LAS VEGAS—Nokia has enjoyed a market-leading run on the world stage, but North America has not been its strong suit. Mark Louison, president of North America for Nokia, aims to change that.
“We’re at an important point now in our execution of the strategy,” he said, pointing to several devices, including CDMA based, that the company has launched here.
Looking back a few years, the company was trying to apply a one-size-fits-all strategy to the U.S. market, where carriers are a big part of distribution and retail scene with their own stores. At one point, Nokia considered a joint venture with Sanyo, but that didn’t pan out.
Since then, the company started focusing more on in efforts in San Diego, where it has an R&D department working with North American operators, including Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile USA and others, to build customized products.
So what can be expected as a result of this increased effort? For one thing, you can expect to see more phones launching first in the United States. The E71 is an example of a device introduced in the U.S. market before others. It has won design awards and it’s doing quite well when held up against some other well-known smartphones, he said.
Sure, products still will be launched in other markets before the United States, he said, and some products will be released at the same time. But as Nokia continues to develop customized devices with U.S. carriers, you can expect more products introduced first in the United States – something unheard of just a few years ago.
Here’s a rundown of some of Nokia’s announcements at CES:
- The show marks the first public debut in North America of the Nokia N97 mobile computer.
- Nokia announced the Nokia 1006, 7510 and E63 for North America. T-Mobile USA was announced as the exclusive carrier of the customizable Nokia 7510. “This is a very style-oriented product,” Louison said. The 7510 also allows for UMA connectivity, allowing movement between cellular and Wi-Fi for calls.
- Nokia announced it will bring a U.S.-optimized version of the Nokia E63 smartphone to the North American market. The Nokia E63, which has a QWERTY keypad, will be available in the coming weeks for an estimated retail price of $279. The Nokia E63 will be available unlocked through various retail channels in the United States, including www.nokiausa.com, Nokia Flagship Stores in New York and Chicago as well as independent retailers and e-tailers.
- Nokia will launch its music store in the United States, but it has not revealed plans for bringing Comes With Music to the U.S. market.
- Nokia announced a partnership for networking technology with Philips.
The company did not mention any plans for a netbook device.