Nokia Dumps VoIP (Update)
Yesterday I wrote a post entitled, “Nokia Dumps VoIP” that highlighted the fact that Nokia had withheld the native Nokia SIP client, the one which has been present in the bulk of Nokia’s previous models, in two upcoming N series phones, the N78 and the N96. Apparently my focus on the fact that Nokia was dumping VoIP on these models struck a cord with Nokia’s PR firm, Communicano, as I was asked to more clearly present the fact surrounding this news.
Since I respect Andy and his team I would like to clearly present the facts from Nokia here, as well as my thoughts and some additional commentary from others within the space about this announcement so that you be the judge on what is really happening here.
Let’s start with what Nokia says:
- “Nokia Nseries is commited VoIP services as part of its offering. That is why we have included SIP stack and improved the developer VoIP offering in S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2 by enhancing the VoIP APIs to improve the call quality, as an example.”
- Nokia follows with, “A Nokia VoIP client is not included with the Nokia N78 and the Nokia N96 and VoIP solutions based on this particular client such as Gizmo will not work. However, Forum Nokia will cooperate with third-party developers to support them in porting their applications from S60 3.0/3.1 releases to S60 3.2. One example is Fring, whose popular application will be offered via Nokia’s Download! service for the Nokia N96.”
What does this mean?
- Nokia has improved their SIP stack and improved the develop offering for S60 3.2 operating system. This means that the programmers get a new toy to play with, but most regular cellular users aren’t really interested in SIP stack improvements and API’s. Sure, call quality may improve if a developer takes advantage of it and delivers it to us, but at face value this means little to regular users.
- Two of their new models do not have the native VoIP client. This would signal that Nokia has given in to pressures from carriers as it relates to VoIP enabled devices. Carriers do not want VoIP – it steals their minutes. This directly impacts regular users, as the N series is design with the consumer in mind (the E series is a Enterprise lvel play).
- Nokia is making it harder for Mobile VoIP providers as they will now have to port their applications from one release to another. While they may be assisting them, they have still placed a hurdle in front of them.
- Nokia isn’t getting rid of VoIP completely, but in dumping it for two new models, it does send mixed messages.
What are others saying?
- From GigaOm, “Truphone isn’t waiting around for Nokia to do something. A company spokesman told us: “From Truphone’s perspective Nokia has removed the VoIP client from all the N-Series phones for the planned future. We are putting in a replacement client functionality so that existing customers are not orphaned.”
- From JKOnTheRun, “It would seem to me that Nokia is bowing to some pressure from the carriers as there is seldom a reason to remove abilities that you already have. This probably won’t surprise many but it caught me unawares as I thought Nokia was above carrier pressure.”
None of this bodes well for Nokia and reminds me of something Seth Godin writes about telling a story,
“A great story is true. Not necessarily because it’s factual, but because it’s consistent and authentic. Consumers are too good at sniffing out inconsistencies for a marketer to get away with a story that’s just slapped on.”
This is the real story here – Nokia’s story has some inconsistencies and folks are merely pointing it out.
When Nokia decided to tell the story of open standards and VoIP, it made a commitment to ensure that the facts back up that story at every turn. Although Nokia hasn’t completely turned their back on VoIP, this release is not consistent with the story they have been telling of late.
When a company like Truphone, who I know works with Nokia, states they believe Nokia is dropping VoIP from their N series line completely, it tells me that regardless of what their intention was, Nokia’s message here was not consistent with what we have all come to expect and thus why folks are stating that it looks like Nokia is dumping VoIP.