Video: Nokia Mobile’s Flagship Problem Explained

Nokia flagships then and now

It’s hard to deny that since the return of the Nokia brand to the smartphone market, things haven’t been exactly going according to plan. They have struggled in the budget segment of the market, but the biggest struggle so far has been in the high end flagship market, where the competition is super fierce with Apple eating the largest piece of the pie and they have the market value to show for it. This is the real money-making segment, where they have the opportunity to have a large profit margin per device sold as well as build hype and excitement for the brand. The trickle-down effect is real, and if you can make people aspire to own your very best, they will want to buy a phone from you within their specific budget.

In this video I discuss what struggles they have faced so far, how their current and previous flagships fell short, and what I think they need to do moving forward in order to stand out.

The Struggles

If I had to sum up the struggles, I would say there are three main ones:

  • Lack of innovation
  • Timing
  • Execution

Nokia Mobile is not what it once used to be in terms of research and development, and this is especially devastating when it comes to developing flagship devices where companies are fighting for your attention by introducing new features or implementing new ideas. The Nokia 8 Sirocco gravely suffered from this, where the device’s main focus was its design, but it failed to generate any excitement on paper.

As for the second point, timing for flagship devices is of the utmost importance. You simply don’t stand a chance launching a flagship device with outdated specs when the whole industry has moved on to the next best thing from Qualcomm. The Nokia 9 did introduce a very unique pentalens camera setup with an innovative approach, and while it excelled in some aspects (RAW, Bokeh, Dynamic Range) its outdated processor was using as the biggest talking point against it. Even the software shortcomings of the Nokia 9 were blamed on the processor, even if I personally think a new processor would have barely helped.

As for execution, it’s nice to have cool features, but what isn’t nice is when they are half baked or don’t work reliably. The Nokia 9 also suffers from this with its early adoption of the in-screen fingerprint sensor, as well as its buggy camera software.

The Solution

You can no longer cram every spec under the sun and call it a day. It doesn’t work anymore because you won’t stand out in a very crowded flagship market. Just take a look at the Moto Edge lineup for a perfect example of this. The Moto Edge+ is an excellent phone. On paper, it has almost no flaws. It was sold for a premium price at launch, and you probably already forgot it even exists.

So what can Nokia Mobile do?

In my (humble) opinion, the best way moving forward, for the time being, is building a device with no flaws, and selling it for an ultra-competitive price. OnePlus has demonstrated that this strategy can work, and have built their whole reputation accordingly. The software experiences can also be improved. Building specifics software tools or features into flagship devices create value for consumers. Nokia used to do this very well back in the day. This is of course until they can vastly increase their R&D spending, or Papa Nokia intervenes.

Anyway, these are my thoughts on the subject. What do you guys think they can do in order to stand out given the current situation? Would love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments. Do share your idea of low, mid and high end Nokia smartphone.