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Nokia chief suggests Windows tablets on the way

Paul Smith | Feb. 4, 2013
Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop has given the clearest indication yet that the Finnish mobile phone stalwart will soon make its assault on the booming tablet computer market, with a windows-based device the most likely starting point.

Picking a fight with BlackBerry

He acknowledged that this put Nokia in direct competition with BlackBerry, for third spot in the smartphone ecosystem behind Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. BlackBerry last week launched its long-awaited next generation products, with many reviewers rating the devices highly, but questioning whether the limited number of apps available would hinder sales.

Mr Elop was bullish in his defence of Nokia’s offering against BlackBerry, saying BlackBerry users would not have access to a sufficient eco-system of apps and services.

“I wouldn’t want to comment on how it [BlackBerry] looks. But when a business person or consumer is purchasing a smartphone today, what they are actually buying is much more than what you see in your hand,” he said.

“They are certainly buying the hardware and operating system, but they are also buying the full range of applications that may be available for the device. They are buying the cloud based services that are required to make this a complete experience, like mapping, navigation and music.”

He said when the Lumia first launched it had just 6000 apps available, but now had 125,000 apps that were specifically designed for it.

“Photography is one case where we can make a big difference. You can put our device next to everyone else, including some of the ones just announced in the last day or so and say “boom this is so much better,” Mr Elop said.

“Side by side, unquestionably you can see the difference. Our R&D investment is now heavily biased towards the things that make us stand out. “

Mr Elop’s decision to align Nokia to Microsoft – a company where he previously worked as a top executive – was initially controversial, with many questioning why it didn’t persist with its own operating system, or switch to Android.

Avoiding Android battle

He said Nokia considered Android, but felt the market was becoming too crowded. The growing dominance of Samsung, he said, had vindicated that decision.

“On the Android side, we were very worried that we would be entering Android late relative to everyone else in the industry, that perhaps one vendor was already well on the road to being the dominant Android vendor at the expense of everyone else,” Mr Elop said.

“If we look back two years to when we made the decisions,then Samsung was big, HTC was pretty big and Motorola was pretty big. Of course what has happened in the two years isthat Samsung has captured the lion’s share of it and the others have been squeezed down to much smaller market share. We were worried about exactly that pattern forming.”

 

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