Nokia may not be doing so hot in the smartphone market, but when it comes to feature phones they’re still kicking ass and taking names. The Finnish handset vendor has just announced that they’ve sold 1.5 billion feature phones running their proprietary S40 operating system. The 1.5 billionth device was purchased by Mayara Rodrigues, age 21, in São Paulo, Brazil. She picked up a Nokia Asha 303, one of Nokia’s newest feature phones that features both a touch screen and a QWERTY keyboard. In an interview with the BBC, Mary McDowell, Executive Vice President for Mobile Phones at Nokia, said: “The next billion [consumers] will not come from rural areas, but from big cities and the very young.”
We’d like to point out that Nokia has another low end operating system called Series 30 that runs on devices that can’t even connect to the internet. Think of something like the Nokia 100. It can do calls, it can do texts, it has a flashlight, and a calculator, but other than that … you’re not looking at much. How many of those sorts of devices has Nokia sold?
Anyway, the bigger question on our minds is what will happen to S40 in the future? Earlier this month we discovered that Nokia purchased a Norwegian company called “Smarter Phone” that licenses out a feature phone operating system meant for sub $75 devices. Will “Smarter Phone” replace S40, and if so then when is it going to happen? Will S40 be wiped from the face of the planet or will Nokia put it on devices that today run Series 30?
To make things even more complicated we also heard rumors that Nokia took the team that built Maemo/MeeGo and made them begin work on a new low end Linux based operating system called Meltemi. What’s that going to be all about?
Here’s hoping we get the answers to some of these questions next month at MWC.