Nokia has announced taxing MMS sales targets, launched six new phones, and revealed better-than-expected sales figures for its 7650 picture phone. The Finnish firm will face fierce competition next year from Japanese phone manufacturers. However, if it can keep its focus on customer requirements over engineer requirements, it should be able to rise to the challenge.
Nokia says that it wants half the handsets it sells in 2003 to be MMS-enabled.
Nokia, the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer, has made several interesting announcements recently.
The Finnish company wants half the mobiles it sells next year to be MMS-enabled – and for 50-100 million of them to have a color screen. It’s bullish on its Series 60 operating system, which it has licensed to manufacturers accounting for 60% of global handset production. The UK’s Sendo on Wednesday ditched its support for Microsoft’s Smartphone platform in favor of Series 60.
Nokia’s also upbeat on its 7650 handset. It responded to an estimate that just 220,000 camera-enabled 7650s were sold in the first nine months of 2002, by saying that sales have now reached a million. This is encouraging news for Nokia, although this does include an extra month of mass shipments.
Japanese firms’ head start in camera phones will pose a serious challenge to Nokia. Companies such as Sharp are barely recognized as phone manufacturers in Europe at present – but this is set to change, as they target Europe aggressively with the roll-out of MMS.
A key strategy of Nokia is clear consumer targeting, including releasing technologically identical phones to distinct markets. For example, the 6610 and the 7210 are effectively the same electronically, but the 7210 is targeted towards the more style-conscious youth market and the 6610 is aimed at more subdued business users.
So Nokia is building on its early recognition of the importance of a phone’s look and social message, to create a distinct marketing message. This ability to develop its phones to the needs of consumers, and not engineers, is unquestionably the company’s key strength over rivals.
This hasn’t stopped the company investigating exciting technologies: it has announced a rolled-up parchment type display, which could bring a new level of visual experience when it is ready around 2006. In the meantime, the focus is on migrating consumers to the new handsets. Datamonitor expects 44 million GPRS sales in Europe next year – along with Europe’s first two million 3G phones.
Related research: Datamonitor, Mobile consumers (DMTC0864 – published December 2002)
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