Not long ago, Nokia, the largest mobile phone company in the world, announced plans to launch 40 new handsets in 2005. The announcement came shortly after the company’s handset unit was reorganized, split up and reshuffled into a number of specialized splinter groups. Keith Nowak, a media-relations manager at Nokia, recently described the makeover to Mobile Enterprise: “Looking at the world around us—not just the wireless industry—shows us how social and market trends will change the future. It became apparent that more divergence of devices would be on the way, and we would be best positioned to create new devices by having more focused groups looking at different value areas. While the people that we had in place creating, researching and marketing our products didn’t change all that much, the level of focus that each person could devote was raised significantly.”
While Mr. Nowak acknowledged that Nokia has previously been somewhat delinquent in reacting to new trends, a trait that has enabled competitors such as Motorola, Sony Ericsson and Samsung to nibble away at Nokia’s lead in the mid- to high-end handset market, Nokia’s launches this year will be an aggressive effort to address previous oversights and develop products that cater to the emerging market of people who desire to take a multitude of previously static activities—music, e-mail and imaging—out into the mobile world.
In fact, approximately two-thirds of Nokia’s new phones will have cameras; 20 of these models will have a resolution of 1 megapixel. Roughly 50 percent will feature MP3 music players, and the library of video games available through Nokia’s N-Gage platform will continue to grow. Improvements in EDGE and WCDMA networks will improve streaming video capabilities in Nokia’s line of smartphones. And looking forward to 2006, consumers can expect to see a mobile television over DVB-H (digital video broadcasting: handhelds) available on a product similar to Nokia’s 7710 widescreen smartphone.
Additionally, Nokia has made a significant effort to improve the appearance of its phones. While the signature candybar design will still be available, more than half of the models in 2005 are expected to be clamshell phones or sliders. For now, only a handful of the devices that will be on the market initially in 2005 have been made public. “We have had a long history of design innovation,” says Nowak. “We introduced the first phones that were available in color, the first changeable covers and unique finishes like chrome and titanium. The new phones mark the next stage in our design evolution.”