Nokia Planning U.S.-Specific Devices, But Only for GSM Carriers
Nokia has revealed plans to re-enter a U.S. smartphone market in which it reportedly has just a 3% share, but at the same time reiterated its stance against manufacturing CDMA-compliant hardware. This information was disclosed on a conference call by Colin Giles, the company’s global head of sales, where he also told reporters that Nokia was working on handsets specifically tailored towards U.S. consumers.
After several failed attempts at penetration, Giles admitted that “Our stumbling block previously had been a lack of understanding of the U.S. market. We were trying to run a global program and it was not tailored enough for the U.S.”
However, by refusing to develop CDMA handsets, Nokia is effectively eliminating over half of the U.S. market right off the bat, as both Verizon and Sprint adhere to that standard. Giles acknowledged that Nokia is concentrating its efforts on next-generation LTE hardware — the 4G technology being adopted by Verizon along with GSM carriers AT&T and T-Mobile — but until there is sufficient national coverage, it seems that dual-technology handsets will still be necessary for most of Verizon’s customers.
What’s more, Nokia will soon be offering phones on three separate platforms (S40, Symbian, and MeeGo), none of which are very familiar to U.S. consumers — consumers who already have more than a handful of operating systems to choose from. It seems like Nokia’s best chance for success stateside, then, is to leverage its size in producing very competitively-priced devices while continuing to innovate in terms of features and services. With so many other products to choose from, American shoppers need a reason to look at Nokia again, and high-quality, cutting-edge hardware sold at low prices may give them that reason.