ONE OF THE FIRST things friends do when I hand them my Nokia Lumia 800 is flick through the phone's apps to see how many familiar icons they see. They often mutter something when handing back the phone.
Nokia have a lot of work to do during the next year if former Nokia users can be prised from their iPhones. Those iPhones were a quantum leap from Symbian for most owners because they did things faster and used an interface that people enjoyed. Nokia had 46% market share of mobile phones in Ireland when the iPhone launched in 2007. A lot has changed in five years, including the way people used their phones. When people started buying iPhones because their friends had iPhones, they often started connecting through apps, not voice or text. Now those apps represent the mobile environment through which people define their worlds. And as a late starter in the touchscreen game, Nokia has an apps deficiency.
It will take two years before Nokia's apps for Windows Phone are more compelling than the bog-standard iOS apps,. The Windows Metro interface and its better live notification system will pull people back to Nokia--if people returning to Nokia's handsets can continue using most of the apps they loved with their iPhones. This is not as difficult as one might think. Of the millions of iOS apps floating around, the only ones I'd like to see on my Windows Phone are Audioboo, Phone Casts, Instagram, Clicky Touch, Cut the Rope, and Skype. The Windows Phone Marketplace has a strong representation of business applications already, in both free and paid forms.
In two years, Internet Explorer will have a very capable HTML 5 rendering engine for mobile phones. I believe Nokia phones will have a CPU core dedicated to rich media rendering which means no real need to depend upon apps to see the mobile web.
But these things are two years away and Apple will continue selling millions more handsets than Nokia in the meantime. For me, a long-time Nokia owner, it feels strange to watch the brand being reduced to a fraction of its formidable self. I'll be on board for a Nokia handset in 2015 and hope all the apps I treasure from my iPhone will be running of the Windows Phone OS as well.
Composed on my Nokia Lumia using Evernote and Typepad's mail2blog service over O2-Ireland's towers. I shot the image of me using my reliable Nokia E90 during an Irish tweetup.