John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Good Luck Following the New iPhone to Market, Nokia

Taken in isolation, Nokia’s new Lumia 920 looks pretty good. It’s got nifty new camera technology, wireless charging and a large, bright screen that is supposed to look good even in direct sunlight.

The trouble is, the Lumia 920 won’t be alone in competing for smartphone buyers’ attention. Worse, while it was announced before the new iPhone, it likely won’t ship until well after that device is out.

Nokia has not announced a firm launch date for the 920, or even a carrier partner. CEO Stephen Elop promised only that the device, Nokia’s first to run Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 8 OS, would ship sometime in the fourth quarter of this year.

Apple hasn’t yet announced the next-generation iPhone; it will do so at an invitation-only event next week. But it typically doesn’t like to wait that long between announcing a new phone and having it on store shelves. Historically, a new iPhone’s street date has followed its formal debut by 10 days or so, and many are expecting this year’s model to go on sale as early as Sept. 21.

So unless Apple has run into some last-minute supply-chain issues that have forced it to deviate from plan, Nokia’s Lumia 920 will be going up against a brand-new iPhone that beat it to market by at least a few weeks. That means that while Nokia won’t miss the annual holiday shopping binge, it will have to follow what is arguably the biggest mobile product launch of the year.

In other words, it’s launching with a disadvantage. Certainly, that’s the view of the market. Nokia shares fell more than 11 percent, to $2.51, following this morning’s event, as investors came to grips with the idea that the Lumia will ship after the new iPhone.

“In terms of timing and pricing, Nokia only indicated that the phones are expected in select markets later this year,” Wells Fargo analyst Jennifer Fritzsche said following the event. “Given the lack of carrier partner announcements, indefinite timing, and no unexpected product announcements, we view today’s event as a disappointment.”

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work