Chief executive officer of Nokia Corp. said in an interview that his company would "prefer" to release the first Windows Phone 7-based smartphone already this year. The intention of the world's largest cell phone maker is certainly bold, it remains to be seen whether the troubled company can launch a completely new smartphone in a short period of time after its track record of consistent delays.
"Clearly there is significant pressure on the teams and the whole company to ensure that we deliver a great Windows Phone product as quickly as possible, and we would certainly prefer to see that in 2011," said Stephen Elop, chief executive of Nokia, in an interview with Reuters news-agency on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress trade-show.
For several years now Nokia has consistently delayed its flagship smartphones based on Symbian software and even had to cut down features in order to release them on time without issues. Since Windows Phone 7 or its updated version will be something new for Nokia and also because the company will reorganize its products groups going forward, launching a high-quality handset based on Microsoft Corp.'s operating system is not very likely.
It is absolutely crucial for Nokia to release a very advanced, stable, stylish and powerful smartphone based on Windows Phone 7 since many will judge viability of the company's new strategy based on this very first product. In case the phone will be just like its competitors, then Nokia will likely lose even its most loyal customers. All-in-all, making a promise to release the device already this year is an extremely bold move.
Nokia has done a number of questionable moves in the recent years. But the worst problem was its inability to innovate as quickly as Apple or Google. Partly this was because of the volumes that Nokia sells: it simply cannot afford things that are okay for its competitors (e.g., antenna-related scandal with iPhone, software stability issues with Android, etc.). But the biggest problem was that Nokia has always wanted to offer something unique, not sell phones based on OSs developed by Google or Microsoft. As a result, Nokia has essentially competed against everyone else on the market, which was hard from financial and intellectual points of view.
"Because of the pace of software development and advances of Android, and Windows Phone for that matter, and Apple, we had a risk of falling further and further behind because development of our Symbian-based products was slipping. [...] What [transition to Windows Phone] also creates, in the very short-term, is some ambiguity. Ambiguity about the degree to which we will reduce operating expenditure. There is ambiguity about managing the transition in the immediate months ahead ... So it is incumbent upon us now, having delivered a great strategy, to demonstrate execution," added Mr. Elop.