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Nokia’s fall from dominance is well-documented, and its failures are often attributed to its lack of foresight and unwillingness to adapt. If Nokia had put the pedal to the metal and tried to innovate instead of enjoying the short-term success of its popularity, it may never have fallen from grace.
A lack of innovation notwithstanding, Nokia’s biggest mistake was to be acquired by Microsoft, where a series of layoffs led it to become a shell of its former self. It made excellent hardware, but by then, it was too little too late with Microsoft failing to accrue developer support for Windows Phone. If Nokia had refused the exclusivity deals and remained open, making excellent hardware across a variety of software platforms (Including its own), it would have survived.
A fact unknown to many is that there is still a part of Nokia that is not owned by Microsoft: Nokia Technologies. It sits upon a massive pile of patents and has a successful licensing business and is in a much better state than the other half of Nokia.
While Nokia Technologies is not allowed to make phones till 2016, it is still allowed to design and stamp the Nokia brand on other devices, like Tablets. Indeed, a few months ago, it released the Nokia N1, which was a Tablet that carried the Nokia name and was designed by Nokia Technologies, but was manufactured by Foxconn.
Now, Recode, the oracles of the technology world, claim that Nokia would be announcing a Virtual Reality headset this week. Further details about this product are amiss, but we do know a few things: Nokia would be using its hardware expertise to design the device, but it won’t manufacture it. Alas, the manufacturing facilities of Nokia are owned by Microsoft, and most are left to rot as Microsoft realizes the futility of its acquisition. Nokia’s devices would be manufactured by partners like Foxconn. That doesn’t mean the device would be inferior. In fact, it is the opposite: These large manufacturing companies have years of experience producing a myriad of devices, and Nokia’s hardware expertise is sure to result in excellent devices.
This may very well be Nokia’s comeback, its rise from certain doom, a testament to its ability to sustain despite the competition. Or it could be a vain effort to bring back a fallen icon. After all, the bigger they are, the harder they fall.
What do you think?