Say what? I could have had me a download on my old Nokia?

May 19, 2009
At least 100 million users of Nokia smartphones have been kept in the dark about opportunities to download software applications years before Apple launched its AppStore, says Lee Williams, Executive Director of the Symbian Foundation. “It’s actually probably one of the biggest marketing mistakes… certainly in the mobile industry, for as long as I can remember,” Williams said at the Reuters Technology Summit.  “Somewhere between 100 and 125 million units have shipped with that capability. There’s been a download facility in 100-125 million phones,” he said.  And who’s ever spoken about it? Does anybody know it’s there?… Maybe 10 percent have ever even loaded a third-party application onto their product.” So is Apple getting credit for other people’s work? “Absolutely. I was laughing out loud when I saw the iPhone OS3 launch,” Williams said, adding that what was tagged as the world’s most advanced mobile OS (operating system) features, Symbian had had for 3-5 years.

Williams did credit Apple with one thing — a knack for design:  “They pioneered new ground by taking this beautiful display size and doing a display-only product. That was pioneering”.  Symbian software is used in about two-thirds of all smartphones but of course not in the hugely popular Apple iPhone.



                                                                                                                        Apple introduces iPhone

                                                                                                                        3.0 OS software 

                                                                                                                        development kit in 

                                                                                                                        March 2009 


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Yes, you could have downloaded – but what? It’s cumbersome, slow, the selection is done via wap / text-based tree-structured lists, costs a bundle, depend on your carrier for easy download or bad reputation content providers (heard of hidden subscriptions?)
Its not the flashy design of the iPhone – it’s that the iPhone concept really works for normal people, not just technofreaks (and teenagers). I have downloaded to a Nokia, and it’s just not worth it. And I have – and still am – downloading tons of cool stuff to my iPhone.

Posted by Henrique Ahnfelt | Report as abusive

I have the N95-3 and as an avid nokia user for many years, it pains me to say that nokia’s lackluster marketing strategy in the U.S. is tantamount to economic malfeasance of the highest order. A senseless tragedy I must add. I have been downloading hundreds of symbian apps long before apple added an “i” to “phone”

Posted by sollozzo | Report as abusive

Nokia devices are good. On the other hand, user friendliness in most things other than just sms and call is disappointing. When it comes to web, be it download or upload, synchronizing your device with your computer, transferring data with bluetooth or USB and the list goes on. These things are tiring and painstaking in a Nokia device. So nobody uses it, even if they know about it.

Nokia/Symbian can laugh at the fact that, Apple is exhibiting an OS feature that they had for 3-5 years. But, Apple just made it easier which is what ultimately a mobile user wants. Remember, on the street the average mobile user is not a Dev Guru or a techie. They just use technology and thats it. Thats the fundamental fact that, a mobile developer(s) needs to keep in mind.

Nokia doesn’t keep an eye on the market what so ever. It keeps churning out phones like rabbits. If there were serious strategic advisors/visionaries, they would have smelt out the track that Apple was going to follow. Forget Apple, atleast when HTC unleashed its devices with windows mobile. Finally, Nokia released its touch phone really late. Nokia lacks a vision of the future.

To put it simple this AppStore concept is like “Nokia/Symbian invented the Wheel, only that it was square, and Apple made it round”

Posted by Harisankar Krishna Swamy | Report as abusive

mr jobbo:
I think it’s more like Nokia don’t have a decent strategy for the USA outside of sponsoring snowboarding competitions.

Posted by harri kustola | Report as abusive

The problem for Nokia has been the network operators. Nokia and the Operators fight to own consumer loyalty. Operators don’t typically want to allow phones on their networks to download apps from Nokia or other developers. Apple’s success has been in their ability to strike up agreements with the operators, but then again, it has limited them to only offering service through typically one operator.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive