Awhile back, folks from Nokia’s social networking division invited me to dinner. They asked me “Christopher, what’s the one big thing that we could do to make N-Series phones sell well in the United States?”
I gave them two answers. One, get the cost down. It doesn’t matter that the N95-4 has all these bells and whistles that set it apart from iPhone. iPhone 3G is $199 with contract, the N95-4 can only be bought for $599 with no chance for a contract discount. Two, promote them! This isn’t Europe, you can’t just put the phones on Brightpoint and have them sell themselves. If you don’t have partnerships, retailers won’t push the phones…
I’m glad they listened. Unfortunately, they partnered the deal with T-Mobile, and not AT&T. I think this will be a miss for most, since N-Series phones don’t have 1700 MHz UMTS. That means they won’t be able to access most of T-Mobile’s 3G network. As such, I hope they tie the knot with AT&T on this partnership… those N-Series phones will sell like crazy if they can slash $200 off of them, and have them work on 3G non-stop.
Longer term… if Nokia wants to sell N-Series phones on T-Mobile via this partnership, they’ll have to add 1700 MHz support to their NAM (North American Market) phones.