U.S vs. E.U. / iPhone vs. Nokia

I have been interested in truly open developer friendly phones with the real capacity to support interesting applications since the announcement of the OpenMoko open source phone project. This is about a year and a half ago.

Since that time, I have discussed and commented a lot about phones, and the various players, and one thing has become incredibly clear. There is a huge divide between Europe and the US. Europe loves Nokia. They have 40% world wide market share, and almost none of that comes from the states. This is particularly true in smart phones, where none of the top of the line Nokia phones are available through carrier deals.

What all this means is that Europe loves Nokia, and we in the U.S. are relatively unfamiliar.

I am not a Nokia user, but I am familiar with the OS in the same way as I am familiar with the iPhone, which is to say as someone who has read and discussed a lot about the platform and played with one, but does not own one.

But it is clear to me that the iPhone, despite its failings relating to background processing and other complaints, is a far better platform than the Nokia’s Phones and Symbian OS. But don’t tell that to a Nokia user. I posted a comment on Engadget about the risk that Nokia was under regarding the competitive threat of iPhone and other software focused companies, and was savaged by European Nokia zealots. People bring all of their nationalistic or pro continent baggage and are unable to engage in rational discussion about the issue. Its very much like criticizing Apple. There is a sizable contingent of people that have no interest in hearing anything negative about them. And they are similarly aggressive and vocal.

And so I wonder whether what all this means is that Nokia will be viewed in Europe as a European company, and as such more worthy by continent partisans. I don’t believe those of us in America like Apple products because they are American. After all, Microsoft is American as well. But for Nokia, there is no other European competitor and so, in many respects the zealous support may reflect a certain Pan European anti-Americanism.

As this battle gets more heated and Nokia becomes more fully engaged in building their next generation platform, it will be interesting to see how these tensions play out.