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RIP Nokia – A Personal Experience!

Seven years ago when I entered graduation, my father handed me the first mobile phone of my life. It was not a really great phone in terms of the ones we see today. There wasn’t any camera, MP3 player, 3G etc. It was just a normal Nokia phone which could be used to do the basic functions like making a call, using the GPRS, sending an SMS etc. Since then a lot has changed in the world of Nokia as its market share in India plummeted from about 90% to 30-35% today. But nothing changed in my world of mobile phones until a week back.

Nokia built its reputation by always being ahead of its competition. Whether it was making personalized phones like the Nokia 1100 for India or connecting people in any way, Nokia was the name which was synonymous. It had become a generic name so much so that whenever people used to go to mobile shops, they would say “Please give me a Nokia” rather than saying “Please give me a phone.” That was then.

The market today demands phones which have every feature from Music to Internet to Email to Camera. A phone should be able to do every job for the customer. And this is where Nokia has failed miserably and spectacularly. Its eventual collapse could be a case study for business schools in the near future. But that’s for a different day. Nokia is being severely beaten at the top from HTC, Samsung, Apple etc. while at the bottom its business is being eaten up by Spice, Lava, GFive, Karbonn, Micromax, Huwaei etc. Samsung recently crossed Nokia as the top most mobile vendor for the first time in 14 years. The collapse is imminent. But wait. What about my experience?

I have used around 4-5 phones across the past 7 years. And each of them till date has been a Nokia. Its durability, ease of use and established brand name were the driving factors for me to hold one. It was like I grew on a Nokia around me. I am sure most of us would associate with the same.

But then something different happened. The phone became a utility device for every thing from listening to music to working on your emails on the move. It became fashionable and cool to have a high end phone with all the features something which Samsung and Apple began offering through their Galaxys and iPhones. But I wasn’t interested. Obviously if I didn’t need these features, why should I buy an expensive phone? Moreover I had always heard that other phones were much less user friendly than Nokia. I also wasn’t a big fan of too much technology. And so I never felt the need to even try my luck.

When I finally went to the corporate world, my father asked me to get a classy phone to be with the times. Obviously one should look professional in the presence of others, shouldn’t he? So you can imagine how much the mobile world had changed. A product which was a luxury at one time had changed into one which gave you a kind of an image in front of others. And so I decided to buy a Nokia X3-02. And that is one decision I regret even today.

When I went to ‘The Mobile Store’, even the owner showed me Samsung phones and tried to sell me a model better than Nokia at the same price. But then I didn’t want a QWERTY phone because I felt it was difficult to use. Yes, you can call me a technology novice. So I ended up buying the touch and type Nokia X3-02. And since then its been a disaster.

In the first 10 months I have had to change the screen of this phone twice because the touchscreen won’t work. The touch being resistive is such a pain that you have to literally tap the screen hard to make it work. And when you do so, there is such a shaking feeling which makes it seem as though the screen is just fitted as a stop-gap measure. And to think of it, the phone cost me Rs 8000. I had always heard that Nokia has flopped miserably in the smartphone segment. And I finally saw it. A company who I trusted for years disappointed me pretty amazingly.

Sometimes I think that I should give Nokia a second chance. But with the number of mobile phone manufacturers in the market today, does that make sense? If Nokia couldn’t manage to convince a customer like me who doesn’t care too much about technology, how will they convince the geeky youngsters of today? Unless they can manage to somehow stop the nosedive, things are surely going the Kodak way!

Rest in Peace!

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12 Comments

  1. Apoorva Baluapuri

    Totally understand what you went through there. Nokia tried to stick to its so called “durability” USP !! The tide turned in totally opposite direction. With Android upgrades coming in nearly every few months or so, people started getting bored of cell phones, particularly the Smart(phones) ones. Its more of a competition with the neighbor mentality, that drives majority of cell phone market today . But actually, cell phones are more then just “baat karne ke liye” now. Google Maps, FB, News, Stocks etc have just become a part of life for people spending a considerable time on commute, where the cell is a very dedicated companion. Nokia threw all this in air, said “Ayeyeyeo”, and went on with Symbian OS, weird screens and Ovi store. Needless to say, this all went for a toss. But if you are a really hardcore Nokia fan, and maybe want to forgive them for the past follies, you might(and what a big might 😛 ) want to try out Nokia Lumia 800 for your next cell. Its really a show stopper, thats all I would say without going back on my initial word. That seems to the only good horse in Nokia stable. Rest, as we all know, is soon to be history !

    • aseemrastogi2

      That’s the sad part Apoorva. Nokia never realized its competitors could do something at all. They were always sitting in their houses thinking that we are leading the way in the mobile world. No one can compete with this. But little did they know that so many others have left them way behind.

      Lumia is supposedly good. But right now, I am not sure if it can turn in my thoughts on. It’s too expensive. And going by market sentiment for a company which is relatively poor in the smartphone technology, I am pretty averse to try it. Maybe in the future I may go back to Nokia again if am convinced. But right now they are pretty much in a nosedive according to me. They may survive with some other kinds of products. But in terms of smartphones and every kind of phone, they are getting battered black and blue.

  2. Haha first- yes u r a TECH NOVICE :p going by your description.. And secondly i completely relate to your feelings as far as nokia is concerned. I think most people of our generation started off using Nokia and were faithful customers but it did fail us miserably. Lets not even go to the Nokia smartphone’s Lumia and N8 dont even touch the shore, a mere samsung crosses it; leave alone the Apple!

    • aseemrastogi2

      Hahah yeah, Tech Novice I really am for sure :P. I am hearing pretty good reviews about the Lumia series but am pretty scared to try it out.

  3. Dear writer, absolutely agree to your points. Even like you, I am one of those thousands of people who grew with Nokia phones around life. I’ve used couple of Nokia phones in the past since early 2000 til mid 2000. It was wonderful experience (as they were no competitors offering same features at similar price). Hence, we were happy. But since then things changed. We entered into smartphone era and companies like Samsung (especially in India) started ruling the industry. You have to accept it – change is inevitable.

    If you can’t concentrate and focus on innovation & constant RnD, you’re going to lose. And that’s what happened. Company that enjoyed advantage of being first mover in the market; are now almost out of the market. Since then I’ve shifted from a Nokia guy to a Samsung guy. Ranging from small Samsung Champ, Samsung Star to Samsung Galaxy SII user. And trust me, you won’t ever come to easier transition than this.

    Technology & consumer demands keeps changing and if you can’t cope with with it as a company, you will be thrown out of the competition. That’s it my friend. Hope you realize the fact and soon shift to some better smartphone. Trust me, it won’t take more than a day or two to get used to with new navigation & menu system. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • aseemrastogi2

      Dear Harshal,

      Its really sad that Nokia never saw its competition coming. Today if I think of it, they were too proud of themselves that nothing can happen to them. No one can beat them in the mobile phone market. But right now they are getting beaten on all fronts and price points.

      Lumia could be a saviour for them. But its going to take more than one product to prevent their nosedive.

  4. According to me, Nokia is best only until you get a job. Because, once after you joined the working class category, you wouldn’t have enough opportunity to drop your mobile down on floor or from 7th floor to ground floor(I did purposely drop my 1100 from 7th floor during my college days & its there with me now as an antique). Nokia phones are made along with some small defects by default, but you will care about that only if your have saved your mobile from any kind of smallest harm possible, but if you have used it so roughly, you wouldn’t care much about those small defects. For people who take care of their mobilephones as their wife, nokia is not a right option, it will inturn treat you as its husband:D

    • aseemrastogi2

      Hahaa good one dude. That’s why Nokia 1100 will always be a landmark phone. Or even better was the brick phone which they made in the 90s. God it was so heavy that if you throw it on someone’s head, he / she would get injured ;).

  5. Nicely written, but a bit technologically amateur. Several things:
    1. When your budget for a phone is big, *most* people do a decent search before zeroing in on a particular model. The Nokia X3-02 is definitely not one of Nokia’s ‘smart’ smartphones, as several tech reviews available online point out. For the same price, there are other better received smartphones out there.
    2. While I do understand that this is your personal opinion, I don’t think your experience with one phone should be the basis for you to write out the whole company a.k.a. Nokia. That would be like saying that since a Samsung Galaxy S2 owner’s phone failed (and yes, they have failed, just like any other electronic product), he should never buy a Samsung phone again. If it helps, I will explain with my own experience: I have had 4 Nokia phones so far. None, I repeat, *none* have failed on my watch. My current Nokia E51 even fell into freezing water more than 2 years ago and died momentarily; but the thing revived itself and has been working superbly ever since.
    3. From being a cellphone (not smartphone) superpower, Nokia had stopped innovating and looked set to become history, as you predict. But, as Apoorva has pointed out, Nokia has made a *major* reentry into the smartphone market with their Asha and Windows Phone 7.5 smartphones. Almost all the reviews I have read for these phones, especially the WP 7.5 phones have been positive. Even people who had earlier lost hope in Nokia (such as yourself) and who took a leap of faith purchasing these phones now have renewed hope.
    So, unlike Motorola, Nokia has got miles to go before they can rest in peace, atleast in my opinion.
    Sincerely
    – Die-hard Nokia fan. 😛

    • aseemrastogi2

      Oh yeah. I surely am technologically amateur maybe novice actually :P.

      1. Yes my budget was more. And I had analysed quite a few phones in that range. But I wanted a Nokia and also one which was without a QWERTY keypad. Now that leaves pretty few choices, doesn’t it? It may not be a smartphone in the true sense of the word, I agree. But then for a person who was using a 2-3k phone all the way, graduating to an 8k phone is something really huge.

      2. Yeah, there is a difference. For me this phone failed when the market sentiment on Nokia has nosedived dramatically. Today if I go to a mobile store, no one will want to sell me a NOKIA! People are selling Samsung, Apple, Micromax and what not. No shopkeeper is trying to sell a Nokia because even he knows that the good times are nearing a sad end. If this had happened a few years earlier, obviously I would have still gone with a Nokia. But today I am in two minds whether to continue again. And right now, I don’t have much hope.

      3. Yeah, Nokia will not go out of the market like Nokia. They are too big a technology giant to just go away like that. They will stay as not the one who will be the leader. They may diversify their products as already Stephen Elop has said in terms of making tablets and other stuff. But they will need many more Lumia’s to even shake Samsung from its current top position.

      Remember how Kodak crashed? They only believed in the film technology when everyone moved to the digital world. And today they are still there. But in medical imaging equipment and stuff like that. Nokia is going a similar path.

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