Why Read This
Like many firms, Nokia has been grappling with huge threats to its business models and products from disruptive market entrants. These disruptors have familiar names: Apple and Google. Nokia's latest response, the N8 smartphone, is Nokia at its best but also at its most stubborn. The Nokia N8 will sell well, but this will not be sufficient to make Nokia or Symbian an important smartphone target for the product strategies of non-mobile players that build apps or mobile Web sites. Faced with disruption from the iPhone and Google's Android, Nokia has retrenched and created a phone that has all of Nokia's classic smartphone strengths, but few of Apple's or Google's: It is strong on navigation and maps; has an excellent camera; is robust; and plays music well. But the N8 lags in the areas most important for firms adapting their services for mobile: apps, Web browsing, and the Internet. The N8 and its sister products, the C6, C7, and E7, represent the culmination of "Finnish Kaizen" — the art of continual, gradual phone improvement — but Nokia must be more radical to be competitive with the disruptors that are transforming mobile.