Think Nokia Shafts The US Only? Read On For The Situation In India

The general consensus in the Blogosphere seems to be that the only country Nokia is shafting is the US. Let me open your eyes to the reality, the situation here in India is no better. I decided on writing this rant after Ricky’s about the poor Maps 3.0 experience, specifically this portion where he was speaking for the US consumer.

“If you recall, we’re also not cool enough for a firmware update on the N95-3, the Nokia Music Store, or Comes With Music, either.”

On the face of it Nokia realises that India is a huge market and a place they can absolutely not ignore, it has even announced measures like India being one of the first countries to receive the 5800 Xpress Music, yet sadly I see nothing happening – the 5800 Xpress is still not here despite going on sale else where in the world.

Let me start with listing just some of issues Nokia must address in India:

  • FIRMWARESHere in India, almost every Nokia handset sold is SIM free, yet when a new firmware comes out people have to wait for over a month before it becomes available for their handset (product code). WHY?
  • MUSIC STOREWe are still waiting. Although there is word that there might be a December launch. Comes with music might take even more time.
  • SHARE ONLINE – The Share Online client sits on every phone yet, if you search for the services neither Share on Ovi nor Flickr show up? WHY?
  • MAPS – This one takes the cake. I was promised maps for a large part of India withing six months when I first bought my N95. Today, almost 2 years later only nine Indian cities have coverage. I’m sure you all are aware of India’s size.
  • CUSTOMER SERVICE – I will keep this specific. I know of a person who bought his N82 almost 5 months ago, the same very day he discovered large patches of dead spots on the screen. He took the brand new phone to the service center, they told him that the screens were out of stock and he should come again later. Five months have passed but their reply hasn’t changed. He’s meanwhile thinking of suing for deficiency in service.

On the face of it all of these problem have easy work arounds, for the firmware simply change the product code and update, for Share Online the solution is here, for maps there are Google Maps, the music store needs consumers and not the otherway round. As for poor customer service, well, the consumer can surely not make the same mistake twice and buy from another manufacturer.

The thing is that a lot of us are loyal Nokia fanboys who will stick to a company we believe in for the simple fact that Nokia has some of the best phones in the market and also because of the whole service/application ecosystem around the products.  Yet everyone has a patience level. All of these are small niggles which I’m sure can be sorted out quickly, all Nokia needs is a little impetus.

But till that happens, let it be known to those of you in the US who feel let down – you have company.

19 thoughts on “Think Nokia Shafts The US Only? Read On For The Situation In India”

  1. Well said Vaibhav ! I was going to rant on this same thing tomorrow. Share on Ovi’s still not “officially supported” on Share online in India

  2. sure i have been to the nokia care centres for the past 5 months and their reply hasn’t changed…and now i need to buy a phone for my mom and i am thinking of other options…

  3. Good article! We feel some of these same shortcomings here in the US. Our mapping system is pretty good, but we’re often overlooked by Nokia’s devices and services. The US gets firmwares last, and we don’t have the Music Store or CWM either.

    I suppose Nokia needs to focus it’s resources where they have the highest market share. Aren’t they the #1 Brand in India?!? Maybe they’re focusing on the S40 devices more in India? We have a tough time getting brand new devices like the 5800 and N85 here in the US too. I think Nokia doesn’t want to piss off the carriers, but that’s changing quickly.

    To some extent, we make it hard on ourselves, though. It’s tough living on the bleeding edge, blogging about future products. Once I hear about a new device or service, I WANT IT NOW! : ) Unfortunatly, folks like us are less than 1% of Nokia’s target market.

  4. Matthew, its true that Nokia is No.1 in India, but their margin has slipped a little. Their focus is the N and E series of devices along with the Xpress music ones. The S40’s to an extent sell themselves.

    You make an absolutely valid point about we being the one percent, however it would be in Nokia’s interest to promote things like a new firmware. Specially when they release unstable ones like on the N96.

    Also, the share online app sits on the front screen and the normob doesn’t understand why is it even there, when he digs a little big he tries to make it work. Yet he finds out first hand that its virtually useless in India.

  5. Good post. I read the Guru article y’day and I was hoping to see somebody talk about India as well.

    I think the latest Maps 3.0 for Mobile is the pits of the world – instead of adding more coverage and making it faster and more stable, it has degraded in every aspect.

    Share Online – less said the better.

    Let me not start about Comes with Music …

    There are people who will buy a Nokia because it supports all these wonderful features but how long should we wait before we can actually really use them properly on the phone ?

  6. well this is just thinks that the indian customers are stupid and have no place to go but i personally know more than 40 guys who were a hardcore nokia fan and now are walking with a htc in hand..reason being all the above and some more which is nokia thinks that we owe her something if we are using her phones… It’s just not right and nokia seriously needs to think about indian customers. Who is with me..revolution is the best to change things.

  7. Well said Vaibhav
    I love your blog and its one of the few I follow regularly. I am a huge Nokia fan but I’ve gotten increasingly disenchanted with Nokia in the last few months. Nokia customer service is a joke. Some Nokia officials should try visiting some of them undercover and discover first-hand what kind of pathetic service is being offered. I dont even bother to go there if there’s a problem with my phone because I know for sure that I can get the job done faster and better elsewhere, by people who wont act as if they’re doing me a favour.
    I have used scores of Nokia handsets, my last Nokia was the N95-8GB but when the N96 came out, i resolved not to buy it and opted for the iPhone instead.

  8. About the Maps, I fail to understand that both NokiaVine and Friend’s view have better map data for rural India with most of the highways being shown and numbered too. These two applications also use data from Navteq however Nokia maps still doesn’t have better rural coverage. Nokia wants to push its services to its users however I’ve not been able to convince even a single guy to move from Flickr or Picassa to Share on OVI. The main reason for all this is that Nokia has launched all these services without even one of them being good at what its supposed to do. Customers have better options available for each one of these services be it maps(mapmyindia/ satnav), online sharing of media (Picassa/ Flickr) and frankly, who buys music online in India?

  9. Nokia isn’t shafting anyone in the US, they simply find themselves in a position where they are unable (and indeed unwilling) to do all of the things that are demanded by US carriers including customising the software and UI, removing hardware (bluetooth, for example) and barring access to services so that they don’t compete with the carriers own (usually poorer) offerings.

    If you want to place the blame anywhere, then look to the US carriers: they are the ones who are curtailing innovation.

  10. I don’t understand how the american people haven’t improved their mobile technology tastes, I knew just a few days ago that the iPhone didn’t have the MMS function! Lol How is that possible?

  11. On the firmwares part I agree with you!

    When it comes to the music store… How many of us are actually downloading music legally? The costing is a concern in India, will they be affordable? is a big question to which even we don’t have a foolproof answer!

    Share on Ovi, Maps… again I have to agree with you, without a doubt, the points you have raised are valid.

    Customer service… now this is where I have had the exact experience… I had my screen develop some dead pixels and it increased a bit too (liquid was leaking), I went to NPD and submitted my handset for repairs.. and what do you know I got my phone repaired in 5 days flat. The phone had gone to Gurgaon for repairs and came back all fixed… I don’t know how come I got such good service, if assuming what you say is common practice. Also I have read about a person from Bangalore complaining about a similar problem on Nokia Discussions that you have mentioned… so I really don’t know how I got so lucky!

    BTW Happy New Year! 🙂

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