Nokia recently made a comeback into the tech world with the N1 tablet, and the way its selling, it looks like Nokia is finally finding its mojo and we can expect some really good devices from the Finnish Giant in the coming years. The success of the N1 tablet inspired me to write a tribute to Nonkia, and give a basic run through of its journey from its conception, to its abrupt fall and its imminent rise.
Lets begin –
- 1865 – 1979
- The Finnish duo Fredrik Idestam and Leo Mechelin founded Nokia Aktiebolag, initially, as a Russian Empire Paper Mill. The company then took a swing at the rubber industry and soon became the leading name in the manufacturing of galoshes, gas masks and other rubber products. Nokia was a King even before it struck the mobile market.
- Co-Founder Leo Mechelin, then put forward his electrical aspirations and soon , Nokia was making Telephone and Telegraph cables. In 1970, Nokia developed the DX 200, a digital switch for telephone exchanges. The DX 200 went on to become the workhorse for the network equipment world.
- This era saw Nokia start the mobile revolution. The First ever mobile form Nokia was the Mobira Cityman 900. The device was not just revolutionary, it even gained its own political fan following. Among those who used the Cityman, was the Soviet Chief Gorbachev. If you look up the Mobira Cityman on the internet, you might find it bulky, and rather large, but in its generation, the Mobira Cityman ruled the world.
- By now, the world had joined Nokia in the Mobile Race, but Nokia dominated the 1990s era with innovative and one of a kind devices. The Finnish giant proceeded to design, manufacture and market many devices, gradually decreasing in size as the technology changed.
- Nokia 8110 (1996) – For those of you who have seen the initial Matrix movie, you will be all too familiar with this device. It was called ‘Banana’ because of its curved sliding mouthpiece. Its presence in the Matrix Series, made the 8110, the Must-Have device at the time. Even today, many people still hound the streets for the 8110. Those of you who have it, make sure you hold on to it, as this is one device you would regret selling.
- Nokia 5110 and 6110 (1998) – By this time, Nokia had become the worlds largest mobile manufacturer, and they had no intention of letting that title slip away. The 5110 and 6110 brought with them some new features, the most prominent being, interchangeable phone fascia. The 5110 and 6110, came loaded with SNAKE. The first game on the mobile device. This game went on to become one of the most played games , and even today, people take a shot at that game, and relive the magic.
- Nokia 7110 ( 1999 ) – This device became the most sought-after device in the world. It was also the first device that came with internaet browsing. The internet was still developing and Nokia was the first to give the people , access to the world wide web, in the palm of their hands.
- Nokia 3210 (1999) – Nokia didn’t just cater to the corporate or the elderly, they believed in youth power, and the 3210 device showed that intent clearly. The device was fully customisable, came with predictive text and also, some very attractive pay-as-you-go plans. The device immediately struck a chord with the youth and very soon, every youngster in the world wanted the 3210.
- Nokia 3310 (2000) – This device took forward Nokia’s legacy and became one of the best selling phones of all time. Nokia had , by then, become the front runner in R & D , and were known to give their phones. features, which were way ahead of their time. The 3310 came with online chat feature, a feature, which many phones lack even today. The overall build of the 3310, gave it the moniker of ” The indestructable phone “.
- Nokia 3650 (2003) – By now, mobile camera were emerging, and just when people thought that the world had caught up with Nokia, the Finns replied with the 3650. This phone gave the world a whole new level of media – Video Recording. This phone allowed users to record videos and view them. A feature , no one had even thought was possible to implement, had just been justified by Nokia.
- Nokia 6650 (2003) – The Finnish were on top of the world and as a Thank you, they gave us the 6650 – The world’s first 3G phone, which allowed users to browse the web, download music and watch videos on the move. As usual, the device became a rage, and Nokia slept yet another good night.
- Nokia 7710 ( 2004 ) – By then, the market was saturated with phones which had the standard keypad, and people wanted something new. Little did they know, Nokia had already heard their requests, and out came the 7710, the world’s first touch screen device. Back then, the very fact that a phone would work withoout buttons, was enough to raise everyone’s eyebrows, and thus , yet again, Nokia struck a home run, and it seemed, there was no end to this flawless run.
- 2004 would , incidentally,mark the last successful year for Nokia. In 2005, Nokia brought out its ‘N’ lineup , and for the first time, they admit, that although they were still the top manufacturer, they were seeing falling sales and as a result, they were losing their market share to competitors. The ‘N’ lineup had its share of ups and downs , mostly downs, as the devices were performing poorly and did no justice to the rather flawless reputation of Nokia.
- In 2007, Nokia was involved in one of the biggest product recalls in history, after admitting 46 million phone batteries could be faulty. 2007 also saw the launch of the next big thing in the mobile phone revolution- The Apple iPhone.
- In 2008, Nokia acquired the Mobile OS company Symbian in a bid to recover from their sudden tumble, and although, Symbian and Nokia did have a good run, it was still not enough to catch up with Apple and Android.
- Apple and Android had just about killed Nokia, which led to Nokia ending Symbian and adopting the Windows Phone OS instead to take the fight to its competitors. This decision , according to me, is the only reason why Nokia is dead right now. When Android was to debut, Google had approached Nokia first, and Nokia turned them down in favor of the then-under-development Windows OS. Had Nokia accepted the Android deal, the story would have been competely different.
- Nokia tried its best to make the best out of the Microsoft deal , but despite the launch of the Lumia lineup, It was Samsung who ousted Nokia , and took its place as the world’s top mobile phone manufacturer. Nokia on the other hand issued their third profit warning in just a year.
- After repeated failure, Nokia’s smartphone division was bought over by Microsoft for a mere 5.44 bn Euros. After a brief run, Microsoft announced that the Nokia Badge would be phased out of their devices, thus bringing an end to Nokia.
I believe all stories have a happy ending, and if the ending is not happy, the story is yet to end. Nokia is a brand which will have no death, and I am sure, when December 2015 arrives, the Finns will rise again, and this time, for good.
I would like to thank the folks at MobileMadHouse UK who provided me an amazing infographic which I could use as reference for my piece. You can check out the Infographic here. This infographic will fill in any gaps I may have inadvertantly left behind, and hopefully you all will pardon me for it.
Thank you and All Hail Nokia.