RIP, Nokia phones

I have never owned a Nokia phone.

In the past decade, I have reviewed numerous Nokia devices, and I have definitely used several of them. But of the phones that I have bought, Nokia was never on that list.

So it was with great indifference that I read that Microsoft, the new owner of Nokia Devices, is looking at disposing the Nokia branding in upcoming Microsoft Windows phones.

A leaked memo that has been verified by several technology websites indicate that upcoming phones by Microsoft Devices, the new division where Nokia was placed, will no longer use the Nokia Lumia brand.

Instead, the phones will be marketed as Microsoft Lumia.

This means that the global handset brand, which once dominated telco ads and the minds of phone users everywhere, will be no more.

The Nokia name will still remain though, as Microsoft only acquired the devices division, and not the data and telecommunications networking division, or the navigation services.

But that familiar Nokia tune - Grande Valse - will no longer chime when a notification is received.

Even fewer people will remember the thrill of playing Snake, once considered to be the most popular mobile game.

Personally, I am just sad that the wonderful Nokia phone designs will never reach its full potential because it has been limited to the Windows Phone operating system, and because of it.

(The leaked memo also indicated that Microsoft would drop the Windows Phone brand and use a unified Windows brand across its desktop and mobile operating systems, but that is actually a good move for the company, and a story for another day.)

I mean no offence to Apple, Samsung or HTC but there is something striking about a Nokia designed phone, and this has been a signature of the Finnish brand for the last 20 years.

Remember the Nokia 8110 (1996)? It was known as the banana phone because it curved like one. It will also help if I mentioned that the phone was featured prominently in the movie, The Matrix (1999).

How about the 8210 (1999)? It was slim and lightweight, and many would remember the 8250 follow-up, which had a butterfly layout for its navigation button.

Then there is the 7280 (2004), otherwise known as the "lipstick" phone.

While Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system still has plenty of bugs to work out, the same cannot be said for Nokia phones powered by it.

The Lumia 800 (2011), with its curved, button free design was a thing of beauty, and this design element has flowed into that of the current Lumia 900 series.

Nokia also invested heavily in its high resolution PureView image sensors for its Lumia devices. My fear is that Microsoft will not know what to do with it.

After all, Microsoft has designed three versions of its Surface Pro tablets, which do not come with SIM card slots for connectivity. Yet, all competitor tablets do.

Part of the criticism is that as a software company, Microsoft is not very good at designing hardware (Microsoft Xbox 360 Red Ring of Death anyone?) and has been either reluctant or unable to fit a 3G module into its tablets.

Evidently, no one bothered to check with its newly-acquired Nokia Division, which has been making phones for the last 40 years.

And now that Nokia is gone from within Microsoft, Microsoft is more alone than it ever was.


This article was first published on September 15, 2014.
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