Nokia unveiled its first Windows Phone-based device, the Lumia 800, as well as three other new phones at the Nokia World conference in London Wednesday. Nokia debuted everything from smartphones to lower-end BlackBerry-style phones, which begs the question: Is Nokia doing too much?
Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter and Square, offered some advice for Nokia via Twitter.
Nokia: you make too many products. Focus on 3, Dorsey tweeted.
It's no surprise that Dorsey recommends a minimalistic approach; he invented Twitter, after all. But Dorsey's words about simplicity ring true; in fact, self-editing is what saved Apple in the late 90s, when Steve Jobs bailed out the company from the brink of bankruptcy by narrowing down its product line into four categories: desktop, portable, consumer and professional. If it didn't fit into any of these areas, Jobs threw it out.
Focus is about saying 'No,' Jobs said during a Q&A following Apple's developer conference in 1997. And the result of that focus is going to be some really great products where the total is much greater than the sum of the parts.
Nokia unveiled a total of five different phones Wednesday, hoping to appeal to different strata of people. The Lumia devices are for those who prefer upscale touchscreen smartphones, while the Asha phones are likely appealing to BlackBerry owners looking to leave RIM behind by providing a very similar design. Nokia plans to price the Lumia 800 at about $584, and the Lumia 710 at $376. The Asha 200 and 201 will both reportedly sell for $85, while the Asha 300 will sell for $120, and the Asha 303 will sell for about $160.
As if five different Nokia phones weren't enough to keep track of, the company has decided to release each of these phones at different times. The Nokia Asha 200 and 303 will ship before the end of the year, while the 300 model will be available by the end of Q4 2011, and the 201 will ship by Q1 2012. Nokia's Lumia 800 will debut in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK in November, while Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Taiwan and Russia will have the phone by the end of 2011. The U.S. will have to wait for the phone until sometime in early 2012. Confused yet?
Dorsey is completely right about Nokia's lack of focus. From the various release dates to the inexact and difficult-to-remember price points, the company has not made it easy to sell customers on their new line-up of phones. Nokia may soon learn that when you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one.