Nokia teams up with Microsoft to challenge iPhone

Mobile phone giant Nokia has teamed up with Microsoft to launch its own smartphone, the Lumia 800, in an attempt to break the market dominance of the iPhone.


Based on the recently released Nokia N9, the Lumia 800 will run a version of Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system, which improves on Nokia’s ageing Symbian software.


With Nokia and Microsoft joining forces, some analysts believe that phones running Windows Phone could overtake Apple in the smartphone market.


But Ovum telecoms analyst Nick Dillon says the challenges faced by Nokia are significant.


“Having replaced its own Symbian platform with Microsoft’s, this is essentially a restart for the handset manufacturer, which has struggled to adjust to the new dynamics of the smartphone market following the launch of the iPhone in 2007,” Dillon says.


“With Microsoft’s new mobile platform yet to take off… the success of the devices will be critical to the future of both companies.”


“Many potential Windows Phone customers will have already bought an Android or iPhone and will have some form of attachment to those platforms,” Dillon says.


“They will have invested in the platforms from a service, financial and a familiarity perspective and, as such, Nokia will have a challenge to convince them to switch to what is a largely unknown, and therefore risky, alternative.”


Considering that Nokia had minimal input into the Mango release of Windows Phone, Dillon says the company has done well to differentiate its devices against those from other Windows Phones licensees.


“Nokia has included its Nokia Maps, which provides free offline navigation on both devices,” he says.


“Nokia has also brought another of its assets, Nokia Music, to help differentiate the devices. In addition to offering access to its music catalogue in 38 countries, Nokia will also provide free access to a Pandora-like radio streaming service, which uses the Nokia Music catalogue.”


“While none of these on their own are standout features, they at least provide Nokia with some ammunition for its marketing and sales team to market the devices in an increasingly competitive market.”


Meanwhile, it’s been revealed RIM is delaying the next update of its BlackBerry PlayBook platform until 2012, saying the company wants to wait until it can meet buyers’ expectations.


BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 is expected to be delivered in February 2012 but it will not include the BlackBerry Messenger application, which has been deferred to a later release of the device.


David Smith, RIM’s senior vice president for PlayBook, wrote in a blog the company pushed back the release of the BBM app to ensure it runs without incident.


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