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Things Nokia should be getting more credit for

NokiaNokia is the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile phones. Lately the company has had its thunder stolen by Apple’s iPhone and the plethora of Android devices flooding the market, especially in the fast-growing smartphone market.

In other words, Nokia is in a bit of trouble. However, considering how much flack the company has been getting lately in the tech press, we thought it would be nice to look back and give Nokia some credit for what they have accomplished in the past. Because it’s a past filled to the brim with innovation.

Here are a few things you may not know about Nokia’s history on the mobile market:

  • Nokia launched one of the world’s first “transportable” phones. It was the Mobira Talkman, in 1984, weighing a measly 11 lb (5 kg). A step up from a car phone.
  • Nokia launched the first handheld NMT mobile phone, the Mobira Cityman 900 (NMT was a standard preceding GSM.)
  • Nokia was one of the main creators of the GSM standard and of the hardware necessary to create GSM networks.
  • The first GSM phone call was made with a Nokia phone (a prototype), over a Nokia-supplied mobile network in 1991. Nokia then also launched the first commercial GSM phone, the Nokia 1011.
  • The world’s first satellite call was made using a Nokia phone, back in 1994.
  • Nokia was the first to ship mobile phones with a pre-installed game (Snake). The first one to come with Snake was the Nokia 6110.
  • The first mobile phone with Internet access was a Nokia phone, the Nokia 9000 Communicator. It was launched back in 1996.
  • Nokia pioneered many concepts now common in smartphones. The Nokia Communicator line, although they weren’t the first smartphones, still pioneered the concept and were the first smartphones with a proper operating system (GEOS).
  • Nokia launched the first mobile phone with a WAP browser, the Nokia 7110. It was launched in 1999.
  • Nokia had a Webkit-based web browser a full year before the first iPhone. It was on the S60 series. Nokia didn’t get much credit for it, and now people think mostly of Apple’s mobile Safari and its then revolutionary web browsing experience (which made Webkit such a popular option for mobile web browsers).
  • Nokia is the world’s largest digital camera manufacturer thanks to selling so many camera phones.
  • Nokia is the second-largest supplier of telecom equipment in the world (via Nokia Siemens Networks). You know, the parts that actually make it possible for you to make those phone calls in the first place…

You could also argue that Nokia has made it possible for a great deal of people in developing nations to access the Internet by providing a wide variety of affordable phones with web browsing capability. Although to be honest, it’s quite likely that some other manufacturer would have tried to fill that void if Nokia hadn’t. Still, it’s a good thing.

So, while Nokia may currently be having some issues in the smartphone segment, the company has done a ton of innovating in the past. Perhaps they’ll do it again. It may be harder for them now, though, considering Nokia has become a behemoth with over 131,000 employees (for perspective, Microsoft has 89,000, Apple has 49,000 and RIM has 14,000). Big things tend to change course slowly.

Data source: Wikipedia.



7 comments
Iouri Goussev
Iouri Goussev

There is a trend of having 2 of everything major. Consumer CPU, Gamer video cards, Cell phone companies, Programming languages, OSes.

Dimitry
Dimitry

Nokia really dropped the ball and was unable to take the mobile phone to the next level. Perhaps it became victim of its own success, perhaps the company just lacked ( and continues to lack) vision. I used to get excited about the new products they would introduce -- now, for me, they are irrelevant. In the begging part of this century, I dreamed of a device that would allow me to have a computer in the palm of my hand. I respected Nokia greatly and even purchase a book done by their usability team. Several Nokia phones later, it was Apple that made that dream a reality and with a bang. Whats scary is that Nokia still doesn't seem to get it -- no matter how many monolithic geo apps later.

noemi maclin
noemi maclin

i disagree! they focused too much on where they can profit but not for the needs or demand of the people! always make new models almost every month and none of the features are changed! LOL!

mario
mario

If they want to stay relevant, they should stop catering to carriers but listen to consumers. Symbian phones are becoming irrelevant, and single GSM mobiles aren't state of the art anymore.

Zaurus
Zaurus

I agree with the fact that Nokia had done tremendous work in past and still doing. One more fact that needs to be understood, compare number of Nokia phones sold in 1 month to others, you definitely find the answer. I also agree with the fact that in current market, there is a wave for Apple/Android, and that's obvious they have to give better than what the giant offers. But, it shouldn't be under estimated. I hope Nokia will come with big bash making competition more healthy.

Lasha Krikheli
Lasha Krikheli

I'm sorry but Nokia has lost. They're stuck in their own old world. Their accomplishments from the previous century now mean nothing in today's era of mobile telephony. Quote frankly, nobody gives a sh*t about what Nokia has done in the past. The fact is that the new kids are here now, and they're not.

S
S

Nokia also dumped their average mobile phones at awful prices here in India. Google Android devices are now making a killing. Because they are priced nicely. And that alone has forced Nokia to price their phones much better nowadays. No one expected them to price their N8 for around Rs. 25000 here in India if Galaxy S was not here already. If it was the Old Nokia, they would have priced it at around Rs. 35000 and still have sold tons of units. The company dumped crappy models with crappy cameras in India for prices ranging between Rs. 10-25K over the last 2-3 years. They can no longer afford to do it. And I have no sympathy for them.