updated 05:05 am EDT, Thu May 3, 2012
Outgoing Nokia chairman promises new gadgets
Nokia has promised new products ahead of what is expected to be a relatively heated meeting with disgruntled shareholders. In an interview with the Financial Times, retiring Chairman Jorma Ollila has said that the former world number one handset maker by volume would be releasing tablets as well as unspecified ‘hybrid’ smart devices, although without committing to a timeframe. His comments come on the back of Nokia’s shares being downgraded to ‘junk’ status as well as a disastrous past five years that has seen its shares plummet in value by 90 percent.
‘Tablets are an important one, so that is being looked into, and there will be different hybrids, different form factors in the future,’ he told the FT. ‘Four years from mid-2008 to today the returns have not been where they should have been. The company saw it and it was broadly accepted but the software capability and particularly the platform software knowhow was not there,’ he added.
His comments came in response to criticisms that Nokia failed to properly respond to the rise of Apple’s iPhone and Android smartphone revolution under his watch. While admitting as much, he said that new products in its pipeline would soon start to address these shortcomings. In addition to its line of Lumia Windows Phone 7-based devices, products that Nokia is betting its future on includes at least one forthcoming Windows 8 on ARM tablet.
It is expected to be powered by Qualcomm’s current speed king, the Snapdragon S4 dual-core mobile processor. While Windows-based tablets running on Intel’s x86 architecture can potentially address perceived shortcomings in the market leading iPad and competing Android tablet platforms, Nokia’s ARM-based tablet will not be able to run legacy Windows applications leaving it potentially vulnerable.
Ollila will make way for incoming Chairman Risto Siilasmaa following the shareholder meeint, leaving Siilasmaa to work with CEO Stephen Elop to try and put the company back on a competitive footing. He will leave the company facing its biggest challenge in years. Its smartphone sales for the first quarter fell 50 percent year over year down from 24.2 million in 2011 to just 11.9 million as its WP7-powered Lumia handsets have been unable to stem the exodus of customers that accelerated following its dumping of its dated in-house Symbian mobile OS.