Nokia 8 must prove its mettle in a “very, very competitive market”

Now resuscitated by a different maker, Nokia is coming back to find its place under the sun in the smartphone market. According to a leak exposed by Evan Blass for VentureBeat, the Nokia 8 has all the bells and whistles to fight the iPhone and Samsung. We’ll soon find out if it’s a case of too little, too late, in what an industry analyst described as a “very, very competitive market.”

According to The Verge piece, the new model will be announced on July 31. Now in its third incarnation, Nokia is made as an Android smartphone by Finnish startup HMD Global Oy.

The device seems to be well endowed, Blass says: “According to various benchmarking apps, the 5.3-inch Nokia 8 is indeed well-spec’ed, sporting a Snapdragon 835 chipset, QHD resolution, either 4GB or 6GB of RAM, and a pair of main cameras offering 13-megapixel resolutions and Carl Zeiss optics.”

Technology analyst Rich Jaroslovsky, vice president of Smart News Inc., concurs. “Judging from the information we’ve seen so far, the new phone looks pretty primo,” he said. “The Zeiss optics and dual cameras, which are reminiscent of the iPhone 7+, make a pretty strong statement that they see this phone stacking up against premium Android devices like the Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy S8.”

It’s worth noting that Nokia lost a lot of talent when it was purchased by Microsoft, including many members of the phone maker’s outstanding camera team.

It seems that only reasonable pricing will give the Nokia 8 a fair shot at establishing itself in the non-iPhone, non-Galaxy market. “The ‘Nokia’ name still has a lot of recognition and brand equity, but the big question is whether those assets carry over into the very, very competitive Android market,” Jaroslovsky said.

 

The iPhone Turns Ten

 

One day in January 2007, this correspondent was taken aback by the sight of a crowd. It had literally camped outside the glass cube of the Apple store on Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, in New York. The scene looked like a siege.

There were security guards the size of a small bulldozer, and a velvet rope ran along the esplanade. Surprise only lasted a fraction of a second. Your correspondent remembered that a few days later the very first iPhone would hit the market.

Some of these people had brought sleeping bags. A few had an expression in their face more commonly associated with mystics or zealots of any conviction. And they probably felt a very strong, almost religious urge to be among the first to experience the magic of an iPhone.

The scene was truly surreal, like people waiting for the last boat out of Pompeii. Yet when a long time later this correspondent laid his hands on an iPhone, he, too, converted to this faith. Kind of.

It is true that the later models look lame. But there can be no bigger compliment, and acknowledgment, than imitation. The dispute of Mac versus Windows about the originality of icons on a screen is a false one. That credit goes to PARC, Xerox’s lab for futuristic projects. It spawned much of the modern consumer technology as we know it. But the iPhone was a true pioneer. If you have a doubt about, look around and see who set the template of today’s smartphones.

Samsung’s Biggest Problem Are Not Exploding Phones

The timing could not be worse: the iPhone 7 is hitting stores today. But Samsung’s botched response to the exploding Galaxy Note 7 compounded matters. The company issued a series of confusing messages since the problem was first identified, in a sequence the Wall Street Journal chronicled.

A statement on Samsung’s U.S. website on September 2 said that there were issues with the batteries. The note, however, did not identify the problem, nor did it advise customers to turn off their phones. Only a week later the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued an advisory on the matter. Two weeks and 92 exploding phones later, the company in conjunction with the CPSC issued a formal recall that affects between one and 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 phones.

The U.S. is the largest market for Samsung’s smartphones so the company’s caution can be understandable. But it cannot be justified. Surely, the company will take a hit for the scale of the recall. Yet not owning up to the defective devices and its botched response magnified the problem.

“Consumers should immediately stop using and power down the recalled Galaxy Note 7 devices purchased before September 15th, 2016,” CPSC’s recommendation says. “Contact the wireless carrier, retail outlet, or Samsung.com where you purchased your device to receive free of charge a new Galaxy Note 7 with a different battery, a refund, or a new replacement device.”  This is the exact wording of what should have been said the first day. It would have saved consumers a lot of misery, and would have allowed Samsung greater damage control. No matter how painful, truth is always the best policy.