Nokia plans U.S.-centric phones

No more CDMA phones are in the works; no U.S. carriers are offering contracts for its newest devices

Nokia wants to "re-enter" the U.S. market and is developing smartphones for U.S. consumers, but the phone maker won't be building more CDMA-based phones, which run on half the nation's wireless networks, Nokia's global head of sales said Tuesday.

No details for any U.S.-specific smartphones were announced at the Nokia World trade show in London. Nokia confirmed that none of the four new Nokia smartphones announced Tuesday that run the new Symbian 3 operating system can be bought on a U.S. carrier plan -- a development that calls Nokia's U.S. effort into question.

"We're not happy with our current situation in the U.S., and we're looking for ways to enhance our position in the U.S. market," said Colin Giles, global head of sales for Nokia in a conference call with U.S. reporters.

Giles said Nokia's research and development teams are working on U.S.-specific smartphones, but the company doesn't have plans for more smartphones that work on the networks of CDMA carriers, such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint Nextel. It will continue producing GSM phones, which can be used on AT&T and T-Mobile networks.

He said that instead of offering more CDMA phones, Nokia plans to focus on next-generation LTE phones for the U.S. Those devices will be deployed soonest by Verizon and AT&T. Nokia has limited CDMA offerings; the most recent was its Twist phone, which was available through Verizon.

Nokia's commitment to the U.S. sounds sincere, but one analyst said that with only a three per cent share of the U.S. smartphone market, the cell phone maker has a long way to go, especially if it won't be providing more CDMA phones.

"Nokia in North America has the equivalent of Mount Everest to climb to get any significant smartphone share, and they are doing it with their own imposed handicaps," said Jack Gold, principal analyst at J.Gold Associates.

"CDMA is more than half of the U.S. market, so how serious [is Nokia] if they immediately eliminate half of the potential market?" Gold asked.

Giles said a key to success in the U.S. will be better collaboration with U.S.-based carriers. "We're in listening mode now," he said, noting that U.S. carriers have unusual requirements for branding phones and customizing user interfaces, and also pointing out that phones must be adapted to U.S. carrier radio frequencies.

"The industry has changed over the years," Giles said. "Our stumbling block previously had been a lack of understanding of the U.S. market. We were trying to run a global program and it was not tailored enough for the U.S. The U.S. is consumer-driven, and we need products that are directed at the consumer."

In order to reach all segments of the market, Giles said Nokia plans to continue making phones based on three operating systems: S40, Symbian and Meego. That's not too many for developers to build applications for, he said. "We believe the global market is able to accommodate all three, and all three are needed for cost efficiency and also sophistication at the high end," Giles said.

Some developers have worried about the need to build apps for several operating systems, including iOS for the iPhone and Google's Android . Giles said Nokia is aware of that concern and has therefore simplified the platform for Symbian 3's newest group of four smartphones, the N8, E7, C7 and C6 .

Giles emphasized that the N8, which has had the largest number of pre-orders of any phone in Nokia's history, will operate in the U.S. on GSM networks. However, U.S. customers would have to buy it unlocked and then separately buy a SIM card.

No shipping date has been announced for the N8, although some have speculated that it will be available around 21 September. Giles added that U.S. carriers, while not specifically offering contracts for the N8, have given Nokia "some very positive feedback" about it.

Regarding Nokia's position on not building more CDMA phones and preparing for LTE instead, Giles said: "If we are to re-enter the U.S. market as a challenger, we have to take this step by step. It's not the right approach for us to try to do everything at once."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags telecommunicationsymbianapplicationsNetworkingwirelesssmartphonesNokiasoftwareMobile operating systemsmobileconsumer electronicsat&t

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?