Nokia may be entering the laptop business. In an interview this week, Nokia’s CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said, “We are looking very actively also at this opportunity.” His reasoning is sound: Mobile computing devices and communications devices are converging, and five years hence they may all fall into the same hybrid class.
Nokia has manufactured everything from tires to telecoms cables, TVs, aluminum, and even PCs before it settled on wireless devices. Now it’s the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile phones, having around a 37% market share globally in the fourth quarter of 2008. Stepping into the netbook arena would not be hard.
The company’s had plenty of success in designing and manufacturing hardware. But the operating system begs a different question. Nokia’s is experienced in creating micro OS’s for cellphones, and is a member of the Symbian foundation that’s busy developing that OS for future devices. But I’m not at all sure I’d go for a Nokia computer operating system–it’s a completely different and much more complex beast than what Nokia’s developed so far. A recent survey that classified Nokia cellphone owners as “handset simpletons” seems to imply that Nokia’s best when keeping the OS simple. But a notepad/netbook made by Nokia and running someone else’s OS could get very interesting.