During an appearance on a Finland television show, Nokia chairman Risto Siilasmaa stated that Nokia does have a backup plan in the event that Windows Phone 8 fails. We were intrigued by the comment, especially considering CEO Stephon Elop’s claims last year that Nokia was all-in with Windows Phone, stating that “Plan B is to make sure that Plan A is very successful”.
Of course, a lot can happen in a year, especially in the tech industry. Nokia sales have certainly been doing better than expected with its new Lumia range, but they don’t seem to have quite matched what Nokia was hoping for. The upcoming switch from Windows Phone 7 to Windows Phone 8 might be just what Nokia needs to stay afloat, or it could prove to be the final nail in the iconic company’s coffin.
The reason for this, as we’ve already discussed, is that Windows Phone 8 will not be supported updates for any current Windows Phone 7 or 7.5 device. The new OS will simply be too hardware-hungry for the older (and somewhat out-dated) range of WP smartphones to handle. As a result we’re seeing a lot of ire being stirred up by current WP users who feel abandoned, with more than one promise to ditch WP and switch to iOS or Android as soon as is possible.
On the other hand Windows Phone 8 has some very interesting features that could potentially bring a lot of market share its way. Right now Microsoft and Nokia both stand to make or lose a lot of money with WP8. It all depends on whether the new system is good enough to not only bring in new users, but retain the now-slighted old ones as well.
With these two polarised possibilities ahead of Nokia it’s only understandable that the company would start planning ahead, just in case its new WP focus fell through.
The biggest problem we have with the idea of a “Plan B” for Nokia is that we simply can’t think of anything other than a switch to Android. Android is currently the most widely-used mobile OS in the world with the largest number of supported handsets and a myriad of manufacturers, all vying for the top spot.
The biggest hurdle we can see for a move in to Android is that, as far as its Symbian and Windows Phone ranges have gone, Nokia simply hasn’t been able to front impressive hardware for some time now. The argument could be made that, with its WP Lumia range, the fault lay with the Windows Phone OS which had limited support for hardware. Even so, Nokia has been relying almost solely on style and aesthetics in the WP market and, while the Android market could definitely use some more style, it’s been very much a hardware-based arena for some time now and when it comes to hardware Nokia is somewhat out of practice.
Of course Siilasmaa could have been referring to another plan hidden carefully up Nokia’s sleeve, but he’s relatively confident that the WP8 platform will be successful and this mysterious “Plan B” won’t have to be implemented. We hope he’s right, as we love a lot of the ideas being brought in with WP8 and we’re big fans of Nokia’s approach to design. At the end of the day only time will tell and even though we’d like to see Nokia continue as a company, part of us almost hopes to see WP8 fail just so we can see what Nokia’s emergency response team has planned.