10 Nasty Nokias Show Why They're In So Much Trouble

Old NokiasRemember these? Click here to flip through 10 iconic old Nokias →

In its early years, Nokia was an innovator — the company that became an intimate part of hundreds of millions of peoples’ lives through their mobile phones.But the company has recently slacked off, and most of the innovation in the mobile industry is coming from the likes of Apple and Google in Silicon Valley.

So Nokia’s board is now reportedly looking at replacing Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo with an outsider, and has already interviewed two Americans.

Whoever becomes Nokia’s next CEO is going to have to lead the company forward — and quickly! — especially in the fields of mobile software, platforms, and smartphones. Otherwise, Nokia could wind up stuck only at the low margin, low end of the industry — not where it wants to be.

The decision may ultimately include giving up on some of Nokia’s home-baked OSes and joining up with Google’s Android platform, like Motorola is doing, or Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform.

But first things first — Nokia first has to hire someone.

Meanwhile, we’ve put together a quick history lesson featuring some of Nokia’s greatest hits and biggest flops. These are the memorable old Nokia phones over the years than its new CEO is going to have to do better than.

The Nokia 5110 (or 5190 in North America)

This one was famous for its removable plastic faceplate, which came in hundreds/thousands of different designs.

Personal note: This was my first mobile phone in 1999 (on the old AT&T Wireless) and was the first and last Nokia phone I've ever owned.

These small Nokias were all the rage in the early 21st Century as most of our friends got their first mobile phones.

But as Nokia's rivals caught up, Nokia was slow to feed the U.S. market things it wanted like colour displays, cameras, flip-style phones, etc.

The N-Gage was Nokia's failed entry into mobile gaming

Nokia was way ahead of the likes of Apple when it decided (in 2003) to enter the mobile gaming market, challenging the likes of Nintendo and Sony.

It didn't work for several reasons, including bad button design, high prices, and weak game selection.

The Nokia 3650 came at a time when the company was experimenting with alternative hardware designs. The rotary look obviously didn't become a trend.

Bucheron for Vertu Cobra: This $310,000 jewel-encrusted phone was made by Nokia's Vertu subsidiary. Maybe OK to do as a side project, but these are *not* the high-end phones that Nokia should be focusing on.

The E62 was Nokia's BlackBerry lookalike when it was fashionable to be a BlackBerry lookalike

Here, Steve Jobs is talking trash about the 'bottom 40' -- their plastic keyboards -- while introducing the iPhone for the first time in 2007.

The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic was Nokia's first obvious response to the iPhone

After all, it looked like that iPhone. And it had a touchscreen.

And it actually sold decently -- over 8 million by November, 2009.

But it didn't start any revolutions.

The Nokia N8 is the company's newest high-end smartphone, and its list of features is solid.

But the OS it's running on -- Symbian -- is a lame-duck platform for these sorts of devices, as Nokia shifts its focus to 'MeeGo.'

So this probably isn't going to set the world on fire -- it's already old before it even launches.

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