPO shipped 27.4 million. And everyone outside the top 5 shipped 151.3 million. So these figures mean that Nokia shipped roughly 3% of the not-top-five-brands in Q4.

https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS43548018

samfisher83 7 days ago

Nokia used to be where apple is today. They had a majority of the smartphone market share. It was a smaller market. They also dominated the feature phone market. It just shows you how fast things can change.

This graph is pretty awesome in showing how big Nokia was:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C8GCu9SVwAE_n4N.png:large

  • srcmap 6 days ago

    I remember the old "cool" cell phone platform cycles are 3-5 years. StarTac, Moto Razor, Nokia, Blackberry, etc.

    The current smartphone platforms probably will last a lot longer - probably because of the App ego systems. I was thinking that IPhone might drop off around 6 years after it was introduced.

  • lotsofpulp 6 days ago

    A graph of profit from phone sales would be interesting. Even inflation adjusted, I bet Apple blows everyone out of the water.

addicted 7 days ago

Who would have guessed that pairing the most popular mobile phone brand, with the most popular smartphone OS in the world would have led to success. Especially if they maintained the hardware quality the brand was renowned for?

Clearly what they should have done is paired with a new OS with basically no base from a company that had failed in almost every consumer venture it embarked upon.

  • Nokinside 7 days ago

    .. financed and manfuactured by the largest smartphone manufacturer in the world: Foxconn.

    HMD Global is essentially Nokia - Foxconn partnership.

    Nokia never sold it's R&D division or patents to Microsoft. HMD global has full IPR access to everything from Nokia Research and all patents.

    Foxconn wants to reduce its dependence from Apple. 46% of Hon Hai's (Foxconn) revenue comes from Apple.

yalogin 7 days ago

The shocking thing here is that Google sold less than 4.4 million smartphones in a quarter. Why is that? I thought with Google's brand name, they should be selling a good number of them. Don't they have affiliations with carriers? Can people only buy them on their site?

  • kuschku 6 days ago

    The Google phones start around $900 in most countries, they only sell to like 5 countries, and they only partnered with a single carrier in the US.

    So, first of all, they don't sell in most countries where people would buy such expensive phones, and in the countries where people would buy these, Google either only sells through a single carrier, or through a web shop that requires a credit card.

    Which, for example, in Germany almost no one has (I think last time we discussed this @germanier linked a study showing 22% CC ownership?)

    Either way, they're limiting the people they sell to to a tiny market, and then they don't actually offer something special.

    The Pixel devices are some of the most expensive smartphones ever, but both special. They have the same waterproofing and features as a normal mid range phone, they have no exceptional warranty such as apple, they have no special software or hardware features like the Samsung Galaxy Note Series' Stylus.

  • dragonwriter 7 days ago

    > The shocking thing here is that Google sold less than 4.4 million smartphones in a quarter. Why is that?

    Google sells a couple flagship phones, no downmarket phones (they don't, AFAIK, even still sell their older flagships), and doesn't really market them heavily compared to the big players in the handset industry. I don't know if they have any carrier deals besides VZW.

    Compare this to Samsung, who currently has four flagships (S8/S8+/S8 Active/Note 8) and a dozens of downmarket phones plus still selling older flagship generations. Google isn't trying to compete across the whole spectrum of feature preferences and price sensitivity the way, say, Samsung is, and their unit sales reflect that.

  • hsivonen 7 days ago

    Dunno about Pixel 2, but Pixel 1 was remarkably hard to buy, since Google shipped it only to a handful of countries.

    • vesinisa 6 days ago

      Same story, unavailable in all but the biggest markets.

  • paulddraper 7 days ago

    People can buy them from carriers, at least Verizon I know.

    Google offers only one or two (differing in size not features) phones every year or so.

    A huge number of phone sales are not flagship phones, but <$300 ones.

monkeydust 6 days ago

If Nokia could come up with a flagship competitor to Samsung s9 I would switch over in a heartbeat.

ZenoArrow 6 days ago

I bought myself a new Nokia phone on the weekend, wanted a second handset so got myself a Nokia 3310 (the new model). Maybe some of that decision was based on nostalgia (my first phone was the original model), but I haven't regretted it. The funny thing is I found a new use for it after I bought it... it allows you to use a 32GB SD card in it, and has an MP3 player app. No big deal there. However, the battery life when just playing back MP3s is allegedly 51 hours! I'm pretty lazy when it comes to charging my devices so I was pretty happy to find that out. :-)

  • abawany 6 days ago

    I bought one too. It is a very nice device and the ability to import contacts from Android is very cool. If they ever got some tethering/hotspot ability, I would make a real effort to make it my daily driver.

    • ZenoArrow 6 days ago

      They are nice devices, I agree. With the tethering/hotspot ability, I think that may only be practical after a hardware refresh, as it's a 2G-only phone. Perhaps in future revisions it'll support 3G (or 4G).

diggernet 6 days ago

Former Nokian here... If there are any HMD/Nokia folks reading this: Dedicated two-stage camera button. Bring it back. Please.

noureen 7 days ago

They took "Never quit trying" to heart

  • romwell 7 days ago

    Must be that Finnish Sisu[1] at work.

    [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sisu

    • rdtsc 7 days ago

      First time I heard about. I like that they have a word for it and its fairly short, I might just start using it myself. I speak almost 4 languages and always fascinated by concepts that can't be directly translated.

      Also like that there is a scale applied to it and it can be a negative thing:

      ---

      [...] there can be too much sisu, and according to the survey answers this leads to bull-headedness, foolhardiness, self-centeredness and inflexible thinking.

      ---

dejv 7 days ago

Any thoughts on Nokia stock? I do own it as a small part of my portfolio and thinking about expanding my position.

  • Nokinside 7 days ago

    Nokia has no ownership in HMD Global who licensed Nokia brand for 10 years to make phones. Nokia gets license and patent fees from the deal.

    The future prospects of Nokia stock are tied to 5G network deployments. 5G deployments start already this year, but they will be slow at first. Things start move along 2019 when first 5G networks and devices (including phones) start to appear. 2020-2022 will show if Nokia is the winner in the battle for market share.

  • alexdumitru 6 days ago

    Nokia doesn't make phones anymore. These are sold by HMD Global, which I'm pretty sure is a private company.

bcoates 6 days ago

I have an ailing 1020 that I'm dreading replacing.

Are there any new user-serviceable phones on the market? or should I just keep doing the Ship of Theseus thing with Amazon greymarket parts until the phone market shakes out into less of a nightmare for users?

djhworld 6 days ago

I bought a Nokia 3 a few months ago as a backup phone when my OnePlus-3T had to go in for repairs.

Really nice little phone I thought, perfectly servicable for light usage and felt nice to hold. A bargain for the £100 or so that I paid for it.

dqv 7 days ago

I'm glad to hear they're doing well in the featurephone market. It's nice to have a phone that has great call quality, long battery life, and can actually play FM radio. I hope they keep selling in the US market.

taoistextremist 7 days ago

So will these phones ever support CDMA or is that just going to be ignored? I wonder how they're doing in the US specifically considering their phones can't be used on two of the larger carriers in the country.

  • kuschku 7 days ago

    Considering the Qualcomm monopoly on CDMA patents, why should they?

    CDMA is only used in a single country, one where Android is massively underrepresented, and it binds you to a single SoC vendor.

    • taoistextremist 6 days ago

      >CDMA is only used in a single country

      As far as I'm aware, two Chinese carriers, China Mobile and China Telecom, use CDMA. China Telecom I believe for everything, China Mobile for its 3G (4G in general is a bit harder to come by there in my experience, so often the only option for mobile data is 3G).

      • kuschku 6 days ago

        You mean WCDMA? That's usual.

        But the US uses CDMA instead of GSM for audio and SMS content.

        • taoistextremist 6 days ago

          I was wrong about China Mobile, it is just WCDMA, but China Telecom is using CDMA.

  • kalleboo 6 days ago

    That's a problem that will solve itself as CDMA gets shutdown in favor of LTE. https://www.fiercewireless.com/wireless/updated-verizon-wire...

    We're already seeing this transition happen in other markets - in Japan, while KDDI is still running their 3G CDMA network, new iPhone models are not being provisioned to connect to it, using solely LTE (thanks to the LTE coverage being superior as they can use the low spectrum freed up by analog TV).

    What does LTE-only coverage look like on Verizon? Do you miss out on much if you pop a Verizon SIM in a device without CDMA? And do they support VoLTE?

    • taoistextremist 6 days ago

      When I go to more rural areas I find LTE isn't as frequently available on Verizon. I'm not sure if they're still eventually planning on expanding coverage there or if they've abandoned any plans given other carriers have filled the market.

abimaelmartell 7 days ago

Didn't knew that Nokia still sells smartphones :O

EDIT: added the still

  • zokier 7 days ago

    Strictly speaking Nokia isn't selling smartphones, HMD is. Nokia itself it primarily an IP company, the Nokia brand being part of that IP. Nokias business-model is about licensing their precious IP to other companies, in this case to HMD.

    • ironjunkie 6 days ago

      Not at all. There are more than 100k employees in Nokia as of today.

      Nokia is a B2B company that sells most of the backbone equipment for telecom (Those 4/5G stations, every other Service Routers or core routers out there, etc etc ).

      The acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent in 2016 helped a lot here.

      • zokier 6 days ago

        Oh, right. To my defense, I feel like NSN always has been bit distanced from Nokia proper

      • kingosticks 6 days ago

        To be fair, there is Nokia Networks and Nokia Technologies. IP licensing is a very big part of Nokia Technologies.

smnrchrds 7 days ago

Is there a good brand of non-smart phones available in North America? Nokia had some models, but only in India and select other countries.

Theodores 7 days ago

The 'Nokia' in this article is a brand, licensed and stuck on some phones made by some other people.

So this is not 'real Nokia' in my opinion. However, an Apple product or a Google product that is actually made by an OEM (Foxconn/HTC/LG etc.) is 'real Apple' or 'real Google'.

The problem with badge engineering is the badge.

  • pwtweet 7 days ago

    Those other people are HMD Gobal. They are in essence Nokia's former employees who worked in the Mobile phone division. When Nokia sold the mobile division to Microsoft most of those employees, management, sales, marketing, design and engineering went to Microsoft. Subsequently when Microsoft shutdown the old Nokia mobile division those now ex Nokia, ex Microsoft staff started HMD. It's literally based across the road from their original office's in the Nokia HQ. For the most part it is Nokia, just with a different name and different ownership but same design and engineering principles.

    HMD Gobal. Building 2, Nokia Campus, Karaportti, 02610 Espoo, Finland.

  • Nokinside 7 days ago

    HMDGlobal deal is Nokia's way to keep the consumer brand recognition without risk or investment. Nokia still owns the brand, licenses technology and patents, has one member in the board and gets royalties. Anything they cook up in Nokia Technologies / Bell Labs can appear in these phones.

    Money comes from Foxconn and Foxconn also manufactures the phones.

    • dalfonso 7 days ago

      If HMDGlobal continues to progress (in sales, tech, etc.) I wouldn't be surprised to see Nokia just purchase them. Or in an AT&T/SBC/Cingular scenario, see HMDGlobal purchase Nokia and become "the new Nokia".

  • bitL 7 days ago

    It's HMD, another Finnish company with some managers ex-Nokia, so there is certain continuity. However, manufacturing is done in China and no they don't own any factories.

  • rando444 7 days ago

    Is there any evidence these are low quality though?

    I bought a Lumia 720 which I used for 3 years and still works perfectly another 3 or 4 years later, although the Windows OS was lacking in many ways, the phone itself is engineered extremely well, drop resistant, and doesn't even require a case.

    I've broken more Samsungs than I can count in extremely short periods of time.

    If the Nokia quality is still there I would love to go back to Nokia.

  • samfisher83 7 days ago

    From wikipedia:

    HMD is headquartered in Espoo, opposite Nokia's head office, and the company is largely staffed by former Nokia executives.

digi_owl 7 days ago

Wonder how much is brand recognition, and how much is the promise of firmware updates...

  • izacus 6 days ago

    Its say it's mostly really good pricing.

Geee 7 days ago

That's quite a surprise giving that Nokia 8 was quite disappointing in my opinion. I think they would've sold more without the 'bothie' gimmick, and just marketed their quality and security.

mtgx 7 days ago

Where are all the Microsoft (and Symbian) fans saying how if Nokia adopts Android instead of Windows Phones it will fail badly...? (oh, the irony)

It's still very early days for Nokia's rebirth, but just imagine if they had only switched to Android back in 2009/2010 when Nokia still had double Samsung's market share in all phones, and its brand meant a lot more than it does today, even if it's still quite not forgotten.

  • digi_owl 7 days ago

    Mostly it was the execs that didn't want to go with Android, because they feared they would end up just another me-to brand fighting over scraps.

    That said, it seems that much of what sunk Nokia back then was American pension funds pushing to turn a Finnish company American.

    In a way it was similar to when Stringer was put in charge of Sony, a culture clash of epic proportions...

    • StudentStuff 7 days ago

      Thing is, so long as Nokia can be the best "me too" brand with immediate Android updates and long support lifespans, coupled with decent hardware design, they'll beat out nearly all their competitors. Do you really want to buy that HTC phone or midrange Samsung that will never see an update to Android 8? Generally not!

    • addicted 7 days ago

      "Mostly it was the execs that didn't want to go with Android, because they feared they would end up just another me-to brand fighting over scraps."

      I know this is what they claimed, but this made absolutely no sense. Windows Phone wasn't a closed OS available only to Nokia. Windows Phone would only make them another me-too brand fighting over even fewer scraps, but with an OS that was far more immature, had little to no user base, had little to no 3rd party support, and had a UI they could personalize even less than Android.

      With Android at the very least they could have had some differentiation by creating their own skins and launchers, etc. but Windows Phone did not allow them to do even that.

      And if they did not want to differentiate on OS, then why not go with the OS that had far more 3rd party support than the one that had virtually none?

      • dragonwriter 7 days ago

        > I know this is what they claimed, but this made absolutely no sense. Windows Phone wasn't a closed OS available only to Nokia. Windows Phone would only make them another me-too brand fighting over even fewer scraps,

        It makes sense, even if it turned out to be a bad choice: while, yes, they wouldn't have been alone and the committed WinPhone audience was, well, negligible, they wouldn't be playing catchup to established vendors on the platform; they'd be on a more level playing field, and if the platform took off and they managed to be (one of the few) early dominant players on the platform, the rewards could be great.

        OTOH, the platform didn't take off, so...

agumonkey 7 days ago

Not bad for a dead company. Uplifting :)

  • digi_owl 7 days ago

    Well this "nokia" is actually a different company wearing a mask.

    The part of Nokia that was making Symbian phones was sold of to Microsoft and is now long dead. The Nokia that remains is focused on mobile and wireless infrastructure. The company now making Nokia branded Android phones is actually HMD Global.

    That said, HMD is based basically across the road from Nokia and staffed with many former Nokia people.

    • agumonkey 6 days ago

      Yes it's not totally the Nokia that Microsoft bought but it's still infused with legacy Nokia's blood. And also recapturing market share after such an accident is quite a surprise.

    • islanderfun 7 days ago

      This is so confusing. I have to put some research into but I'm afraid of buying into a dying brand (thus no updates).