Nokia are one of the most iconic mobile phone makers in history. They were the pioneers behind some of the classic first wave of mobile phones, including their iconic 3310. When the smart phone age was heralded in 2007 by the Apple iPhone, the Finnish phone maker seemingly fell off the edge of the cliff. They became redundant almost overnight and at times over the intervening years they came close to ceasing to exist. As news broke of a Nokia launch event planned for New York City on July 11th, this nostalgia came flooding back. The reason more than anything is that Nokia might be about to make a big splash in the mobile phone space for the first time in nearly a decade.
The July 11th event will mark the launch of a new flagship Nokia Smartphone. That news in itself ceased to be interesting many a year ago, but this time round it seems that the news actually may be interesting.
This new flagship will be focussed around the phones camera, and the emailed event invite promises that phone will feature a “Zoom. Reinvented”. The phone is set to feature a 41 megapixel sensor, which will deliver the first mobile phone with a sensor to rival a digital SLR camera.
The new Nokia will have a clear point of differentiation compared to the leading smart phone manufacturers, Samsung and Apple. Whilst the market leaders all create smart phones with powerful cameras, it has been a number of years since a phone launch which placed such emphasis on a feature that people take for granted.
We’ve talked extensively recently about the impact that smartphones have had on the compact digital camera industry. As mobile phone cameras have improved, there has been a huge drop in the sales of budget based compact cameras. This has led to companies like Fujifilm culling 50% of their budget compacts, and other companies like Nikon focussing their compact efforts on higher end models.
The production of ‘lite-slr’ compact cameras has saved the compact camera industry, with sales improving in the compact space for the first time in a number of years. News of a super=powered 41 megapixel Nokia smartphone may kill that growth in the bud, and its likely that Nokia have seen this opportunity and are now looking to execute a smart strategy around it.
Whilst the smartphones camera has long since been taken for granted, it has never seen so much use. The rise of photo based social media sites like Instagram, as well as micro-blogging sites like FourSquare and Twitter has placed a huge emphasis on pictures snapped by smartphones.
It’s therefore likely that a differentiated smartphone in this space could have a massive impact in the market, and there are no shortage of users of these services who are likely to take an interest in this camera phone from Nokia.
So in this instance, I think the wave of nostalgia that hit me earlier in this piece is slightly warranted. I haven’t been this excited for Nokia in some time – in face I wrote two years ago about how I felt their decline may now be terminal. However I think we sit on the verge of a form of ‘camera phones 2.0’, where users will take a renewed interest in the camera function.
With that in mind, let’s see if Nokia will herald in that new camera phone era with their mega 41MP camera phone. Put July 11th in your diary and we’ll carry the details as they come in.