“It is the usability, stupid.”
In essence, Nokia keeps developing mobile phones, when younger generations do not care about a phone but about communications in an ample sense (IM, Facebook, web, etc) and multimedia (music, music , music, clips and music). And they do not want multimedia to be a poor media player added on a phone with not even a plug for a standard earbuds stereo jack.
Examples of usability for Nokia phones (and most traditional mobile phone vendors):
1) Why insist on a dialpad inherited from old telephones, when most calls are initiated by a click in the address book?
2) Why is the main input interface still based on a numeric keypad, when most of the inputs are actually text (SMS, URLs, IM, address book names,…)?
Blackberry got it right from the start, as any Blackberry user will confirm. This is THE device for corporate email. Easy to read and navigate through emails, easy to write with the keyboard, easy to search and file messages while wirelessly synchronizing with your inbox, calendar and address book on your laptop/server. Even Windows Mobile did a better job than Symbian in usability, phone stability problems and high prices aside.
iPhone has definitively raised the bar, and every one is expecting Android to follow the path, only with a wider hardware variety from the Open Handset Alliance vendors.
“The innovation […] is not that they let us do something new, but that they allow us to do what we already do better, more often, in more places and more quickly.” -Joshua Porter
Blackberry and iPhone definitively got it right.
Nokia keeps trying and now Comes with Music, to counter-attack the iPhone-iTunes duo. Will that be enough for music fans to choose an N81 over an iPhone? I doubt it. Nokia’s market share will be sustained by low cost phones, specially in Asian developing countries. (That assuming that Apple does not halve iPhone price next year into $99…)