Ronnie05's Blog

Examining the case for Nokia netbooks

Posted in Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on March 4, 2009

Lap Top makers Lenovo, Dell, and Acer have announced their ventures into the smart phone space. I had covered a few of these in earlier blogs.

 Now, the king in the mobile space, Nokia takes the battle to the enemy camp by announcing its foray into netbooks. Olli-Pekka Kallasuvuo mentioned in a recent interview that Nokia was “actively looking” at the laptop market as the cellphone and mobile PC markets get closer and closer to convergence (read article This had created the immediate buzz that it was expected to create around the technology geeks and followers around the world.However, this is more than i-fight-you-at- your-home-while-you-fight-me-at-my-home motive out here (meaning Nokia fights the lap top makers with its entry in that segment, even while Lap top makers try to prey on smartphone space). For starters, Nokia was already the largest computer maker in 2008, if the smartphone population are allowed to be counted in as computers.

An interesting line of thought that has featured in Nokia Conversations (Nokia’s informal PR window to the world) is about how “mobile lifestyle” is fusing with “mobile computing” even as internet apps change the mobile phone from a medium of communication to projectors of our selves in the cloud. (Suggest the article as a compulsary read). Essentially, there are three major take outs from the article

1. Mobile devices will have to evolve to more creative usages in networking people.

2. The Cloud will be a platform where people would needto project themselves as a means of communication with others

3. Hence the need for a netbook device!

The article very beautifully explains the device story behind the need to graduate from Mobile Computing to Cloud enabled netbooks. So Nokia’s device strategy follows the convergence story as it unravels and transitions from a N 97/ iPhone to netbook!Interesting times, as industries converge and new paradigms emerge. However the question that pops up is, whether Nokia is doing things one too many? Its 2007 – 2008 strategy has revolved around services and even after a while, Ovi is not exactly “there” in terms of consumers, services, applications and stickiness. The opportunities for Nokia’s software services would surely outweigh the cost of building a commodity consumer electronics device.

The first reaction to this one is Nokia shouldn’t be looking at the netbook space. They’ve got enough on their plates at the moment, the new devices need attention and promotion, it will confuse the marketing message, there’s very little profit in commodity devices…

On the other hand the Netbook can be seen as a natural device extension of the Ovi platform which links up from the consumers to the crowd.

My take on this is Nokia should be looking at its services eco system foremost. Netbooks will seriously not be an differentiator in the age of content and the internet. Investements in the netbook may not be both time, investment and attention consuming for very little returns.

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