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!