The recent troubles of Nokia have been well documented. From their excessive spending on R & D to their laying off their employees in hordes to losing its market share quite heavily, it has been in quite some distress for a while. In such a situation Stephen Elop recently sent out a letter and held a press meet to announce that Nokia will soon move to the Windows OS.
All this while its market share has dropped from a high of over 70% five years back to 28% today in India. But Symbian is still the most famous mobile platform in India and is expected to retain that position at least for the next few years.
In such a dire situation, Nokia is coming up with a series of handsets specially designed for the Indian population. According to a recent study 78% of the estimated 11.5 million mobile Internet users in the country are below the age of 35 years. A majority of this group use the mobile to access social networking sites, chats and instant messaging features.
And this has given them the motivation to launch a series of these handsets with a QWERTY keypad with an easy option of messaging and emailing people directly from the phone itself. It also has all the usual facilities a mobile phone offers like Facebook, Twitter apps, instant messaging and chat options along with a music player, FM radio and a VGA camera. It has tied up with Airtel for providing 100MB of data download free for 12 months.
So why has Nokia suddenly decided to come up with such phones in India? Is it the competition from players like Micromax or Spice? Is it another attempt at saving their market share in India where it still rules? Or rather than all this, is this Nokia’s attempt at targeting the young Indian market who like their phones with all the usual social networking options.
If this is an attempt to tackle competition from Micromax and Spice which can be shown from its price of about Rs 4,000 [Buy Nokia X2-01], I really doubt it would succeed too much. Yes, Nokia is still a brand of trust in India. But today the difference between it and the Indian handset makers has really gone down.
Other than its cheap price, the phone doesn’t offer anything very significantly new to the customers. And the fact of differentiation lies in what the customers think is different and not the company itself. The time that Nokia was considered the epitome of phones has long gone.
And as time moves on Nokia will have to do much more than just fighting with their brands on price.
I seriously doubt that this would succeed in the Indian market. What do you think?