Nokia: any hope for US significance?

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Ah, poor Nokia. It’s marketshare keeps on slipping (according to IDC), and the US market share is just tiny, compared to the world-wide (7.8%). Yet the management seems to claim that US market will be the priority, and that company will be “listening to carriers”. At the same time there will be no new CDMA models, even though that decision automatically shrinks available market to only GSM carriers. Verizon’s LTE rollout is insignificant, and if new Nokia handsets will be only LTE and GSM, without CDMA support, they probably won’t be available on Verizon network at all.

Right now, Nokia’s handset that are available are just unremarkable and boring compared to other offerings.
AT&T: 2330, 6350, 2720 and E71x, but AT&T’s major selling point is the iPhone. Have seen any Nokia ads from AT&T in last couple years? Yeah, exactly. And competing with slick Apple’s iPhone is hard — fewer applications, clunky “legacy” interface, weird touch-screen behavior.

T-Mobile: 5230 Nuron, 2720, 2330 and E73. Also an Android garden now, with MyTouch devices being the most advertised. Despite problems with Nexus one, Android buzz is on for T-Mobile.

Sprint has no Nokia handsets at all, and Verizon has Nokia 7705 Twist, but most emphasis goes on Droid lineup. Unless Nokia decides to make Nokia Droid, or anything Android-based and CDMA-compatible, no hope there.

So, other than dumb-phones, where are Nokia handsets? I guess only on their web site. But given that primary GSM carrier here is AT&T, Nokia fan is practically forced to get a contract for reasonable rate, and then pay on top of everything another $300+. Would you do that if you weren’t a hardcore Nokia fan? When iPhone is there for less?

T-Mobile is positioned as smaller and cheaper offering, and uses different frequencies for 3G, which narrows down model lineup further.

But even if someone decides to go with Nokia, what exactly do they get? Half-empty OVI store? Sparce firmware updates and long lead time for fixing UI issues? All while Android and iPhone users get updates, which make their phones faster, better and easier to use.

Compare that to this official demonstration of new Nokia N8 in London and I kinda doubt that end user will prefer that to an iPhone or Droid:


So, unless Nokia starts to:
a) make CDMA-compatible handsets again (to catch some Verizon/Sprint users, especially as they don’t have to compete with iPhone on CDMA)
b) stop being too greedy and squeeze out extra five euros at the expense of lowering memory in handsets, thus causing lots of problems with applications
c) work more actively with carriers to have newest smart-phones available for less money than Droid/Android/iPhone on a contract
d) re-work UI so everything is super-fast, very intuitive, works without hiccups and looks fantastic, even if it will look like something new and not Nokia-like

they’re doomed for lagging US sales.

Or they can just say “Ok, we give up, US market is not for us” and stop wasting money and effort. Which would be kinda pity, because the more competition there is between smart-phones, the better it is for end users.

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