If you could question everyone who purchased a Nokia smartphone in 2010, when Symbian 3 was launched, about what they thought of the experience, I think you would get two very common responses. The first, from people like myself, who were already familiar with Symbian, would say something along the lines of “Good improvement over S60.” And “Love all the features, more than any other smartphone platform could offer at the time.”
There would of course be another group, who hadn’t used a Symbian before. Perhaps those who had used the iPhone or an Android. Whose main uses for a smartphone are Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. These are the ones who didn’t know or fully appreciate the OS’s multitasking abilities, or the fact it had a file manager. Those with no interest in FM transmitters, the ability to install Custom Firmware or using HDMI out. Ask these users and chances are their memories will be less fondly recounted.
The problem is, the latter group make up a big part of the consumers who Nokia are hoping the Lumia range will appeal to. But these are the customers who consider Nokia to be a manufacturer of slow, clunky and buggy smartphones. Bare in mind a lot of these buyers probably never kept the phone long enough to get the Belle updates, which improved things hugely, or if they did, may be the type of user who wouldn’t think to install a software update on their phone.
Being a Twitter user, I often come across tweets aimed at Nokia criticizing their devices. This is probably a common thing for all manufacturers, but what has impressed me is how Nokia respond to these comments, often daring them to apply for a trial device through the Nokia Conversations website.
How easy these are to get, I’m not sure. But the @Nokia_Connects twitter handle is often checking up on how people are getting on with their trial devices.
This also puts me in mind of when I was talking with an EE store worker. If you aren’t familiar with EE it stands for Everything Everywhere and is the result of a merger in the UK of Orange and T-Mobile. She was telling me that when the Windows Phone 8 Lumia devices where launched Nokia sent out people to their stores and had a Lumia 920 to give to one employee in each shop. She told me that they had picked her to be the lucky recipient as she hated Nokia phones. In fact, she would tell customers who came into the store looking for a Nokia smartphone to get a different brand, that was how little she thought of Nokia phones.
I asked her what she thought of them now, and she told me she loved the 920 and had a completely different view of them since using it.
And I think this is a very intelligent approach from Nokia. Because this EE employee is probably typical of what a lot of those who tried Symbian feel. I don’t want to sound like I hated Symbian, because I didn’t and still don’t, but for a lot of regular phone users, even with Symbian Belle, the platform isn’t for them.
It is very easy preaching to the converted, but getting someone who is anti-Nokia to try out a Lumia device and see the super speedy and smooth OS for themselves is vital in changing the mindset of people who probably wouldn’t go near the Nokia section in a shop otherwise.