…ting ting ting and my Nokia battery dried up. I forgot to charge my cellphone the other day and did not carry charger with me.
The moment I heard the dying sound of my cell, I knew I was in trouble. I was hesitant to ask for a charger since I already knew the responses I would get. If you don’t have an iPhone or a Samsung high-end phone, you are considered as outdated. Reluctantly, I did ask office colleagues only to confirm that my thoughts were correct.
“Buddy we belong to Apple family now!” with some chuckle came most of the replies.
That took me back to those days, not too long ago, may be a 4 years back when you never had to worry about carrying a charger if you had Nokia phones. It was a universal handset for communicating with people around the world. The acceptance and usage was so much so that you would find a Nokia charger hanging perpetually in every room of a house belonging to each member of that house. Even while traveling on train, only first person had to put a charger in plug and then only the handsets use to get changed turn by turn.
Nokia truly connected people. Especially in India, it has taught people how to communicate on mobile phones. It came with a standard Menu Options and varieties of phones at different price points. It was a common saying that if you bought a Nokia phone, you never had to buy another one. Throw it from table, give it to kids to play, nothing would happen. That was the kind of sturdy display and durable handset Nokia use to offer. It worked in its favor and people opted for Nokia for its simple to use and longitivity it offered. Back then mobile phone was primarily used for talking, sending sms messages, listening Radio and finding Cricket scores from the service providers. Few high ends had radio, 2-3 Megapixel camera and limited music space.
Samsung was one of the key competitors in Indian markets but was always second to Nokia in all respect. It came with a black coloured rectangular box kind of bulky handset. LG, Sony Ericson and other did exist but were not among the preferred ones. Apple iPhone was perceived as a ‘very costly’ phone and meant only for the so called rich class.
In 2007, Steve Jobs showed the world what a cell phone could do beyond talking. And the world never remained the same. Samsung was quick enough to realize the market trend and re-aligned its portfolio. Samsung created handsets with iPhone-like features and flooded market with variety of them at every price point. Google introduced Android, sophisticated, Open source mobile operating system. USP for mobile phones was shifting from hardware to software. It mattered more as to what the phone was carrying inside the small rectangular box.
Social behavior was responsive creating a new trend. The world no longer looked for longitivity or durability in a handset. Consumers wanted to swipe on the screen with their fingers and unlock phones instead of pressing ‘Unlock + *’. ‘Touch screen’, ‘High resolution camera’, sharing and connecting with ‘Facebook’, easy access to Twitter, GPS became new minimal to-have features for a phone. ‘App’ (Applications) became new buzz word. It simplified life of people drastically. From being a personal device, mobile phones became a medium for social connect.
The world of technology changes so rapidly that between the time I thought writing this post to the time actually putting it on paper, Nokia as a handset company seizes to exist. It will henceforth be recognized as Microsoft Mobiles.
Companies need to be more innovative and cannot depend on its existing products forever. Innovation is at the heart of technology, rewriting the history each day. If companies cannot innovate from scratch, it should at least try for what we call in marketing parlance – ‘a second movers advantage’.
Blame Steve Jobs for changing the rules of the game or Nokia’s inability to embrace the new trend of App world, the company which dominated the handset market with a very high brand recall, no longer exist and all this in a matter of 4-5 years.
The once abundantly found Nokia chargers no more hang in drawing rooms of house. I must admit that I take out my handset from pocket only when it rings, when in public. 9.5 people out of 10 are found with an Apple or a Samsung product including school going kids. Despite this fact, I am happy with my phone because I don’t spend much time using it, only as required. It offers camera, wassup, sms and I can make and receive calls. O yes, it is a touch screen phone with a QWERTY keypad. This helps me spending more time with my kid and family rather than hooked to phone with virtual people.
fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: Use product and love people and not vice-versa. I know few of my colleagues who don’t use mobile phones at all, I would say that is the best way to live!