Windows

Why Nokia should offer a mobile OS smorgasbord

Nokia has been a no-show in North America, specifically the U.S., but that may change if it can come up with a unique approach to the market. Here's a thought: offer more than Symbian as an operating system.

This is a guest post from Larry Dignan of TechRepublic's sister site ZDNet. You can follow Larry on his ZDNet blog Between the Lines, or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Nokia has been a no-show in North America, specifically the U.S., but that may change if it can come up with a unique approach to the market. Here's a thought: Offer more than Symbian as an operating system.

Rumors have been circulating that Nokia is seriously pondering a move to Windows Phone 7. This rumor isn't all that surprising since new CEO Stephen Elop is a former Microsoft exec. But why stop there? Why not offer Android as an OS too?

What if you could buy a Nokia at a U.S. carrier and had a simple drop-down box for an OS. You could pick Symbian, Windows Phone 7 or Android. In many respects, it would be no different than choosing a PC with Windows 7 or Ubuntu. The OS would be an option.

Now the logistics could be a bit complicated-Nokia would have to integrate three operating systems with its hardware-but the company would have something different for the U.S. market. Let's face it: Nokia is a hardware company that dabbles in software. The U.S. for Nokia could be an emerging market and if the company wants to innovate it should go toe-to-toe with the Motorola, Research in Motion and Apple.

A few reasons why this idea could be interesting:

  • Nokia needs some hook to jump start its brand. You could do worse than being the brand that stands for choice.
  • Nokia would effectively hedge its bets across the operating systems.
  • The company wouldn't completely toss Symbian, but it also wouldn't be tethered to the success of it.

But a choice of three operating systems-it's a safe assumption that Apple won't license the iOS-would be a differentiator. Meanwhile, Nokia could do what it does best. Make hardware and scale.

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8 comments
dirving
dirving

I replaced my Tungsten T3 with a Nokia e71 and have been reasonably happy - except for the mediocre calendar app that comes with Symbian s60. I've tried a few aftermarket upgrades, but found them relatively unimpressive. What I'd like to see from Nokia is better software support for existing customers - just think, they could be the first company to do that well if they wished.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

That's the one thing I miss from my T5. Even the event/todo display; full screen, portrait and clean.

drowlfs
drowlfs

Nokia doesn't need to offer a choice of substandard software. It needs to consolidate its lines down, and provide easier to use software that is fast and looks good.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

Nokia is a hardware company that dabbles in software. Really!!! In 2008 Symbian was acquired by Nokia and the Symbian Foundation formed. Given that Nokia own Symbian why would they offer competitors OS installs?

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

sell their soul in order to get into the US market... Satan has kept them at bay for a good while now. ]:)

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Smorgasbord is swedish. Nokia is finnish! In finnish, smorgasboard is "standing table". Apparently, in brawls, the buffet is the one table they leave standing :p

SKDTech
SKDTech

But having said that I also have not owned one. An Android or Win Phone 7 offering would definitely have me taking a look at their product though.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

They already do offer more than Symbian. I don't think they really need to jump on the Android bandwagon and deliver great hardware with a fragmented software platform. They just need to get Meego matured and on to shipping hardware. If the devices are comparable with current competitors the way the N900 was comparable to what was shipping when it launched; it'll stomp all over Android and Iphone. (I'm sure curious to see what they offer as the N910 or whatever they call it)

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