Nokia is to lose another of senior executive after it announced Tero Ojanperä, Executive Vice President and member of its Leadership Team, will leave the company at the end of his contract on September 30, having worked for the mobile giant for 21 years.

Ojanperä held different positions at Nokia, once serving as the company’s Chief Technology Officer, Chief Strategy Officer, Head of Research, with his most recent role as Executive Vice President of Services seeing him oversee the support and advancement of developers.

Leaving Nokia at the end of the month, Ojanperä will take on a new role as Managing Partner of Vision+, a new investment fund that supports entrepreneurship and product development in local communities, which is to be backed by his former employer.

“I have enjoyed more than 20 years at Nokia. I’m proud to have played a role in the company which has changed – and continues to change – the lives of so many people around the world through mobile technology,” says Ojanperä. “Looking ahead, I’m excited to lead the work for the Vision+, which seeks to help communities turn creativity and innovation into products.”

Ojanperä is credited with helping to launch Ovi, Nokia’s answer to Apple’s App Store, a brand that is set to be amalgamated into the Nokia brand as the company seeks to launch a new range of Windows Phone handsets.

TNW Aggregated Feed

As the smartphone market continues to boom, with iOS and Android devices leading the charge, both Samsung and Nokia – the world’s second and third largest smartphone manufacturers by volume – have decided to amend the way new handsets are classified and named, introducing new naming policies to help “reduce consumer confusion” and clarify the quality of devices they are releasing.

Nokia has ditched letters and returned to an all-number naming system which it hopes consumers will be able to use to determine how feature-rich and costly a new smartphone would be. Each Nokia device is assigned a number between 100 and 900 – a lower number indicates the device is an entry level handset and will be priced accordingly.

The Finnish smartphone giant debuted its new system just last week, introducing five new handsets that included the world’s smallest smartphone and a device that boasts one of the loudest speakerphones on a mobile device. Powered by Nokia’s latest Symbian update, codenamed Belle, Nokia’s 600, 700 and 701 featured 1GHz processors and NFC support, positioning them as mid-range devices that could possibly tempt users of similar Android-powered devices.

Samsung has decided to bank upon its Galaxy brand and introduce a categorical naming system that utilises five individual letter suffixes and three new subcategories including “Pro”, “LTE” and “Plus”. Now, when the Korean smartphone giant releases a new smartphone, it will launch as a Galaxy handset but be classified as an S, R (Royal), W (Wonder), M (Magical) or Y (Young) and possibly bear the additional tag of Plus (indicating it is an upgrade of the existing model), Pro (the inclusion of a QWERTY keyboard) and LTE (which highlights the fact the handset is 4G-enabled).

Two different naming policies with a similar goal – to better classify the large number of smartphones the two companies are releasing. The final part of the last sentence is telling, especially in terms of how the smartphone market stands at the moment; Nokia and Samsung are both selling millions of handsets cumulatively but only a select number of models are standing out as popular models.

Both Samsung and Nokia dedicate huge resources to research and development, setting aside budgets to assess the needs of the market, the decision to introduce new naming policies hasn’t been taken lightly. The aim is to increase sales and provide a basis from which customers can logically follow iterations of both companies’ handsets – opinions are mixed on whether the intention and the end result will correlate.

Nokia’s Heritage

Nokia’s decision to adopt to an all-number naming policy again sees the company return to its roots, utilising a system that proved popular and helped it sell 160 million units of the 3210, a small handset loved for the ability to play Snake, compared to the company’s most popular Symbian handset – the Nokia N8 – which is expected to sell around 9 million units this year, despite the fact it is quite possibly the best cameraphone on the market, can navigate you through traffic and connect to the world’s most popular social networks.

It’s interesting that in the time Nokia realised it was fast losing its relevance in the smartphone market, it had dropped from being the UK’s number two super brand in 2002 to rank 89th in 2010.

Ben Sillis, Deputy Editor at ElectricPig, believes that whilst Nokia and Samsung are hoping their new naming policies will reap rewards, the Finnish mobile giant has taken the right path:

While Nokia’s nomenclature U-turn is a bit odd, given its last naming scheme (E7, N8 etc) lasted only a year before they realised it was rather stifling, I’d say it’s the only mobile brand that can get away with it in this day and age.

Think about it – your first mobile phone was probably a Nokia, and you probably remember what four digit code it was too, be it the 5100 or the 3210. It’s still part of Nokia’s DNA and image – so long as the phone is good I don’t think their new series will be any less memorable. I do still wonder how they’re going to cope since they actually ran out of four digit numbers, but I’d say naming conventions are the least of Nokia’s concerns right now.

Sillis brings a good point; many mobile phone owners will remember the Nokia of old and the different classes of phones that were associated with varying numerical classifications. However, relying on a system that worked for the company ten years ago may not have much resonance with the younger smartphone generation that has grown up with brand names including iPhone, Galaxy, Desire and Curve and Bold.

In a market where branding is key and Nokia’s reputation has taken a beating, having pure numbers over unique and memorable names may impair the Finnish mobile giant’s ability to establish emotional connections with its customers.

With the launch of new Windows Phone handsets in the coming months, Nokia hopes to reinvent itself as a smartphone vendor, particularly in North America and Europe. It is not clear how the company intends to differentiate its Windows Phone devices from its existing Symbian range, but advertising new the hypothetical new “Nokia 950 powered by Windows Phone” is certainly considerably less romantic and buzzworthy than that the “Sensation”, “Galaxy”, “Droid” or “iPhone” brands that HTC, Samsung, Motorola and Apple have used effectively.

That isn’t to say it won’t work, Nokia’s approach needs to be spot on. The Finnish mobile carrier needs to extol the virtues of the Windows Phone platform without resorting to industry jargon and push its impressive hardware technology to the average consumer, repairing the company’s image as a relevant smartphone maker in the face of iOS and Android dominance.

Royal? Wonder? Magical?

Samsung finds itself with a completely different set of challenges than its Finnish rival; its smartphones are actually selling.

The decision to reformat its device lineup sees the company continue go all-in with its Galaxy brand, which has helped Samsung establish itself as the top Android vendor. With the original Galaxy S selling strongly, its successor – the Galaxy S II – accounted for roughly a third of the Korean manufacturer’s total smartphone sales in the last quarter, helping to position the company as the second largest manufacturer in terms of smartphone sales.

The problem with Samsung’s new naming scheme is that it has a very real chance of running out of naming combinations that remain relevant.

Ben Sillis, who believed Nokia may have a chance of succeeding with its new policy, isn’t so complimentary of Samsung’s decision:

Samsung however is rather confining itself with its daft new Galaxy range. By sticking with four letters, they’re going to end up a year or two down the line with the Galaxy Y 4 and the Galaxy P III and other stupid names nobody will remember, because already Galaxy is all most people can remember the S 2 is called.

It’s missing the point too – it doesn’t have that heritage Nokia does. It needs to make every device in every range a hero product, and the way to do that now is to give them an individual name. Besides, you know the US networks are only going to change their names anyway.

Currently, Samsung uses such names like Geo, Fit, Ace and Portal for its range of smartphones, all of which form part of the Galaxy brand. Most of Samsung’s smartphone range is focused on the low to mid-range market, the type of devices that are selling in moderate numbers and helping Google’s Android platform grow to power nearly two thirds of all smartphones sold in the previous quarter.

Taking a look at the current devices on sale, it would be easy to look at the devices and think why Samsung wouldn’t just amalgamate the four devices and release one device that fused the the unique features of each device?

It appears that Samsung may just do that, iterating each of its devices in a specific range only slightly to include a keyboard or support for next-generation mobile networks. If this is the case, the company may not need to worry about its naming policy, as it would be rely on the strength and saleability of each smartphone in the S, R (Royal), W (Wonder), M (Magical) or Y (Young) categories.

Too Many Phones?

Smartphone manufacturers enjoying increased smartphone sales have something in common; they all have a “this is the best phone we offer” model, which HTC, Samsung and Apple have used to varying degrees of success.

Apple, of course, only sells one device (although that could change with the rumoured release of an iPhone 4S alongside the iPhone 5) and has risen to become the number one smartphone manufacturer. Its focus on design and popularising features that have been previously offered by rivals to lesser success has helped it remain current, despite the fact that its rivals have built and released significantly more powerful devices during that time.

The use of a “best phone we offer” model caters for customers that want to own the best device a manufacturer offers and will often pay significantly more to own it.

Despite falling sales, Nokia still dominates mobile sales in emerging markets and that is unlikely to change – its devices are cheap and packed with features tailored for consumers in countries that need a phone to be a phone and require the minimum in value-added services.

Whilst Apple’s strategy is to offer a simple range of products and make them the best in their class, Nokia still needs to cover every major price point between €30 to €600 – a difficult task,  but the company could still limit its offerings to not only make it easier for consumers to identify the right device for them but also for Nokia’s engineers, which have to ensure its smartphone experience is consistent across its range.

With a small number of devices, even just one, at each price point, manufacturers give themselves a very real chance of innovating to deliver handsets that can stand out amongst their rivals, especially in a market where the majority of devices are Android powered.

Luke McKinney, a writer for Dialaphone, sums up the current state of the mobile industry and hits the nail right on the head:

Phone companies have to build a brilliant handset you’ll want to use for years, and sell you another handset the next year. This schizophrenic pressure has driven them crazy: instead of crafting the ultimate phone to defeat the competition, they’re trying to cram a new mobile down your throat every month, and if they thought for a single second that would count as a legal sale you’d have an advertising executive’s arm in your oesophagus right now.

This rapid cycling devalues what should be the lodestone of the modern world. A portable computer which can contact anyone else with one on Earth. That should revolutionize society, ending national borders and ushering in a new age of global communication. Instead it’s being spraypainted with Twilight figures and sold for a profit (which at least proves that the species isn’t ready for Utopia.)

The bigger the brand, the greater this pressure to perform. Apple release a major revision every twelve months, usually with a contract of thirty-six months, and apparently keep a straight face through the entire transaction. Whilst queuing for days on end, some obsessive fans have spent longer in line for their products than other people have spent using them. The worst effect is how a guaranteed release date means you’re trying to find something to cram into the next generation, instead of releasing a next generation when you have something worthwhile.

Ultimately, the name of a smartphone will do little to help it sell if the device itself isn’t worthy. Nokia has a lot to do to regain consumer trust, having failed to deliver a complete mobile experience despite the inclusion of some of the most impressive hardware features seen in mobile devices today.

With its numerical naming scheme, Nokia has ensured it at least has something unique to its brand – other vendors have moved away from similar policies and moved to memorable naming systems. Samsung, on the other hand, may notice no difference from its naming change, simply because its smartphones are high-quality and targeted.

Both companies need to ensure they invest fully in their 900 and Galaxy S ranges respectively, focusing on innovation instead of regular release cycles. If their top-end devices impress, confidence in the brand is sustained and consumers are more likely to share their experiences with friends or family, in turn driving demand.

Samsung knows this, which is why it has increased the visibility of its Galaxy brand, Nokia on the other hand needs to hit the ground running – quite how it intends to do that we wait with baited breath to find out.

TNW Aggregated Feed

Despite Apple’s impact on the mobile industry over the past four years, it had yet to clinch the number one spot as the top smartphone vendor, that honour resting with Nokia despite its troubles. Now, as research and consulting firm Strategy Analytics notes, that’s all changed.

We previously reported Apple’s sales dominance over Nokia for Q2 of this year, and now taking Samsung’s results for the quarter into consideration, Nokia has dropped from the top to third place for units sold and market share.

Figures for Q2 2011 show that Apple has become the world’s largest smartphone vendor by volume of units sold (20.3 million) and market share (18.5%). Nokia sold 16.7 million units in Q2 and had a 15.2% market share, while Samsung sold 19.2 million units with a 17.5% share.

This latest news is another blow to declining Finnish company Nokia which is pinning its hopes of turning its situation around on its its first Windows Phone device, expected to be launched  later this year.

Although Apple may be dominant for this quarter, it’s worth bearing in mind the words of another analyst firm, ABI Research, which notes that Samsung may be in the strongest position overall. “Although Apple’s 142% year on year growth placed it as number one this quarter, Samsung’s 500% year on year growth shows that going forward, the top smartphone OEM position is Samsung’s to lose.”

TNW Aggregated Feed

On Monday, Apple announced iMessage, which is essentially a full IM client that happens to live inside your standard Messages app. The “BBM killer” caused RIM’s stock to sink to its lowest level since 2007.  Now, Nokia is fighting back and has just announced its own free messaging platform: IM for Nokia, which is an instant messenger program that allows you to send messages to anybody with the same app installed, as well as one or all of the following: Ovi Mail account, Google Talk, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and MySpace IM.

IM for Nokia is currently available from Ovi Store, but will come pre-installed on new devices over the coming months. To use, load the app in the applications menu of your Nokia phone and log in using your Ovi account or other accounts such as Google Talk. Then press the menu button on the bottom left of the screen and select Add friends and import via email address or Contacts. To chat, just press a friend’s name to open a chat window. Press Hide to keep the app running in the background to receive chats throughout the day.

The homescreen widget to the right is your control board for chat. IM for Nokia is available for Nokia X6, Nokia 5230, Nokia N8, Nokia E7 and will come preinstalled on Series 40 phones.

While early adopters and tech enthusiasts in U.S. and European cities are tantalized over the idea that iMessages may free the iPhone from the carriers once and for all, Nokia’s platform is especially strong in developing countries across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South America. But its free messaging platform will only benefit users with free WiFi access or a reasonable data plan in those developing countries, otherwise standard SMS could still be the preferred method of communication.

TNW Aggregated Feed

Analyst reports are subjective, many take one performance indicator and base their reports around its associated statistics.

Trying to introduce a new way to measure the performance of vendors in the smartphone market, Asymco has introduced a new composite index which bases the market share of company based on four factors; units, smartphones, value and profit. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that Apple is completely dominating the market.

The chart (embedded below), charts Apple’s entry into the smartphone market, growing rapidly in terms of share since the introduction of its first iPhone in Q2 2007. Similarly, the chart also marks the progress (or in Nokia’s case, a decline) of established vendors in the space as they fight for a share of a huge competitive market.

Asymco’s results serve as a useful market overview of the past 4 years; it shows just how quickly the early incumbents including Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Motorola have been overtaken by newer players in the market (Apple and Samsung), highlighting the fact that companies that have bet big on Android have managed to switch from feature phones to smartphones and enjoy relative success as a result.

The graph shows Apple trading positions with Nokia and Samsung achieving stability in the market. RIM’s growth has levelled off, whereas LG may have reached its peak.

Asymco does state that the index is weighted towards journalists, so to use this index as a true market indicator would be misleading on our part. But, as the index does pull in useful metrics such as units, smartphones, value and profit, we are able to get an idea of how each vendor has performed over the past three years.

TNW Aggregated Feed

Finnish mobile giant Nokia has announced a new premium Symbian smartphone, the Nokia Oro, a device that is incorporates 18-carat gold plating, a sapphire crystal and leather lining, as well as a number of high-quality features.

The Oro will be available in select markets, running the latest Symbian Anna update. It will support HSDPA 3G and WiFi and sports a 3.5-inch AMOLED display an 8-megapixel camera with 720p video recording. The Nokia device holds upto 8 GB internally but also has a microSD card slot, offering talktime of around 10 hours.

The device is likely to appeal to Russian, Chinese and Middle Eastern markets, where Nokia says premium smartphones such as the Oro are most likely to appeal. The device will come in two variations; white and gold as well as black and gold. It will launch in the third-quarter of 2011 and will cost around €800.

TNW Aggregated Feed

Powered by Yahoo! Answers