Nokia’s 2010 flagship is a lame duck.

I don’t claim to know much about marketing, but as a potential customer it seems to me that Nokia has made their 2010 flagship N8 a lame duck.

CNET Australia broke the news that future high-end Nokias will run MeeGo exclusively. This is fantastic news. But openly admitting that the N8 is to be the company’s last flagship handset running Symbian is, IMHO, colossally stupid.

I guess the Finns figure that people will trip over themselves to grab this piece of living history, and that showing off a mobile OS dating back to 2001 on an end-of-life product will somehow be a status symbol.

I see things a bit differently.

Knowing that Nokia’s first proper MeeGo handset will come to market by the end of this calendar year, and that open-source OSes on commodity hardware is the end-game for the smartphone market, there’s no way I’m going anywhere near an N8.

To be clear, I’m not saying it’s going to be a bad phone — the camera demos alone have been very impressive. What I’m saying is that  it’s going to be an spectacularly unsuccessful one, a flop that Nokia can’t afford at this point with so many people writing them off.

There is a way out of this mess, which I suggested in the live Q&A with the N8 team back in April: Give N8 users the option to boot into MeeGo. Nokia has already shown official support for dual-booting with the N900 and some clever hacker is going to get MeeGo on the N8 anyway, so why not make it easy for the rest of us?

I’m writing this as a fan of Nokia devices. I don’t want to see them fail, again. But mark my words: If they bring the N8 to market as-is it will most certainly do just that.

4 comments:

  1. I think that might be a little pessimistic, even if it is a lame duck for the Nseries. Nokia will continue Symbian on many other lines of phones, and let’s face it, most consumers don’t know that Nokia has multiple OSs or that this will be the last Nseries running Symbian.

  2. If not pessimistic I’ll concede to being North America-centric. I don’t foresee see any carriers here having any interest in the N8, leaving it in the hands of resellers who will offer it unlocked.

    And their customers will almost certainly know all about Symbian vs. MeeGo, and I’m fairly confident that they’ll pass on it.

  3. It’s not a flagship. Did you also call the 5800 a flagship when S60v5 was new? I hope not. (added by Mobile using Mippin)

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