Nokia Changes Model Naming Scheme Again, Scraps Product Families

Nokia Changes Naming Scheme for Mobile Phones

by Anton Shilov
08/01/2011 | 06:26 PM

Nokia Corp. on Monday said that it would change product naming scheme for its mobile phones going forward. The new naming nomenclature will get rid of letters from model numbers and will essentially scrap product families tailored for particular usage models.


Back in the good-old days Nokia used to have pretty clear number-based model numbering methodology that allowed to clearly distinguish between models and their positioning (3 - for mainstream users, 5/6 - for business users, 7 - experimental phones with new innovative technologies and/or in new form-factors, 8 - stylish and luxury handsets, 9 - communicators).

In the mid-2000s the company decided to change the naming scheme for smartphones and introduced different lineups of its Symbian based devices, including C for mainstream users, E for business use cases, N for multimedia and innovation fans, X for music fans.

The problem with such a naming scheme is that modern smartphones are very similar in terms of hardware and software. When Nokia introduces its Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" handsets late in 2011 or early in 2012 it will no longer be able to clearly differentiate those mobile phones between each other otherwise than by form-factor. As a result, it will not really be able to have four different product families for smartphones.

With new naming scheme, which involves three-digit number, it will be easy for Nokia to show the difference between handsets more logically than today. In theory, it will be able to have ten product families that will be different in terms of price and capabilities, just like in the good-old days.

"People understand the logic behind ‘the bigger the number, the more you get’ philosophy. Theoretically speaking, if we were announce a Nokia 890, but it’s a bit out of your price range, you’ll know that the Nokia 790 might be a more affordable option. Also, used consistently over time, people learn to know roughly what to expect from a model using its number as a reference," an explanation by Nokia reads.

Despite of the fact that the new model numbering scheme seems to be logical, provided that Nokia does make its product lineups different from each other, introducing the scheme now will likely further hurt the company's sales as end-users will barely understand the difference between "new" and "old" Nokia handsets. For example, Nokia's 500 smartphone running Symbian operating system is very similar to already announced models (X7, N9, etc.) in terms of feature-set and capabilities and it will be uneasy to determine how it is positioned against the others.