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Beyond the Courts, Nokia's Revenge against Apple begins in 2017 with all-new Smartphones to Hit Apple on Price



Yesterday Patently Apple posted a report titled "Politics and the Chinese Smartphone Invasion into the U.S could Cause some Havoc for both Samsung and Apple in 2017." The report noted that Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi at minimum were scheduled to land in the U.S. market in early 2017 and that between them and Google's own Pixel smartphone gathering steam in the New Year would eventually hurt Samsung's market share in the U.S. Today we're learning that some of that havoc may be coming Apple's way too with Nokia reentering the smartphone market with high-end specs and lowball pricing that could eventually put pressure on Apple's pricing model.


In yesterday's report I had noted that it would be great if Apple had a new 5" iPhone model priced a little sharper to appeal to emerging markets such as India and especially Indonesia. A new rumor surfacing today from Japan's Mac Okatara reveals that Apple may in fact introduce a new 5" iPhone with a vertical dual lens camera system. While Okatara doesn't always get rumors right, they did get Apple dropping the iPhone's headphone jack and the new glossy black iPhone 7 model right .


Earlier this month Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple's is Entering Indonesia in 2017, one of the Top Emerging Markets with a Massive Growing Middle Class." In that report I noted that "At present, the current smartphone players in the top five chart are seemingly focused on the lower to mid-end of the market with prices in the $250-$300 and the $100-$200 tiers, none of which Apple participates in. Smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy J7 ($230), Oppo F1s ($235) and the ASUS Zenphone Selfie ($315 aprox) are the hot sellers. All three of these smartphones offer a 5.5" 1080p display at prices lower than Apple's entry 4" iPhone SE which starts at $400 with half the storage.


While Apple hasn't exhausted tapping into the upper middle class markets around the world just yet, in order to sustain market growth may require Apple to get a little more serious about the top end of the middle-tier of smartphones that are offering tempting specs for those just entering the market. The standard is quickly becoming 5" or 5.5" displays, not 4" as Apple's iPhone SE.


If you've been paying attention to the news lately, then you're likely aware that Apple sued Acacia Research for being in a conspiracy with Nokia against them. Nokia responded within 24 hours hitting Apple with a series of patent infringement lawsuits (one, two and more) around the world.


So on one hand Nokia is out to sue Apple for everything it can and continually bury Apple in patent infringement lawsuits for as far as the eye could see, even suing Apple for using technology found in supplier parts like those from Qualcomm. They want to squeeze every penny that they can out of Apple for getting run over by the iPhone. Nokia sold their phone business to Microsoft who got killed taking on that garbage brand and technology no one apparently wanted with an OS from hell.


On the other side of the equation Nokia is coming back to the phone market under HMD, the new home for Nokia phones.


According to a new report published earlier today, "Finland-based HMD Global is expected to announce its first Nokia-branded smartphones in February 2017 at Mobile World Congress (MWC), and has been cooperating with supply chain makers in Taiwan to develop four more models for launch in the second and third quarters of 2017, according to industry sources.


The four new models will have display sizes ranging from 5.0 to 5.7-inch at WQHD or Full HD resolutions, said the sources, adding that panel suppliers will include LG Display, Century Technology (CTC) and Innolux, and that FIH Mobile will serve as production partner.


The first Nokia smartphone to be presented by HMD at MWC is likely to be the Nokia DIC, which will be available in two versions, depending on the amount of memory and display size, according to a Chinese-language report.


The higher-priced version of the two variants will cost US$200, and come with 3GB of RAM and a 5.5-inch Full HD (1080p) display. The cheaper version is to cost US$150, packed with 2GB RAM and a 5-inch Full HD display, said the report.


Most of Apple's top competitors and now Nokia are making 5" the smallest display size for consumers and 5.5" models at super economical pricing like $50 more. So the rumor of Apple bringing a new 5" model is interesting – even though, despite all hope, Apple will likely price it out of reach for most consumers in emerging markets.


When the entire smartphone industry is raising the specifications bar while lowering the prices of the mid-tier range, at some point consumers won't be able to be tempted by an iPhone with smaller displays at double, triple and quadruple prices.


At the end of the day, smartphone players around the world are shifting their war plans against Apple and it's beginning to work in China. But we now have to acknowledge that Nokia's game plan is not only to sue Apple on an ongoing basis until they pound them into submission, they're now reentering the smartphone market with high-end specs and dirt low pricing to hurt Apple. No, to kill Apple.


Apple noted in their most recent lawsuit against Acacia Research that "As Nokia's CEO had announced to employees the previous year, Nokia was standing on "a burning platform." Unable to compete with innovative companies such as Apple—which had developed a revolutionary hardware and software platform—Nokia quickly transformed itself. It changed from a company focused on supplying cell phones and other consumer products to a company bent on exploiting the patents that remain from its years as a successful cell phone supplier. In its changed form, Nokia has sought to extract exorbitant patent royalties from Apple and other cell phone makers, and Acacia and Conversant have been its willing conspirators to that end."


Nokia is going to make Apple eat their words that they were unable to compete with innovative companies like Apple. They're going to hammer them on patent fees and lowball the market on price to help turn the tide on Apple where high consumer pricing will no longer be tolerated, forcing Apple to lower prices or continue to slide to the 4 or 5% market share point; a point where developers will begin to think twice about developing for iOS.


Will Nokia's revengeful plan succeed or will Apple continually outsmart them so that the world will watch Nokia fail for a second time in history? The war has begun and it's now going to go far beyond just battling it out in the courts over patent fees. In 2017, Nokia is taking their battle to Apple in the marketplace directly. Their phones will likely debut in emerging markets like China and India first so as to build up mass production before turning their attention to the U.S. This could get nasty very quickly. 


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