x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Fallen giant Nokia pins future on software

Tom Farrell, the vice president of Nokia Middle East, talks exclusively to The National about how the company is trying to move forward.

The Nokia Oyj Lumia 920 smartphone. David Paul Morris / Bloomberg
The Nokia Oyj Lumia 920 smartphone. David Paul Morris / Bloomberg

Nokia is trying to combat a fall in overall sales by increasingly relying on Microsoft's latest Windows Phone 8 software.

But competition with Google's Android system and Apple's iOS digital platform is heating up. Here, Tom Farrell, the vice president of Nokia Middle East, talks exclusively to The National about how the company is trying to move forward.

Is it too late for Nokia?

The smartphone market evolves rapidly and over the past decade we have been seeing new market leaders as quickly as every couple of years. Today, it is more of a war of ecosystems rather than devices and handset vendors. We believe the Windows 8 platform has what it takes to compete with Android and iOS.

How, exactly, does Nokia differentiate itself with its new Lumia 1020 smartphone?

Our strategy with Lumia is differentiating ourselves with the Windows 8 operating system and our unrivalled strengths in areas such as imaging and navigation and we believe that unique offering is very strong. Our effort to introduce unravelled imaging technologies allows our consumers to remove the complexity of photography while enhancing creativity in the way they shoot, edit and share pictures.

Overall, though, Nokia's earnings figures have been down.

We are very happy with our progress since the launch of the Lumia range on the Windows 8 platform [last year]. We have made steady progress quarter on quarter on quarter. Obviously, getting off to a good start with Windows Phone 8 was important in that journey and I think the results reflect the fact that the first step is something we are quite pleased with.

How does the latest Nokia smartphone attempt to showcase the company from an innovation standpoint?

Our emphasis on future disruption is exciting because this is how we will bring back the innovative pioneering spirit of Nokia. [The Lumia 1020] announcement is testament to our focus on bringing professional photography qualities and experiences to Nokia owners, which redefines the possibilities of mobile imaging.

Can you specifically address what consumers in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) want from their smartphone these days, and will Nokia will be able to deliver on that demand?

We have been part of this market for over 20 years and this region has a very social and family oriented culture. People in this part of the world gather and meet so often and are passionate about frequently sharing images and moments of their friends and family on social networks and among themselves. We at Nokia view imaging as a core area for differentiation in the smartphone space. Low light photography has been a weak point for smartphones. Nokia has addressed this with its innovative PureView technology.