The Finnish handset maker is planning to take the covers off six new mobile devices — including its first effort in the tablet market — at its Nokia World event in Abu Dhabi in October. The Wall Street Journal cited “people familiar with the plan” in its Thursday report.
According to the Journal, Nokia’s soon-to-be-launched products will include several new Lumia smartphones running Windows Phone 8, which is no surprise. The paper also reports Nokia will serve up some lower-end devices running its S40 software . The big news is the tablet, which will don Microsoft ‘s mobile operating system.
Code-named Sirius, Nokia’s tablet will go head to head with Android and Apple tablets, as well as with Amazon ‘s popular Kindle and Microsoft’s own Surface line. Neither Nokia nor Microsoft could be reached for comment. But industry analysts are already speculating.
Is Timing Everything?
We caught up with Jeff Kagan, a wireless industry analyst, to get his thoughts on the Nokia news, the first big announcement since Microsoft agreed to acquire the company for $7.2 billion in early September. He told us timing of the new mobile device rollouts will be key.
“Nokia may be struggling to capture market share, but they are slowly doing so. They will introduce a series of new smartphones. Some will be from the Lumia brand and will be updates,” Kagan said. “The next Apple iPad update should be right around the same time as this Nokia introduction. So will Nokia be able to keep their head above water or will their announcements get lost in all the Apple noise?”
That remains to be seen. What is clear is that the tablet market may be difficult to gain traction regardless of when Apple launches its next-generation iPad, which industry watchers say should have significant upgrades that help secure its market-leading position.
Selling Beyond the Base
“While tablets are successful looking at it from Apple’s perspective with the iPad, it is also a very tough nut to crack looking at it from every other perspective. Samsung using Google Android is the next biggest seller of tablets,” Kagan said. “Microsoft Surface is trying, but just can’t capture the imagination or the pocketbook. BlackBerry tried and failed. Others are mostly not making any waves yet.”
Despite a new and improved Windows Phone 8 and Microsoft marketing dollars behind Nokia’s new tablets, Kagan, for one, doesn’t expect to see the mobile device company sell a meaningful number of tablets outside its wireless smartphone customer base.
“So if they have around 3 or 4 percent market share on smartphones, perhaps they can carve out a portion of that in the tablet space. The tablet may or may not increase their market share, but could increase their profitability even in the small segment they currently play in,” Kagan said. “It all depends on the steak and the sizzle. First there has to be a really good design, then there has to be incredibly effective marketing to sell the design.”