I have been traveling around the old continent for about two months. I visited 4 different countries, several cities, and innumerable small towns. As you would think from being the editor of this blog, I am a phone nut. I live, breathe, and love smartphones; it’s really fun for me to see what people are using on the streets, as well going into every single operator and phone shop I see while I travel.
I was expecting Nokia to have an important presence in Europe. Unfortunately, that is not what I saw in any of the countries I visited. It was quite simple; the broken iPhone 4/S and the Galaxy S2/3 were king. It amazed me to see how many people were sporting the recently announced Galaxy SIII, even in little towns where you wouldn’t think people would care for such a “novelty”. Phone operator shops were plastered with the new Galaxy SIII advertisements. The iPhone 4S and now the Samsung Galaxy lineup sit comfortably in their dedicated corners, while the Lumia smartphones are with the bulk; unnoticed, lost.
I noticed that people have changed their minds about smartphones. They assign them an importance within their lives comparable to that of eating. People are getting techy, geeky. We are not in the last decade anymore; people know what a processor is, people know how much better a HD/Retina display looks, and like the flat screen TV craze: the thinner the better. Judging from the iPhone 4S and Galaxy SIII sales, people are paying a premium for smartphones these days. Of course there’s another huge market for budget phones, but in developed countries, I don’t see people sparing money when buying a phone: you can see plenty of Galaxy Notes, iPhone 4S, and Galaxy S2 and 3 smartphones. The SIII was selling unlocked for around 600 EUR, yet people are buying it. I think the market is getting picky, and when you put the Lumia 900 next to the SIII or the iPhone, anyone could tell which is the “better” phone in terms of specs. Looks like design and colors, which are better in the Lumia lineup, are not doing it.
I think Nokia is inadvertently becoming a second-tier manufacturer. The Lumia 900 is selling for 50 USD in the U.S, yet people keep buying the way more expensive iPhone 4S; and, don’t be surprised when the Galaxy SIII sales surpass the Lumia 900 sales; that will happen, here in the U.S, and in the rest of the world. Operators pushed the Lumia 900, but the SIII and 4S have a special corner in stores because they are king: they offer the most specs, and the highest quality.
Anyway. From those observations, I would like to see Nokia come up with something expensive, sexy, shinny, well spec’d, and slim. Hopefully by the end of the year. November or early december would be a great time since it’s in high holiday season.