5800 not what Nokia expected ?
(This is all idle speculation, just some random thoughts I had last night while tromping through the snow with my dog.)
I think Nokia has actually messed up with the 5800.
When I first heard about the 5800 I was a little surprised they weren't rolling out an N Series device as the first phone to use the touch screen.
Then came the pricing announcement from Nokia.
Not only was the 5800 going to have touch and a decent hardware spec, it was going to be affordable.
That's not what we normally expect from Nokia. Previous new technology (wifi, GPS) has been rolled out in N series devices first and with a serious price premium and only filtered down to the ordinary people's phones later
But I have a theory that might explains this new direction- The Nokia 5800 wasn't meant to be very good.
However much S60 Touch may be an evolution of the traditional OS it's still very new and Nokia realised it's going to take alot of work to get it sorted and I suspect they thought they were pretty unlikely to get it right with their first handset.
If the first touch device they released was a buggy N series handset with a high price and high expectation they would be rightly slammed for any problems that were encountered.
But if they released it as a non-N series, budget-priced smartphone, the reviews could point out that the OS isn't actually production ready but the novelty and low price would ensure enough were sold to make it worthwhile and much more importantly Nokia is getting lots of great feedback on how people want to use touch devices.
Feedback that could be ploughed into the second generations of phones like the N97 which (I suspect) is the phone Nokia expected to really sell the touch interface.
The mistake I think Nokia made is that the 5800 worked. Worked REALLY well. It isn't the almost unusable mess that many people (including me to some degree) were expecting. And as a result of this (and the agressive pricing) it's sold extremely well.
Which leaves Nokia in a dilema. The 5800 is eating the N97s (and N95/96's as well) market and in the middle of a recession how on Earth do you sell an N series phone that's probably going to cost twice as much as the cheep and cheerful 5800.
If the 5800 was no better than a beta test platform, good for generating a buzz about the Touch interface "Once nokia get it working properly it'll be great" and getting feedback then the N97 could concentrate on taking the fight to the iPhone, palm Pre and Windows Mobile devices.
How much are people really willing to pay extra for a slide out QWERTY keyboard and myfacespacebook widgets on the standby screen ?
Not that much I suspect so unless Nokia can match the 5800s budget pricing with the N97 then I fear the upcoming N series device may have already lost to it's little brother.
It'll be interesting to see what Nokia do.
Can they afford to abandon the 5800 (as they have so many other phones) in the hope that not releasing more firmware will drive people to the N97 ?
Will they pitch the N97 as a budget N series device maybe £50-100 above the 5800 price and if they do what effect would that have on other N series devices and the N-series brand itself ?
Or will Nokia not look a gift horse in the mouth and put real marketing and R&D effort behind the 5800 and push it as their "iphone killer" in the mass market, perhaps really supporting the CWM idea in the process (I suspect this could be an absolutely killer CWM phone)
Very interesting post with some very accurate observations...
Personally I think with the 5800 it's simple, they want to steal the market. An awesome little touch-based handset priced like this is unheard of... and the 2 million sold so far will only be the beginning. If every contract is giving these babies away for next to nothing then soon EVERYONE is going to be wanting one of these, they could quite literally revolutionise the market. However as you say this has to affect sales of higher end phones, and I think Nokia will have to price them more than a little competetively in order to get people to upgrade.
The N97 could be a dream machine if they upgrade the CPU and add GPU acceleration. I'll probably buy it anyway though. Wonder when it's due for release... i'm thinking maybe March. Either way if it's priced well and performs to spec i'll be buying one as I just can't face buying a 5800 and using that god-awful camera for my impromptu vids and snaps that I take on many occasions. If it had of had a Xenon flash i'd have been in heaven, mnissed opportunity there I feel.
It will take a special device to upgrade my N82, a device that I feel is among the best ever produced not only by Nokia but by any manufacturer ever. Not only is the device speedy and stable, but the camera is fantastic (for a mobile), the GPS is rock solid (it's my primary navigating device), and I must have dropped it about ten times and while it's a little scuffed, it never skips a beat.
Roll on the new touch-based N series... :D
They're a company that brings out lots of models a year that gradually evolve, they don't do distinct generations.
But I think it's a fair enough bargain, the 5800 is pretty darn good for the price. I can't think of any other phone that even comes close for that kind of money.
The N97 is probably going to be their first real shot at getting an "iphone killer", I've never thought the 5800 was such a device because it's aimed at a totally different audience.
iPhone killer I really dislike that comparison.
Nokia has built what I believe to be a device with really wide appeal, a good example is my colleague in the office he said "wow that's nice" as soon as he saw it and he is NEVER impressed with phones! He is now checking with O2 to see if he can get one.
The 5800XM will appeal to loads of young music conscious consumers who do not want the costs associated with the iPhone (And even more importantly their parents who will be buying it!)
The N97 is a business orientated device the iPhone is a non technical consumer orientated device they are not IMHO chasing the same customers.
I say the 5800XM is NOT an iPhone Killer it IS a market winner!
Very interesting post indeed, though I feel perhaps theres a few things different.
I don't think the 5800 will take much away form the N97. The N97 is going to be a hefty price, and I feel it's going to attract a different type of users, mainly due to cost, size (it's ruddy huge) and having a slide out qwerty.
However, what it could well have done is kill anything inbetween the N97 and 5800. Something a bit better specced than the 5800, but presumably a lot more expensive (especially if its N series).
5MP cam, and FM transmitter being a few.
But who would pay for that if they already have the 5800? Dispite really wanting the FM transmitter (I loved it in the brief time I had a N85), I don't think I am prepared to stump up an extra £100 odd, for those specs and a few widgets.
Just goes to show you don't really need the huge advertising. I hear there is now adverts on TV, but it had already sold a huge amount before they came on.
But I imagine your right. I suspect very few, if any at Nokia expected sales like this. The thing is flying off the shelves, and rightly so. It's a damned good device.
I think it's an amazingly good device, sure it could do with some tweaks - the one/two tap consistancy, being able to change options on the drop down media menu from the top button, more use of screen real estate, but nothing huge.
N series is very much consumer focused.
just the more demanding / get it free on contract market.
N95 sold by the skip load to people that use 5% of its ability.
5800 is the budget contracts / PAYG market.
Yes it will be interesting to see what nokia do with pricing the n97 compared to the 5800 i just can't see what they can add to take the sim free past £400 which would be around £150 more than the 5800 will people really want to pay that much more just for the keyboard plus slightly bigger screen etc? i guess the sort of people who use the forum might but the general public won't understand most of the differences.
Also on a slight side note i could of seen the n97 doing better than it will if it had a different operating system to the 5800 e.g. symbian OS 10 which would be nokia's rival to palm's webOS.
I do know what you mean, but I think you have to recognise that they are more different you may realise. The materials of the N97 feel a lot more like a high-end device (though this is a matter of taste). I also would not under estimate the form factor difference - they keyboard makes it a very much more flexible and capable device. Then there's the 5 megapixel camera, bigger screen size, FM transmitter, extra 40 GB of memory and multimedia software extras. And it runs a faster processor. Has N-Gage etc etc.
I think a lot of this is to do with the fact that the 5800 is out now... I mean I might compare the 6220 or even the 6120 to say the N95 8GB and that would be a valid comparison to 5800 to N97.... However its different this time because the 5800 is the only S60 5th Edition device. Would something like the 6220 have sold like hot cakes if it came out before the N95? Its not quite a valid comparison, but hopefully you take the point.
Yes early adopters may stick with the 5800, but honestly I'm not sure how many people that would apply to. This is the sort of person who will happily buy the 5800 SIM free and then use their contract to get an N97.
That said the price point will be very interesting, but I reckon market segmentation will win out. However I do think the 5800 might driver greater overall sales. In others words it will expand Nokia's addressable market for smartphones.
Rafe, how does the 5800 compare in feel/materials to the Nokia Navigator?
And how does it compare in size?
The N97 sounds great, especially for navigation, with its large screen, but then I realised how huge it will be compared to my Navigator.
Non-power user view
My wife and I simply use a phone for calls, showing pics of our kids to other people, surf the net casually. We are very comfortable with computers.
We represent the vast majority of phone users in terms of phone needs.
Me and the wife hate itunes, and thus the iphone is frustrating. We won't be early adopters of unproven G1, Android stuff, etc.
The 5800 is the iphone killer, but in a way nobody talks about. It is a pocketable, cheap, familiar phone. The touch screen is "cool." The end.
I've come to love my 5800. It does everything I want, which isn't much. It's small and light enough to throw in my pocket (or wear around your neck for you southern europeans). If I drop it in the toilet while brushing my teeth- eh, no big. And it's fun to hand to other people to "flick" through the funny pics i take of my kids.
So while conversations exist about camera megapixels, bulky keypads, fm transmitters, etc- only a fairly small part of the cellular phone market actually attaches monetary value to those features.
And that's why it sold like it did in the UK, and that's why it will sell in the asian markets- all of which is surely a surprise for Nokia. I agree with whoever said the 5800 was a giant beta test for Nokia's touch interface. It just happened to hit a very big nail on the head, and will outsell the N97 10 to 1 over the next couple of years.
I think it's a freat little phoen for the price. It has a lot of the features people want from hish end phones, without the cost, or complexity.
I was looking for a while, basically I wanted something with a good sized sceen, plenty of storage space for music, an ok camera and good for browsing web.
It ticks every box.
I considered iPhone, but the cost and lack of basic phone funtions, as well as my hatred of iTunes and reports of bad battery life put me off
Looked at HTC touch HD, but again costs put me off, and was an early adopter of windows mobile and the bad experiance and reports of soemtimes awkward integration with touch flow and custom gui put me off.
samsung omnia again cost too much and based on windows mobile, with bad integration put me off
samsung pixon as a close competitor, but higher price, lack of memory and lack of wi-fi put me off. if i was more botherd about camera i may have gone for it
basically i think the 5800 is an excellent phone, if you look at it in context. It is a high spec low end phone, a bit of a contradiction i know, but i think that is why it works.
it's good for the average joe that wants a little extra
Having only touch, though, I find an utter PitA. The 5800 is a fantastic media player, but personally, for an all-round device I'd always want a keypad and/or qwerty keyboard as well. The touch-only thing is a niche market; a fashion that will die out as soon as Apple take the paradigm-shifting, revolutionary step of adding a "keypad" to the iPhone. That's why Nokia took the approach of making the 5800 a lower-range, maybe/maybe not, not-particularly-important device. They were dead right, IMHO.
The N97, on the face of it, satisfies all my requirements, but I suspect is going to be over-priced given the hardware limitations (OMAP 2, no graphics acceleration, etc). They also need, as you point out, to consider the recession; I, for one, am unlikely to get clearance from The Lady Wife for one of those at £400+ in the current climate.
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