back to article Now, Nokia, what about the hardware?

If Symbian is Nokia's "burning platform", has the Finnish phone giant thrown itself into the frying pan to escape the fire? There's undoubtedly something desperate in the move. Nokia is spending way too much money promoting a platform, Symbian, that is commanding less and less market share. Where once it led, now Nokia has …


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  1. spencer


    Nokia can do hardware.

    The N series is seriously good looking, as were most of the other high end releases.

    It was the software that let it down.

    "Far too many, if not all, of its smartphones, even its most recent ones, have seemed like clunky, decade-old mobiles when sat alongside the likes of HTC handsets, let alone Apple ones."

    I really disagree with this. And I think many others will as well.. the only thing that makes it feel clunky and old is the symbian software stack, which isn't even that bad: It just looks old and is hard to write for. *Not* the hardware.

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      E90 Hardware

      I agree. I have an E90 here, and it would probably be a better phone running almost anything (maybe not VMS). Even the first communicators running GEOS (basically DOS) were better.

      Can't fault the physical phone or the hardware, and certainly not the spec for it's time. Only the software lets it down.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        I also own an E90.

        Now I'm a big guy so I don't mind it being a brick. I mean its not slick and cool like the phones that were released 2 years later, but it does have a nice large keypad and was one of the first if not the first phone to offer a camera for vid to vid calls.

        Definitely a leading edge piece of hardware.

        Flash forward to the N8.

        Most of the commentards that knock Nokia probably have never held or played with any of their phones.

        With respect to Nokia, its not the hardware but the User Experience.

        Not always the easiest thing to navigate and unfortunately the Finns don't understand how to design things for easier use in target markets. (Their contact system is a joke.) (Ovi... don't get me started...)

        With the Windows 7, they get the OS, they get the 1000's of Microsoft developers. They also get a bit more respect than if they went with Meego. (Which still isn't ready for prime time from what I've heard.)

        The new CEO made the right decision. However... I don't think he bargained well with Microsoft.

        Microsoft got a key component from the deal that they need to compete with Google.

        With respect to a lot of the commetards remarks concerning building a better product for a lower unit cost...

        Nokia's hardware is pretty solid. Can't say the same for HTC and other plastic phones. Sure they cost less, but you'd be lucky if they could last the 2 years for the length of a contract.

        To be honest, I was rooting for Meego. If successful it would have gave Intel an entry in to the mobile market and a world class partner in Nokia. But here's the thing. You need an OS that works now, or you're going to continue to sink. Make the deal with one of the devils and you survive to fight another day.

    2. Giles Jones Gold badge

      N series weren't that good

      Problem was they weren't touchscreen phones. It's pretty obvious that navigation on a screen is a lot easier if you use a pointing device (ie. finger) instead of cursor keys. Why use keys to move towards something when you can just touch it.

      Using a phone without a touch screen these days is like using old DOS applications with menus.

      Was the hardware that good? if so why so many screen failures?

      1. Anonymous Coward



        Ok... when was the E90 conceived?

        What 'touch screens' existed?

  2. Anonymous Coward

    WinMo7 generating positive feedback

    says the 10 people that actually bought one, and the 10,000 people that got free review phones.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Can you point towards the 10000 people who got free ones? No, MS employees didn't all get free phones, dispite what you may have heard.

  3. NoneSuch

    Only one answer...


    1. Antidisestablishmentarianist


      Why? So they can drown in the sea of mediocrity that is Android? At least they're taking a chance (which might backfire) rather than giving in and driving the minivan of the smartOS work.

  4. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Dum Dum Dum Dell

    So Nokia's ambition is to become the Dell of the cellphone world ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      >So Nokia's ambition is to become the Dell of the cellphone world ?

      ......more of a Rodney or Trigger from where I sit.

  5. Kay Burley ate my hamster

    Why they chose WinPho

    Nokia is being run by an ex-Microsoft guy.

    Nokia's age-old rival (Sony-)Ericsson are now an Android house so they can't go there or they fail to stand out.

    Because they want to stand out from the crowd rather than be just another Android house, how to do that... Join the camp where no one has made any noise yet, then make some noise!

    Here's a thought, all WinPho's out there have a fixed spec, but their makers didn't have the wedding to M$ that Nokia had this morning. Maybe the Nokia handset(s) will have something the others were not allowed to have.

    1. pisquee

      fIXED sPEC

      WinPho 7 doesn't have a fixed spec, it has a minimum spec. It's just unfortunate that not many of the current model exceed that minimum yet.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      @ Hamster Boy...

      Put yourself in Nokia's CEO role.

      Now Google is your enemy.

      Google's Android is a proverbial hot potatoe. Google will have their lawsuit with Oracle in courts for years. Anyone who wants to use java on a mobile platform is going to have to pay royalties to Oracle.

      IMHO Google was sloppy and they didn't do a good clean room build of their JVM so they are on thin ice....

      So who pays Oracle? Google or the Handset manufacturers who then have to sue Google to indemnify them. (And all that time Google is raking in the cash.)

      Meego isn't ready for prime time and you need an OS NOW!

      So who's out there... Apple? They won't license iOS.

      WebOS? Maybe but HP has deep enough pockets to tell Nokia to take a hike or charge out the wahzoo...

      RIM? They aren't in a better situation ...

      Windows7? Well they have something that can be ported to Nokia's hardware. They have 1000s of developers and an app developer program in place. Nokia also has some things that Microsoft wants... ;-)

      So what do you do?

      Its a no brainer.

      1. a_been


        "So what do you do?"

        You merge with HP, sorting out your OS problem and their inability to make a decent phone problem.

      2. shaolin cookie


        That's the funny thing, MeeGo IS practically ready for prime time! Yes, there's some small issues still, but even in their announcement they're saying the one MeeGo phone will be launched before any of the WP7 garbage. So just when the years of hard work is done, they yank the carpet from under our feet. Don't know if anyone will have the motivation to fix the last minor things now, we're all searching for new jobs. Nokia is being flushed down the drain by the M$ clown in the helm.

      3. Anonymous Coward

        Re: @ Hamster Boy...

        "Put yourself in Nokia's CEO role. Now Google is your enemy."

        And how is that?

        "Google's Android is a proverbial hot potatoe."

        For Dan Quayle, maybe. (Perhaps you're too young to remember.)

        "Google will have their lawsuit with Oracle in courts for years. Anyone who wants to use java on a mobile platform is going to have to pay royalties to Oracle."

        If your name is <removed name of media-hungry pundit> then you're rubbing your legs at the prospect of this scenario playing out. Given the actual nature of the infringement, it's not that likely, however.

        "IMHO Google was sloppy and they didn't do a good clean room build of their JVM so they are on thin ice...."

        Uh, the files were in some test suite uploaded to the repository collection.

        "So who pays Oracle? Google or the Handset manufacturers who then have to sue Google to indemnify them. (And all that time Google is raking in the cash.)"

        Maybe no-one pays Oracle. Maybe Oracle walks out of the court with nothing.

        "Its a no brainer."

        Evidently so.

  6. Peter Bond
    Dead Vulture

    The world does not revolve around the iPhone...

    "Nokia rightly realises Android is plunging ever more downmarket"

    I suspect HTC would give you one hell of an argument about that. And Google. And probably Samsung.

    As for Nokia design, give me an N8 before an over designed fragile faux objet d'art iPhone 4 any day. Even if you don't like the N8's looks at least it's design doesn't actively impede it's ability to make a phone call!

    1. Arctic fox

      I agree. The N8 is gorgeous,,,,,,,,,,

      ..............and the best equipped camera-phone on the market bar none. It is basically a very nice compact camera you can make telephone calls with. In fact I have just ordered one for Mrs Arctic Fox's birthday. You know something? I feel like the main character in one of those wonderful old H E Bateman "The Man Who......." cartoons. You know, as in: "The man who ordered an N8 the day they cancelled the Symbian os"!

    2. a_been


      "The world does not revolve around the iPhone"

      1) As far as profits from making smartphones go, the world does revolve around Apple.

      2) Your suspicions would be incorret, while there are some good Android smartphones out there, most are just tarted up feature phones sold into the chinese and Indian markets.

      3) The N8 is an interesting phone and if it was released around the time of the 3gs it would i belive have been a big hit but by the time it was released it was underwelming. Apart from the great talk time whick Nokia should have pushed in every ad there was nothing to make it standout, oh and a 12mp camera without a zoom is just meh.

      4) Attenagate was an american storm in a teacup but at least the iPhone dosn't turn itself off and then brick itself requiring the phone to be replaced!

      1. Arctic fox

        Statements which are not qualified can bite one in the rear.

        Although the N8 does not have an optical zoom it does have a digital zoom. One really ought to be a touch more precise.

        What this thread has to do with antenna-gate I really do not know - unless of course some iPhans are still so sensitive on the issue that they feel the need to introduce the subject into any and every thread regardless of whether it is relevant or not.

  7. Bad Beaver

    You're supposed to use them, not look at them

    Regardless, Nokia phones tend to look pretty good. At least you can distinguish them from other brands. And the E Series is spelled with an E for excellent hardware. They are the phones with wonderfully crafted shells and outstanding keyboards that work great and last forever.

    Anyway, moving to Winwhatnot, it is kiss kiss bye bye from me. There are things I will not have in my pocket. I guess I'll go for a Pre now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not my Eseries, it doesn't.

      My E52 gives me the same trouble as does Andrew's him. Sure it's all designer-y but it's also very clear whoever designed it wasn't planning on ever using it himself and certainly didn't or he'd've noticed just how easy it is to hit the wrong button, possibly forcing you-the-user to start all over again.

      The keyboard is error-prone, the cameras suck, the gps is a bit deaf, and, well, haven't even tried the bt yet. The thing just, you know, could be a shade better, or three. And then there's the software. Most of the features that I bought it for, in fact, don't work very well, or at all. Even the SMS handling (not allowing you to read SMSes on the SIM but forcing you to copy them all to the phone first... and not allowing you to copy new ones back onto the SIM) is just a complete and needless pain in the posterior.

      Some can be fixed or worked around by third party software, but that doesn't change that it's a fairly poor show to deliver it like this. And then there's the whole opening the source (ha ha not really) and then slamming it shut again. Having the source available was another feature for me. I really regret not taking a closer look as to how open was their "open" before buying.

      On the upside, at least basic GSM calling works pretty well. You'd think so, after how many years was it again of developing that system.

  8. fishman

    Only WP7

    Most of the major Android players - Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony Ericcson - also have WP7 phones. And with the WP7 hardware specs set, there is less to differentiate between WP7 handsets. So by the time Nokia comes out with their WP7 handset, it will be in a crowded nondescript WP7 market. Maybe they will do something radical, like make it in white.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    Nokia's always had its hardware as its major selling point. Not only is it generally indestructible (to a degree... at least it's not made of glass) it's not that bad looking. Everything these days is just a blank slab (with awful chrome bits) - at least Nokia's stuff was different.

    I have a WP7 device (Omnia 7 - no chrome on that thankfully) and think the OS is great - assuming the damn update turns up. There is talk about Nokia being able to change more of the OS than the other licensees have been able to. I can't see HTC and the like being happy with that - after all, they weren't allowed almost any customisation.

    Wonder how long it'll be before Nokia and MS merge in some way and we see the same situation as Apple - they will control the hardware and OS and not license it as they do now.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I need a phone is all

    I have an N97 mini. But I was thinking, I don't watch video on it, don't surf the web, rarely listen to music, don't take photos with it, don't use bluetooth, don't use apps, don't read documents, play only tetris, don't use the calendar, don't check the weather.... The only thing I do is make calls, send texts and read emails. My point, I don't need a smartphone, don't need an iPhone, it's tiring to use those little screens for big tasks. I need a phone that does email and lasts for ages. Ergo I need a cheap Nokia with Symbian. I am going to smash my N97 'mini'.

  11. TheOtherHobbbes

    The Politics of Fail

    The problem for Nokia is that tying themselves to the Microsoft anvil as it's sinking isn't any more of a solution than the other options.

    Elop's move is either craven or cretinous. He's a classic USian corporate demotivator - a self-important gibberish-speaking twit who has taken a company that wasn't working but could still be fixed, and broken it utterly beyond any hope of repair.

    Ten years from now Nokia will be a logo on a sticker, and most of the current R&D talent will still be unemployed.

    But it could have been so different. A good manager would have trimmed away the upper-middle management dead wood, instituted some crash R&D with a short-scale return goal to do something remarkable, and let the current business fund the next stage.

    Moving Nokia to WinPho is certainly remarkable - but only in an exploding clown car kind of a way.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Gates Horns

      I couldn't agree more

      Elopalooza and the reshuffled leadership team have absolutely lost all credibility among employees. If he is not replaced as a matter of urgency the speed with which Nokia sinks will make it into history books...

  12. Tom 35

    Windows Phony

    consumer buzz? What buzz?

    As for the hardware, they have to ask Microsoft before they can tell you.

    It seems Nokia have just found a very nice Trojen Horse and set it up in the board room.

  13. Kristian Walsh

    Clickbait doesn't become you...

    Nokia's product design is a cut above the rest of the industry, and their build quality is exceptional.

    If you hold something like the N8 in your hand, you'll realise that there's an awful lot of thought has gone into the shape, so that it rests properly in the hand (hello Apple?) and manages to look smaller than its actual size (a HTC desire is only a couple of mm bigger, but looks and feels far larger). Design is about more than looking good in a photo..

    But seriously, saying Nokia's hardware is their weakness is like claiming BMW's weakness is their engines. Only an idiot or someone deliberately trying to provoke an argument would make the statement. My last two phones have been Nokias, and they have both been beautifully designed and made. The UI software running on my current N8 is a bit rough, but the bits of the phone that do stuff are superbly done.

    Can we leave the deliberately contrarian stories to the baby journalists on Gizmodo and Engadget?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    wake me up when there's a quad ARM inside

    the title said hardware but where's that part of the test gone! did we miss a page.

    wake me up when there's a quad ARM cortex A9/NEON inside.

    lets see what the Mobile World Congress brings

    1. Charles Manning


      The Law of Diminishing Returns kicks in sooner for a mobile device than a laptop or desktop,

      Most phone-style platforms have limited memory bandwidth etc because of the limitations of size and low power hardware. Amdahl's Law kicks in sooner too.

      Since very few people are going to use their mobile devices for running web servers or compile farms it is hard to think what 4 cores will achieve on a phone platform that 2 can't.

      4 cores probably only makes sense on a tablet or greater. Where they will likely make the biggest inroads is in netbooks and servers (think server racks that don't need air conditioning).

  15. Glen Turner 666
    Thumb Down

    Not hardware, software and marketing

    Nokia's problem isn't hardware. They actually have solid dumb phones, good smart phones and they even had nice-to-use tablets before anyone else.

    Nokia's immediate problem was failure to bring MeeGo to market. It futzed around changing alliances and toolsets and other "second system" behaviours described years ago by Fred Brooks. Google just focussed on getting software out the door. Nokia's executive have a huge amount of blame here -- Nokia didn't even recognise MeeGo was the main game until it was all too late.

    Nokia's long term problem is that it forgot who its customer was. Nokia thought its customer was the carrier. This is best seen in Nokia's huge range of hardware -- one to fit every niche of every carrier's marketing plan. That just serves to confuse its real customers -- to the extent that most of them don't even realise that Nokia has smart phones at all. Nokia thought it could leave marketing to its carrier "customers", but of course they all jumped ship to the products that consumers wanted to buy.

    Given the MeeGo failure the Microsoft alliance makes a lot of sense. But it's a strategy in limiting damage, not a strategy for a strong future. In short, it marks the acceptance by Nokia that it is toast as a major vendor.

    Nokia could still own the cheap and cheerful "second phone" niche, which would leave it in a position for a successful smartphone product to compete with the Apples and Androids. But that still means that Nokia has to stop serving carriers and start serving consumers, and I don't see that happening.

  16. Arctic fox

    Speed of development?

    Another year and Microsoft's minimum specs will be no more than medium end in the smart-phone market given the rate of hardware development. It is difficult for the producers to differentiate their products *now*, certainly - but in a year's time?

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