Where Nokia remains king

Nokia phones. Remember your favorite model?

The gadget world has officially declared Nokia as a dead brand.

And rightfully so as it has been, officially, renamed Microsoft Mobile after its new owners deemed it as their now serious bet in the smartphone arena against the worldwide leaders Apple and Samsung.

But was the move the right thing to do?

A lot have doubts if the Microsoft brand can very well surge ahead in the smartphone space, given its own problems in several fronts — particularly in the closer heap of devices called Microsoft Surface, which has been lagging behind against the more prominent competing tablet brands.

However, keeping a Nokia-branded phone can likewise churn out difficulties in the market—given its closer association to entry-level phones, instead of the full featured, do-all-you-can smartphones, which have since dominated the market.

But still, there is something about Nokia you can’t just throw away. It’s like having a first love who’d say goodbye — a sentimental connection one can’t simply forget.

When people heard of the news of its demise, people were quick to respond: “Thanks for the memories,” “:-(“, “Goodbye to the phone who made the world closer, smaller, and a lot cooler.” While it was just a simple name-change, it was like the end of an era.

But no, the Philippines just can’t move on. Even with the rise of smartphone ownership in this part of the world, Filipinos won’t let go of the past. And, as Apple and Samsung might have lorded it over, with the emergence of Philippine brands (but not necessarily Philippine-made), such as MyPhone and Cherry Mobile, the trend says it all.

Nokia is still number 1, the most preferred brand in the Philippines.

According to a recent survey by the Boston-based mobile technology firm Jana, Nokia still captures a sizeable market in the Philippines, landing on top of the heap at 28 percent as against Samsung’s 24 percent. Apple wasn’t even in the top 5, which included Cherry Mobile (17 percent), Sony (9 percent), and MyPhone (4 percent).

Nokia Lumia

This means Filipinos aren’t still prepared to let go of their Nokia phones, even if other brands are continuing their splurge in the market. Yes, it shows a sort of sentimental value most of us have. The study, however, noted that Nokia’s leadership has immensely decreased in recent years from a period of about seven to eight years ago when we only knew this one phone to make an urgent call or send an SMS.

During this time, no one could even come close—even with the entry of such names as Sony Ericsson (now, only as Sony), Blackberry, even the Apple iPhone, which has been positioned as a luxury feature smartphone in its early years and tied to an exclusive provider and only offered via postpaid. The length and breadth of the Filipino masses always had a Nokia — from a country club shareholder playing golf in Wack Wack to a cigarette vendor plying the rustic Quiapo streets. It was definitely the only brand we knew.

But since then, the marketing muscle and technical savvy of Samsung slowly ate that share away, and is continuing to do so with its mighty Galaxy line. Apple may soon enter the mass market with more accessible, price-friendly iPhone variants, opening up to more local providers and more flexible plans that are light to the pocket.

As such, even in the Philippines, where Nokia is king, the writing is in the wall. And, thanks to Microsoft, it has nailed and sealed its fate.