It’s no secret that Nokia is struggling to stay relevant in a market increasingly dominated by the iPhone and Android, and while Nokia’s share of the broader cellphone market remains healthy, it’s share of the smartphone market leaves much to be desired.
Compounding Nokia’s problems is the lack of an app store worthy of attracting the attention of developers. In a recent profile on Nokia’s woes, Bloomberg drove the point home with this tidbit.
Nokia shares have plummeted 51 percent since Apple opened its App Store on July 11, 2008. Its market value has shrunk to 29 billion euros from 203 billion euros in 1999, when it was Europe’s most-valuable company.
While Nokia continues to roll out app store features, developers simply aren’t paying attention. “Developers spoiled by iPhone tools say they found Nokia’s software and storefront clunky,” the article reads. Of course, it doesn’t help matters that Nokia’s premium devices are sold unsubsidized here in the US, making them comparably and notably more expensive than their smartphone counterparts, and subsequently a less attractive platform altogether.
In the meantime, Nokia is planning a new line of Symbian 3 and Symbian 4 smartphones that will reportedly showcase an improved user interface along with easier to use development tools.
Nokia’s efforts, however, be prove to be too little too late. Developers, on the whole, seem completely unaware of Symbian, and have directed their efforts almost exclusively towards iPhone and Android development.
“Development on Symbian has historically been difficult and Google and Apple leapfrogged Nokia in terms of developer friendliness in the past two years,” said Phil Libin, chief executive officer of Mountain View, Calif.-based Evernote Corp.“There’s no comparison.”
His 30-person company’s main product is a note-taking application that runs on desktop computers, iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Palm’s WebOS and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile — all except Nokia’s Symbian.
Nokia VP George Linardos, who runs Nokia’s Ovi Store, remains resolute, stating that he looks “at this as the first innings of a very, very long game.”
It may very well be a long game, but Nokia is already behind and doesn’t appear to have a lineup capable of making a resurgent comeback. Back in May, Nokia announced a corporate restructuring designed to make them more competitive and relevant in an increasingly fast moving market. Also in May, iPhone growth in Australia began to accelerate quite significantly, a notable fact given that Nokia has long owned the smartphone market in the land down under. If the rate of iPhone and Nokia handset sales in Australia remains constant throughout 2010, one analyst anticipates that Apple will supplant Nokia as the leading smartphone manufacturer in the country before 2011.