Nokia abandons future Android handsets, feature phones

Microsoft is shaking things up in a big way this week. Earlier today, it announced plans to shed up to 18,000 employees over the next year. The firm is also abandoning Android and feature phone development under the Nokia brand to focus on Windows Phone devices.

The handset plans come from a pair of emails. One, from Microsoft executive VP Stephen Elop, was publicly released on the company's site. The other, a leaked internal memo from Nokia executive VP of Smart Devices Jo Harlow, is quoted at BGR. Here's the relevant section of Elop's message:

In the near term, we plan to drive Windows Phone volume by targeting the more affordable smartphone segments, which are the fastest growing segments of the market, with Lumia. In addition to the portfolio already planned, we plan to deliver additional lower-cost Lumia devices by shifting select future Nokia X designs and products to Windows Phone devices. We expect to make this shift immediately while continuing to sell and support existing Nokia X products.

Image: Nokia

Based on that statement, I expect the best Nokia X products in the pipeline will be rebranded as Lumia devices and sold with Windows Phone. Any handsets that don't make the cut are likely to be consigned to the trash heap.

Harlow's memo spells out the end for the company's Asha, Series 40, and Nokia X devices. It says that "with the clear focus on Windows Phones, all Mobile Phones-related services and enablers are planned to move into maintenance mode, effective immediately," and that Nokia is "committed to supporting [its] existing customers, and will ensure proper operation during the controlled shutdown of services over the next 18 months."

These changes are part of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's new strategy for the company. Whatever the motivation for developing Nokia Android devices in the first place, Microsoft now seems to feel that only its Windows Phone software can deliver on its future direction. With only a 3% share of global smartphone shipments in the first quarter of 2014, however, the platform has a very long road ahead of it.

Comments closed
    • Chrispy_
    • 6 years ago

    Were the Android Nokia’s something that existed before the MS buyout of Nokia’s phone division, or was the “Hey, let’s make phones that undermine our own products” a moment of true Microsoft insanity?

    • Voldenuit
    • 6 years ago

    WTH, MS is also cancelling nokia’s upcoming high end windows phone.

    [url<]http://www.dailytech.com/Microsoft+Kills+Entertainment+Unit+May+Shelve+Flagship+Lumia+McLaren+/article36245.htm[/url<] They're just nuts at this point.

      • Laykun
      • 6 years ago

      High end phones like that are not likely to generate volume sales, which is really something Microsoft needs when it comes to gaining market and mind share in the cell phone space. It sounds like Microsoft is re-focusing it’s resources on a different kind of market, probably the market where Android devices are pretty much unchallenged, the low to mid range.

    • just brew it!
    • 6 years ago

    Did anyone expect this to *not* happen?

    • Miksu
    • 6 years ago

    Regarding the title, I think it should read Microsoft, not Nokia.

    • ronch
    • 6 years ago

    They just don’t get it. When people think mobile phones, they either think Apple or Android. Haven’t they learned anything from Nokia’s demise? Few people want Windows Phone. But.. oh well.. adopting Google’s brainchild OS can’t possibly be good for Microsoft’s corporate pride, so they’ll still push through with their own OS, and if it still doesn’t take off, probably sell off the Nokia division to someone else.

      • absurdity
      • 6 years ago

      It’s not that they don’t get it – it’s already been a long, expensive haul to get where they are with phones, and it will continue to be so for quite some time until they’re a real competitor (which they probably will be, eventually). Having a mobile presence is a big part of their future, and they need to be there to survive. If they don’t, all they’ll be doing in 10 years is selling Office (maybe).

    • kmieciu
    • 6 years ago

    Time to buy new S40 while they are available. My 3110 classic is 7 yrs old and the battery still holds for about a week – it was over two weeks brand new. I’m thinking about 206, with a smartphone-class battery this phone can hold for over a month.

    • Voldenuit
    • 6 years ago

    [quote<]Nokia abandons future [/quote<] Coulda ended it here.

      • albundy
      • 6 years ago

      +1! I am shocked, i say, SHOCKED! lol

      • ronch
      • 6 years ago

      Makes for easier reading, too.

    • Ninjitsu
    • 6 years ago

    Send me a note when WP has a FB app that doesn’t suck, Maps that replicate the functionality of Here Maps, a WhatsApp that can select multiple messages to copy/paste and a YT app.

    At least we have an official file manager! :/

      • Klimax
      • 6 years ago

      I don’t think original Maps exist anymore. (IIRC at least a year or so) HERE Maps are pretty sure standard.

      FB App, when was last time you used it? (It’s quite often updated)

      YT App. Ask Google. Microsoft had it already, but Google stopped it. (And only MS app, there is Metrotube which works very well)

      As for WhatsApp, don’t know. (Never used)

        • sweatshopking
        • 6 years ago

        here maps is available to all phones. he knows that. he also knows the fb app gets often updated. he just likes to whine about it.

          • Klimax
          • 6 years ago

          At least if it had a valid point…

      • w76
      • 6 years ago

      I briefly had a Nokia phone, and got rid of it after less than 6 months due to the lousy app ecosystem, but I’ll say this… Nokia’s maps app destroyed any Android equivalent. (This was about 1.5yrs ago now, situation could’ve changed)

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 6 years ago

    I’ve used a windows 8.1 phone. They are really flipping slick for sure. They have some holes in terms of missing features but its literally the best OS I’ve laid my hands on IMHO. I always felt that apple was dated and that android was basically copying apple. The tile home page on a windows phone with the swipe to access key features etc is just so fluid and easy. Android 4.4 is the first iteration to move in this direction.

      • NeelyCam
      • 6 years ago

      Hey SSK; could you please let kamikazie have his account back?

      Hacking a fellow TR gerbil’s account is just not cool.

        • sweatshopking
        • 6 years ago

        NEVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!

      • trackerben
      • 6 years ago

      My Nokia 630 has the most quality and features for the money, just not as many apps as an iPhone. It’s as smooth and reliable and the UI is more flexible and elegant in parts. Like iPhone it lacks in the evolved customizations of Androids but then it’s also far less crash- and malware-prone .

      Takeaway: If you can’t afford Apple polish and toying around with droid glitches, Windows Phone is the best alternative to the market leaders. Just make sure your needed apps are available on MS Store first.

    • codedivine
    • 6 years ago

    Media reports are very conflicting, and much reporting is very confused as is usual about Nokia. For example, S40/Asha is only a small part of Nokia’s feature phone business. Asha phones were half-smartphones. For example, Asha phones can run some apps and connect to social networks.
    Asha phones make no more sense because we have Android phones and even some Windows Phones now competing in the same price points but with way better OS and apps. It is just simpler for MS to focus only on Windows Phone as their only apps platform for mobile.

    Nokia also makes a lot of dumb phones meant for voice+SMS only. It is not at all clear if the dumb phones are being discontinued.

    Finally, many websites report S40/Asha as Symbian, which is also completely wrong. Symbian was killed way back.S40 is a completely separate OS and only supports Java ME programs.

    • trackerben
    • 6 years ago

    Nokia’s low-end Lumias like the 52x and the latest 63x are quality phones. With IP and antitrust issues receding, Microsoft can now drive WP into all segments for economies of scale. By marketing hardware rather than platform features, they simplify brand messaging and attract more users into their underdog ecosystem.

      • mcnabney
      • 6 years ago

      It is funny to think that anyone has brand loyalty to Microsoft. People use it because they have to. If it isn’t wedged in under a monopoly (Office, DirectX games) consumers don’t want it.

        • trackerben
        • 6 years ago

        That’s why Nokia.

        • sweatshopking
        • 6 years ago

        have you been to places like wpcentral? they’re mobile nations (one of the biggest mobile tech sites) and their windows phone section has more followers than their android (they announced this about 1.5 months ago). WP has a VERY loyal base of engaged users, much like apple did for years. The average windows phone user bought it because they WANTED it, not because it was the cheapest phone at the shop. they’re far more engaged than your typical android user. Whether that becomes a driver towards market share as apple was able to do with the iphone will have to be seen.

          • BabelHuber
          • 6 years ago

          [quote<]have you been to places like wpcentral? they're mobile nations (one of the biggest mobile tech sites) and their windows phone section has more followers than their android (they announced this about 1.5 months ago).[/quote<] That's because most Android enthusiasts are on XDA! [quote<]WP has a VERY loyal base of engaged users, much like apple did for years. The average windows phone user bought it because they WANTED it, not because it was the cheapest phone at the shop. they're far more engaged than your typical android user.[/quote<] Source please. AFAIK the best selling WP phones are the cheap ones (Lumia 5XX and 6XX), and cheap phones usually are bought because of their price. Also, Android is much more flexible with unlocked devices, lots of Custom ROMs (stock based, pure AOSP, CM, PA, OMNI just to name a few). Also, you get Apps which require root in the regular Play Store. Also, even without rooting I can replace every App with another one on Android- even as the default App. It does not matter if this is the launcher, the browser, the contacts or the phone-App. So I wouldn't know why an enthusiast should even consider WP, I surely won't. [quote<]Whether that becomes a driver towards market share as apple was able to do with the iphone will have to be seen.[/quote<] This train has already left the station. Since its introduction in 2010, WP traditionally has a market share in the low single digits. Even on its most successfull markets like Germany and Italy it has problems even reaching 10% market share. In no single country WP has a bigger market share than Android. Also, you need to check where MS was with WM in 2010, and where Nokia was with Symbian in 2010: IIRC Nokia had ~30% smartphone market share with Symbian, while MS had 12% with WM. After Nokia went WP-only, the combined market share tanked from 42% to 3% since then. I had some discussions here on TR in 2012 about WP. Bacvk then I correctly predicted that MS won't go anywhere with WP8. All the people who accused me of being a hater and who predicted WP8 to bevome a success were wrong back then. WP 8.1 is too little, too late. Move on, nothing to see here.

            • sweatshopking
            • 6 years ago

            lots are on XDA, but there are literally billions of android users. XDA is for developers. they’re a different class of user than i’m referring to.

            android is more “flexible”. it’s also less reliable and full of malware. there are pros and cons to all platforms.

            apple sat for years with a shrinking or stagnant market share. decades, actually.

            you’re right the cheaper windows phones are the best sellers (that’s consistent on all platforms).

            nobody accused you of being a hater. you were part of the 97% of users that didn’t want windows phone. must have been hard being out there all alone with the other 96% of people!

            it’s outselling apple in 24 markets now. has apple failed in those markets too? Android is a behemoth, there’s no question. I’ll stick, and so will many others, with windows phone. it does what we want how we want it. I’d seriously rather have no phone than an android phone (i’d use an iPhone though, just not my preference) I’ve had android devices, and they’re not worth the effort to use them.

            • BabelHuber
            • 6 years ago

            [quote<]lots are on XDA, but there are literally billions of android users. XDA is for developers. they're a different class of user than i'm referring to. [/quote<] On XDA there are a lot users who simply browse for available ROMs, tools, Xposed-modules etc. without being Android developers - like me. [quote<]android is more "flexible". it's also less reliable and full of malware. there are pros and cons to all platforms. [/quote<] Please show me one instance where an Android-user was infected without his own fault, e.g. just by browsing a site. AFAIK there is none. Of course, there are malware-MMS on Android which claim they originate from your bank and advise you to download and install an App from an obscure web site - after you manually have switched off the Android security settings. The people who then allow sideloading, ignore the warning popup, download the app and install it (again ignoring two warning popups) deserve no better IMO. [quote<]apple sat for years with a shrinking or stagnant market share. decades, actually. [/quote<] Yes, and in 1995 Apple needed cash infusion from MS, otherwise they would have gone bancrupt. It was the iPod and the iPhone which turned the tide for Apple. [quote<]nobody accused you of being a hater.[/quote<] I'm sure some did. [quote<]you were part of the 97% of users that didn't want windows phone. must have been hard being out there all alone with the other 96% of people! [/quote<] In 2010 (WP7) and 2012 (WP8) lots of analysts predicted high market share for WP. The net was full of very vocal people who predicted WP a bright future. I always called that BS, and I was right. [quote<]it's outselling apple in 24 markets now. has apple failed in those markets too?[/quote<] Apple's falling market share is problem for them, too (they are at only ~15% right now IIRC). Perhaps the iPhone6 brings the turnaround, let's see. Personally I prefer iOS to be strong, so constant pressure is put onto Android. But as the commodization of the smartphone continues, I expect troubles for Samsung and Apple - the cheap Chinese phones get better and bettter! [quote<]I've had android devices, and they're not worth the effort to use them.[/quote<] I have an SGS4, before I had an SGSII. Both phones are good devices, I sold the SGSII last year and it is still in use (with OMNI-ROM Android 4.4). The only downside to Samsung is the OS, the phones are solid. Once I put a custom ROM on them, they were both fine devices. And I have yet to encounter a serious problem with Android, so honestly I don't know what you mean.

            • sweatshopking
            • 6 years ago

            I mean the os sucks, and it rather be phoneless than go through the ordeal of using it. It’s that bad imo.

            Again, xda has many users because android is many times bigger. Nobody is saying android has fewer users, rather that WP has a strong loyal following.

            No majority of people EVER said windows phone would take market share. The analyst predictions were met with disdain every time, by every major outlet.

            I’m glad you feel vindicated. I see this was important to you.

            And by your account all those idiots that get viruses on windows deserve them too? Android is a malware mess. There is no rational way of debating that. Your position of “people deserve viruses” is silly and incorrect. If you think those are the only situations of malware you’re mistaken.

            I agree cheap Chinese phones will win.

            • BabelHuber
            • 6 years ago

            [quote<]I mean the os sucks[/quote<] Why? Simply stating that something sucks without specifying a reason for it is mere trolling. [quote<]I'm glad you feel vindicated. I see this was important to you.[/quote<] Now this is a [b<]really[/b<] good one - yes I lied awake whole nights crying 🙂 [quote<]And by your account all those idiots that get viruses on windows deserve them too?[/quote<] Not if you don't do anything stupid - and this did and does happen on Windows, hence you need a firewall, a virus scanner and install all updates. Bit users who click on all attachments of all E-Mails deserve what they get on WIndows, too. [quote<]Android is a malware mess. There is no rational way of debating that. Your position of "people deserve viruses" is silly and incorrect. If you think those are the only situations of malware you're mistaken.[/quote<] Please stop trolling. Show me one instance where an Android phone was infected without a user doing stupid things. Of course if your point is that morons are served better with less capable devices then I agree. But then you really must love Chromebokks, too.

            • sweatshopking
            • 6 years ago

            [url<]http://www.neowin.net/news/trend-micro-claims-1-in-10-android-apps-are-malware[/url<] Disagree or agree. 97% of malware is on android, with many report claiming 10% of USA androids having malware, vs less than 6% of pcs. Windows used to be terribly insecure. Now it comes with a great many security tools built in. Android is still terribly insecure with many bugs and security issues. I'm sure google is working on it, but when the play store is full of apps leaking info, there is no safe way to use an android device. As for my disdain for the os, I just don't like the way it operates. I've run many roms, and none of them work for me. I have issues with the UI and security concerns mostly.

        • w76
        • 6 years ago

        Speak for yourself on Office. It’s not wedged on my division at all, I routinely test Libre and OpenOffice, and routinely tell my IT and accounting people to keep paying the Office365Pro bill. For people that actually *use* office productivity software intensively, there is no other real choice. It’s the bill I’m most happy to pay.

        Especially now that we’ve got so many terabytes of cloud storage included (1 per user) I can’t fathom how we’ll use it in any reasonable time frame.

        Of course, many of OOo/LO’s advocates often admit its deficiencies without intending to, with comments like “It’s okay for grandma.” Well, grandma doesn’t need to do 5% of the things we do.

        As for DirectX, meh.

    • chuckula
    • 6 years ago

    I’m shocked… SHOCKED to find that there is gambling going on in this establishment.

      • rechicero
      • 6 years ago

      Your winnings, sir

        • Pwnstar
        • 6 years ago

        Ah, thank you.

        • gbcrush
        • 6 years ago

        I just awarded both of you +2 letters of transit!

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