Nokia had a chance. They had a huge chance. Nokia was the first to have a easy to use version of Linux on a portable device. Since the N800, people have been wishing and pleading with Nokia to release Maemo on a cellphone. Instead, they wasted time. They brought out the N810 and while it was a very cool device, it was not a cellphone.
Then Google purchased Android and was able to attract HTC , Motorola and Saygus. HTC released the G1, myTouch 3g, HTC Hero(European), HTC Hero (sprint) and the Droid Eris. Motorola of course released the Droid and the Cliq. Saygus has the V1 waiting in the wings. Plus Motorola isDroids this quarter. With the number of handsets released plus the number of handsets waiting in the wings Android is now a force to be reckoned with.
What did Nokia do? Continue to sell mundane handsets with the ugly Series 60 OS and el cheapo handsets. Yes they sold a lot of phones, but the world is starting to move to smartphones. Nokia had the chance to be the first Linux based phone to get serious traction and they squandered that opportunity. Then, Nokia released the N900. Finally Maemo fans have a device that is what they have been asking for.
However, Nokia has missed the boat. The N900 is not subsidized anywhere in the US and while it will run on T-Mobile, they are not subsidizing it. Plus there is the wildly swinging price for the phone. Initially the N900 was $598 and now it is currently $549.99 on Amazon. When my friend Pat Davila , Amazon had it listed for $799. In this economy it is not likely that they will sell many handsets at this price point. At this price point, they will only sell to geeks who have too much money and not enough sense. Why spend $549 when $199 can get you a Droid that has more software and mind share. Nokia is also not even marketing this phone at all in North America and has closed their flagship stores here in the US and in . As much as I liked the N770 back when I reviewed it, I don’t see a reason to purchase another Maemo device and if I had that kind of cash, I would buy a netbook AND a Android device.
Nokia, here is what you need to do to win me back. Get T-Mobile or AT&T to subsidize the N900. Make the price around $150 and you will sell a ton of them. Also, come up with a marketing plan in the US. Market to the exact group of people that bought the Droid or any Android device and you will probably be much more successful in this market. The device looks great and even though it doesn’t have a capacitive screen, it does have a very beautiful interface. As good as those things are, people aren’t going to spend that kind of cash on a unlocked phone.
So what are your thoughts? Has Nokia missed the Linux phone boat? Tell us! Am I wrong? Give me some info that proves that. As it stands now, Nokia smartphones are a big load of FAIL!