Nokia Who?

Nokia just doesn't get much attention in the U.S., both for better and for worse.

While the whole world is watching the iPhone (and blogging about it; we're as guilty as anyone), Nokia keeps quietly charging ahead. Some analysts are forecasting Q3 sales of 1 million for Apple's $500-$600 iPhone, but let's put that in context. In Q2 this year, Nokia sold 1.5 million N95 phones at about $750 each.

This is, by the way, one sweet phone, and it does some things that the iPhone can only dream about. Things like 3G, GPS, and video. It also does some of the same things, in some ways better. It has a 5 Mpixel Carl Zeiss camera and can upload pictures directly to Flickr and other websites; an MP3 player, and a Web browser. The rest of the world has noticed, and is buying it in droves.

In fact, the rest of the world is buying all kinds of Nokia phones in droves. As was widely reported,

Nokia sold 100.8 million phones in the quarter, more than its three closest rivals combined, and estimated its market share at 38 percent, above analysts' consensus of 37.7 percent.

The Finnish company has a strong lead in emerging markets such as China and India, which it has been fiercely defending.

"Emerging markets are the key issue; they are ahead in Africa, in China ... everywhere you look it's emerging markets, they have a wider distribution network there, they are reaching more consumers," said Neil Mawston from Strategy Analytics.

An article in Cellular News puts Nokia one point lower, but confirms the fact of its astonishing dominance:

Nokia 37.0%

Samsung at 13.7%

Motorola 13%

Sony Ericsson 9.1%

LG 7.0%

They're all having great years, in fact, except Motorola, whose Razr line is wearing thin (pun intended). Overall Motorola unit sales are down 31% compared to a year ago. Sony Ericsson is doing well, and LG even better, with its Chocolate and enV phones. (My daughter has the Chocolate. She's no longer enamored with it, but it's selling well. A friend's son recently got the enV, and loves everything about it.)

The good news for Nokia is that it's not just the good news that's relatively overlooked in the U.S. Consider Microsoft's XBox repair woes, which have been widely reported, including a big feature ("Xbox 360 Out of Order? For Loyalists, No Worries") in yesterday's NY Times.

Microsoft expects to end up repairing a third of the "11.6 million 360s already in the hands of consumers."

But according to a BBC report, Nokia will be fixing four times that many phones:

Nokia admits mobile battery issue

Nokia is offering to replace 46 million batteries for its mobile phones after reports of overheating while charging.

The article says,

"I think this will hurt Nokia's brand a lot and that's the most precious asset Nokia has," Jyske analyst Soren Linde Nielsen told Reuters news agency.

Maybe elsewhere. But American consumers will have to start paying attention to Nokia first.

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