The tag line for Nokia’s latest product launch claimed that ‘Things Are About To Change”. They weren’t wrong.
If you hadn’t already heard about Nokia launching two new #Lumia smartphones yesterday morning, it’s a fair bet that you knew about it by the end of the day. While media coverage of the launch of two new Nokia smartphones – its first based on the Windows Mobile 8 platform – had been generally positive, a story broke last night that overshadowed even news that the company’s shares had fallen 13%. On the day the company unveiled the phones that were supposed to start the company’s fightback against the likes of Apple and Motorola/Google it was the one story that Nokia did not want telling.
An eagle-eyed reporter spotted something in the launch video for one of the company’s killer new applications, PureView, an advanced video tool on the Lumia 920 handset – that didn’t look right. Nokia had led everybody to believe that the video was shot using the new handset – it made sense, given it was one of the major wow factors for the new phones, and offered, the company claimed, a much higher video capture quality than on competitor handsets. Unfortunately, the promo had actually been created using a DSLR.
Nokia quickly admitted it, and issued an apology. But the damage has been done. What appeared to be the start of a real fightback by one of the establishment of the mobile industry has turned in to a unmitigated PR disaster. Having persuaded some that they actually might have what it takes to fight back against the likes of Apple, Motorola/Google, Samsung and HTC, Nokia may have to accept that it fluffed its last chance to be taken seriously as a smartphone maker. It’ll certainly subject future products launches to more detailed media scrutiny and scepticism.
I’m not suggesting that Nokia will disappear – at least not any time soon. It has a strong business in low cost handsets in developing mobile markets, and a not-insignificant one at that [where have we heard that before?! The same is said of RIM], but the opportunity to be a serious player in the mainstream handset market is all but over. Isn’t it?