A slow-burning ecosystem

The announcement of a Microkia partnership shook the twitterverse and tech sites  just before the trade's biggest conference of the year: the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona with the industry's big guns fighting to make the front page. After visiting CES, everyone thought it was the year of the tablet, and at Nokia, they have finally realised that the race for mobile share is not about making the smallest device, but the most capable. 

Stephen Elop

The man of the week has to be Nokia CEO Stephen Elop for his internal memo where he recognises the poor prospects of the Finnish handset maker with questionable literary figures. A burning platform? More of a sunken ship that Windows Phone 7 will try to give some credibility in the coming months. It only takes a Microsoft veteran to see in this partnership a solution for the biggest handset maker in the world.  

After the burning its Windows Mobile platform, the thinking heads at Redmond turned that pullout in one of the most promising success stories of the year. The Windows Phone 7 might actually be good and add something to an environment dominated by iOS, Android and don't forget about them, Blackberry. But is this all it takes to save Nokia from icy waters?
"Our competitors aren't taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem."

The new strategy will definitely give some fresh air to the saturated smartphone scene. As Elop states in his memo, it is all about ecosystems now and not about device market share anymore. He also notes that Apple has been successful at creating a closed system where developers land as the place to be. Microsoft has been working hard to get some of the big names to sign up for the WP7 launch along with an aggressive strategy to make development as pain free as possible. 

The last part of the puzzle is getting a reputable (?) brand to embrace the operating system and launch series of smartphones to increase its user base. For me this must be the only benefit Microsoft sees teaming up with Nokia: market presence around the world, proven distribution power and a voice negotiating deals with mobile operators globally. 

But will this be enough? Will an iPhone killer move masses, ditch carrier contracts and dump all those apps and games bought in the last four years? Imagine that in 2012 you could buy an amazing Microkia for under $100 - I want to see if they manage to fix Nokia chronicle slow pace and churn something before the end of the year. By the time it comes out, we would have spent a lot on software that won't run on the new platform. 
According to Admob, the average iPhone user purchases 2.6 paid apps a month. With all the apps and games bought, the actual hardware is just part of the experience. It is not only about forgetting about the piles of money threw into the App Store over the years. Until WP7 reaches the variety, quality standards and innovation thrive behind it, I'll have to stick to iOS. Would you?
Photograph: Manu Fernandez/AP via guardian.co.uk