Back in June we published an article recommending, “Why Nokia needs to fully support and evolve Symbian and remove the shelf life cap“.

In that article we did some predictions like,

  • Even in Q3, Symbian will be responsible for major chunk of sales, given that many prospective buyers will hold for WP8 devices.
  • In Q4 when Nokia launches WP8 devices it will be in worse situation, overall sales share wise if Symbian is not given due support and wide release. Also HTC and Samsung must be ready with multicore phones in the same period. So how much share Nokia will get out of the small windows phone market share is anybody’s guess.
  • Similarly Q1, Q2 2013 will need Nokia to succeed wildly with WP8 devices if they have to survive. But with competition from Samsung and HTC it is still not very rosy picture.

We would also like to quote few of our recommendations from that article.

  • First of all Nokia must get rid of that “shelf life blunder” which stops many from even considering Symbian. Which means Symbian should be accepted by Nokia as a secondary platform without a life cap of 2016.
  • Nokia has already done a half-hearted attempt at Symbian but was that sufficient. It needs full-blown effort to revive it. Is it necessary? Yes if Nokia has to survive through stormy times. It is must.

Now we have the Q3 results with us and Symbian is indeed responsible for major chunk with 3.4 out of meagre 6.3 million smartphone sales. Keep in mind this 3.4  million has happened even when Nokia opted not to promote 808 PureView. Yup, no promotion for such an innovative phone, while likes of HTC, promote HTC One X to be some kind of great camera smartphone in full-page ads.

But it is heartening to note that, Symbian ASP has increased, which is no-brainer to understand has happened due to 808 PureView raking in some strong numbers in Q3. Imagine if Nokia could have projected and taken the message to the masses with suitable promotion that this innovative phone can replace both your “point and shoot” and smartphone. Sales numbers could have been different.

Sad to see Nokia bringing in meagre 6.3 million smartphone sales. No other to blame, awful decision like “not promoting” 808 PureView is the reason behind this. Let us have a look on more such decisions in past and how they killed Nokia smartphone sales.

  • The Symbian “shelf life blunder” which stopped many prospective customers from even considering Symbian. This was done even after knowing that Lumia may not be on its feet before Q1 2013. It led to at least sales loss of more than 30 million devices.
  • Killing N9 before even its launch. This was awful !! It costed many die-hard fans and few millions sales numbers.
  • This one was tragic. After launching and promoting Lumia 900, news came that WP7 Lumias will not be upgraded to WP8. The way of communicating this could have been different. This was the major reason, why Nokia is in such situation in Q3 2012, when everyone was expecting them to be at least break-even.

So, what about Q4 then?

  • As of the date of this article we are already past 19 days in Q4. Symbian sales  have already been destroyed and most of 808 PureView enthusiasts have already bought their device for next 2 years. So, don’t expect much from Symbian without support and promotion from Nokia. I expect  even 2 million Symbian devices can be a tough target.
  • Nokia has done a cost cutting across the Lumia range recently, but I haven’t seen that advantage reaching to many regions yet. For example in India, Lumia 610 is still weirdly expensive. Lumia 510 is supposed to come to China during holiday time, but with Nokia can one be certain. They are specialist in losing sales after all. With all due consideration, it is hard to expect Lumia WP7 device sales exceeding 2 million with launch of Lumia 920 and 820 looming.
  • Coming to Lumia 920 and 820, when the devices will reach to market, it will be first to second to third week of November. Then it is the question of how many markets and if the Q3 report has to be believed, Nokia is itself not certain of “how many markets” and whether it will be able to take care of holiday sales.
  • It is much clear Q4 will disappoint but Symbian+Lumia WP7 = 4 million is shameful and if Nokia can’t move swiftly then even 6.3 achieved in Q3 may prove to be a dream.

What do we recommend,

  • First of all Nokia must get rid of that “shelf life blunder” which stops many from even considering Symbian. Which means Symbian should be accepted by Nokia as a secondary platform without a life cap of 2016. Symbian does make a difference to the sales figures, so bringing new hardware can still be rewarding. Bring that Belle 901 with FP2 and PureView.
  • Promote a device like 808 PureView in the correct way and it can be truly rewarding. Sales doesn’t fall from sky. Customer should be aware of the fact that how good deal he is going to make.
  • Nokia needs to put a date and that too quickly when the pre-order begins everywhere for Lumia 920 and 820. If Microsoft can start pre-orders for Surface Tablet, 7 days before Windows 8 announcement, what’s stopping Nokia. Markets loves and rewards “swift movers” !!