What would you say to Nokia Africa?

On Friday I’ll be addressing some of the top business decision makers for Nokia in Africa. My goal is to shake them up a little, make them think deeply and differently about the African market.

Nokia in Africa - little innovation since the nokia 1100 flashlight on a phone

Nokia hasn’t truly innovated in Africa since they put a flashlight in a Nokia 1100 in 2003.

I’ve been asked to discuss my views on how the handset and mobile services business situation is developing, what the opportunities are in those areas and suggestions on how Nokia could lead in this market.

Therein lies the problem: I’m only one person with one opinion, they need to hear from others with different experiences.

What would you say?

Add yours in the comments below. The best will be brought to the Nokia executives attention:

Here are a couple from Twitter.

  • Top-end or low-end handsets, what does Nokia stand for here? (via Niti Bhan)
  • Innovate on the user experience for low-end handsets. (via Rombo)
  • Is Nokia serious about social impact, or is that just face paint?
  • Africa is ripe for experimental phones and financing models, what is new coming out of Africa first?

Don’t just think cheap handsets. What else would you do within business models and solutions?

60 thoughts on “What would you say to Nokia Africa?

  1. justinbryan

    Its great news for African people that nokia move to africa. I think nokia would be market leader in africa in forth coming year. Its good move by nokia

  2. Victor Miclovich

    Nokia has been doing work in Africa already… it is just relatively slow and seems to only come in short bursts. I recently started running a mobile applications lab with MIT and Nokia under the EPROM umbrella. But, looking at the history is this… EPROM started in 2006, there was some cool activity; a couple of universities jumped on the bandwaggon; a number of apps came and I think I recall SMSmedia came along around that time… however, it relaxed every 6 to 8 months… 2007, 2008 (almost nothing), 2009 (still not as active as 2006), 2010… almost nothing. I actually decided to set up my own lab, but because the EPROM curriculum seemed to fit perfectly with Africa’ s need of apps, I took it up and added a few of my own adjustments. Nokia never gave support until just a few weeks when the EPROM coordinator (founder), Nathan Eagle, got in touch with me and told me that NRC in Nairobi would be sending me a couple of phones my way.

    But, lets not just look at these big companies, lets look at ourselves, our universities and our own business or societies. Nokia, Google, and the rest can easily drop the money over to us. I’ve talk to a couple of folks and they in deed think ideas here are very fertile and can be taken upon. The key factor here is organization, organization, organization…, organization. (This kind of sounds like Balmer’s, “developers, developersdevelopers” yell… :D )
    Incubators need to be proactive… I teach my students that… an app does not need more than $1000 to build, you just need a few things to be successful

    An idea you are passionate about and that you willingly develop
    A team (it doesn’t have to be large)
    Build your product
    Talk about it (Have a site, use social networks, strike deals with network operators)
    Talk to big companies, talk to friends, make it large
    Create a user experience (this inherently creates a large userbase)
    Iteratively add more features to your app… please research the solution and how a particular need it addressed. A story is told of a Soviet aeronautic engineer who designed a magnificent plane. The test pilot came to take the machine for a quick spin in the air, but when the pilot entered the plane, he never took more than 4 minutes in it. He disembarked, walked up towards the engineer, shook his hand and congratulated him for building this perfect piece of machinery. But there was a “but” in his statement to the engineer: “…,but, if you can give me a third hand, I’ll gladly use the two that I have to steer the plane, and my third hand to pull the lever…”; the gist of this story is design things/applications that will work for the community.

    Well… if you have a good product, people will always follow, companies will invest in it, and life will be fun… good products change lives. Nokia will know that.. and it will provide more support… this is still the same with other companies. :) thanks.

  3. Abigail Ogwezzy-Ndisika

    Nokia should establish a factory in Nigeria because Nigeria is a big market. So, why should Nokia produce elsewhere and ship to Nigeria instead of producing in Nigeria? It should consider setting up a production factory in Nigeria in order to create employment for citizens of one of its largest markets.

  4. folabisunday

    i want Nokia to make their phone relatively cheap for the rural dwellers and should unlock their 3G enabled phone to work with african network. nokia should make it possible for people to trade in old phones for new ones. nokia should make their web browser to be more users friendly and install internal anti virus on their make and model especially phone that has web. security on phone should be upgraded to avoid stealing of phones

  5. Oby Pauline Ohiagu

    How far can Nokia Africa help reduce the unemployment level in Africa?

  6. Louis

    i am late to this post and figqure suggestions have already been taken. But here goes.

    i would like for Nokia to create a dock able phone, what i mean is that if i could take my cellphone and dock it into some sort cradle – the cradle could be connected to a monitor and keyboard and that would allow me to have a fully fledged computer to do those things that i cannot do on a cellphone

    Nokia already has an OS [Meego] for this and this should not be too difficult technically to accomplish.

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  9. theISANDAH

    Nokia should adopt a more African-like shape and colour for their phones. simplicity always wins in Africa, i can show u how.

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