Nokia's VP of Mobile: Using Android is like peeing in your pants for warmth

Analysts predict that in the near future, Google's Android OS will overtake both RIM and Apple in US smartphone market share. According to Business Insider and the latest data from comScore, Android's market share continues to climb at an astounding rate. In Q2 alone, Android's share in the US smartphone market has risen 5%. In the same timeframe, it seems that all other smartphone platforms have been in decline (Palm held steady). RIM, for example, lost 1.8%, while Apple lost 1.3%. Microsoft, who is busy prepping Windows Phone 7, lost 2.2% (this will likely turn around once the new platform is launched).

Android is clearly shaping up to be one of, if not the most, dominant smartphone OS in the world. Keeping that in mind, you'd think that a company like Nokia would want to jump on board in order to maintain their dominance in the market. However, in spite of the facts mentioned above, Nokia's outgoing VP of Mobile Solutions, Anssi Vanjoki, seems less than impressed with Android's success. According to Engadget, the Financial Times has quoted Vanjoki saying that Android only presents a short-term solution for what's needed by phone manufacturers. In painting a picture of what he means, Vanjoki compared phone manufactures that use Android to Finnish boys who "pee in their pants" to keep warm in the winter.

Despite what Vanjoki may think, companies like HTC would probably argue against such an analogy. Without Android, one could only guess where the little Taiwanese based company would be today. Their relationship with Google and the Android OS has turned them into one of the most promising and and dominant companies in today's smartphone market. Financial Times also notes that some analysts feel that if Android is on nearly every phone, users will feel like everything is the same. This, in turn, could cause companies to actually lose money. However, manufacturers like HTC and Motorola seem to be well aware of this. This is probably the main reason they are so adamant about slapping their own user interfaces onto the OS. This gives them their own "flavor" of Android and causes the average consumer to see it as its own platform.

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Agreed, what were they doing at Nokia corp? At bare minimum, they could have chosen to mimic Motorola. After almost drowning in the market, Motorola is once again on the upswing and wooing investors.

If using Android is like peeing in your pants Nokia must have sh*t in their pants when they saw how far behind in the mobile industry they have fallen to the ****ing phenomenon.

What a arrogantly stupid comment to make when his company is getting the pants beat off it in every corner of the planet. I mean if the Swiss want to settle for obsolescence, that's their prerogative.

Everyone here is quick to call the guy stupid, but I don't think he is stupid at all. He actually is thinking very well and close to reality...

His point being that using Android is hinging the success of your mobile product on a brand separate from your own and in no way controlled by you (as a company like Nokia). That can have some very damning effects on the company and the phone industry.

For the company you get the effect he said (instant warmth from pee is like instant sales from Android popularity) and all the downsides of that effect (the loss of high margins as the phone turns into a mere commodity or the cold once the pee cools down as he put it). Keep in mind that mobile phone makers (well the smartphone variety) generally enjoy very hefty margins.

If everyone is buying "Android" then as an OEM it becomes harder and harder to differentiate yourself. People aren't buying "HTC" or "Samsung" as they are identical except a cosmetic facelift and a few installed applications; they are buying Android. The best example would be to look at the PC market which is centered around one OS, Windows. PC makers are in a constant race to the bottom on mainly price since the features of the device are near identical and the OS is identical between them and their competitors.

He is reading the tea leaves. We enjoy OSs like Android or Windows Mobile, but you can't enjoy them if you are an OEM. You make the most money running custom homegrown software on your own device (which is why the Mac Book Pro can cost near 2x that for a PC).

The only thing these comments show is how little about business the tech crowd here knows and understands.

Frazell Thomas said,
Everyone here is quick to call the guy stupid, but I don't think he is stupid at all. He actually is thinking very well and close to reality...

His point being that using Android is hinging the success of your mobile product on a brand separate from your own and in no way controlled by you (as a company like Nokia). That can have some very damning effects on the company and the phone industry.

For the company you get the effect he said (instant warmth from pee is like instant sales from Android popularity) and all the downsides of that effect (the loss of high margins as the phone turns into a mere commodity or the cold once the pee cools down as he put it). Keep in mind that mobile phone makers (well the smartphone variety) generally enjoy very hefty margins.

If everyone is buying "Android" then as an OEM it becomes harder and harder to differentiate yourself. People aren't buying "HTC" or "Samsung" as they are identical except a cosmetic facelift and a few installed applications; they are buying Android. The best example would be to look at the PC market which is centered around one OS, Windows. PC makers are in a constant race to the bottom on mainly price since the features of the device are near identical and the OS is identical between them and their competitors.

He is reading the tea leaves. We enjoy OSs like Android or Windows Mobile, but you can't enjoy them if you are an OEM. You make the most money running custom homegrown software on your own device (which is why the Mac Book Pro can cost near 2x that for a PC).

The only thing these comments show is how little about business the tech crowd here knows and understands.


+1

You just might be spot on, and you scared me a little bit. You're encouraging the idea that Android could drive the smart phone industry to be more PC-like, even in terms of hardware configuration. That is to say, modular.

But buying custom chassis and individual parts to build your own smartphone would be a failure of a business, since no hand-built computer can really stand the brutal test of durability phones put up with.

On the bright side, today's smartphone form factor is not the sort of thing that'll stick around. It's too specialized, and limits the direction innovation can take hardware. With the advent of flexible display tech, new wireless tech, and more, to think we're always going to be holding candybars is absurd.

Josie, I wasn't attempting to convey the future of the mobile market to be 1:1 with the PC market (modular chassis with current part suppliers marketing direct to consumers). I think there will always be an OEM in the middle between the consumer and the carrier due to strict FCC (and similar governments elsewhere) & Carrier testing and approval requirements.

What I was attempting to convey was the hallowing out of the computer industry. If you look at the PC side of the ocean you'll see a dozen or more OEMs making computers of almost every form factor imaginable with very little room for differentiation. One OEM shoves a super fast new Intel chip into their product and their competitor does as well, just as fast.

They are left with the fight on price. They have some room for differentiation in customer service or similar "niceties" due to their direct touch with consumers, but those aren't major industry driving forces. The PC is a commodity. You sell the most at the lowest prices and support largely doesn't matter (except to a niche market segment). That is why HP is the top PC OEM in the world. They can do it at very low cost.

The Phone market can't handle such hallowing out as well (arguably the PC market hasn't handled it well either). OEMs will be forced into a deeper obscurity than PC manufacturers without some drastic regulatory overhauls (which will more than likely never happen). If Android, or any other non-OEM made OS, continues to be the fastest area of growth the phone market has to prepare for a huge price war soon - good for us, but really bad for them.

Consumers will always pick their smartphone based on OS; be it flashy or functional or something else they will pick based on OS. The OEM will be left in a situation where they can't market directly to their consumers. They will always be standing behind a carrier who is marketing a variety of devices with the same OS and near identical features (feature sets will always be similar due to the shared OS nature). Forcing their product into near commodity status.

The consumer's buying decision when he gets to the store for a phone becomes: "Does it run X? Great, how much is it?"

That is VERY bad for OEMs like HTC. They have survived so long on their super high margins. Those were doable when they were pretty much the only Windows Mobile OEM. In the new world they don't have the same kind of security as Nokia or Samsung. They can't survive a serious price war...

Sorry for the length of the reply, but I couldn't really convey my point in a shorter form.

Chicane-UK said,
Haven't owned a Nokia phone for a few years now. Can't say I'm missing them exactly. Neither is the SmartPhone market it seems.

I still know more than enough people who own a Nokia.

In Q2 alone, Android's share in the US smartphone market has risen 5%. In the same timeframe, it seems that all other smartphone platforms have been in decline (Palm held steady). RIM, for example, lost 1.8%, while Apple lost 1.3%. Microsoft, who is busy prepping Windows Phone 7, lost 2.2% (this will likely turn around once the new platform is launched).

Of course you never realized that most Nokias aren't sold in America right? So if you want to show a comparison, you would actually use a worldwide chart.
However, in spite of the facts mentioned above, Nokia CEO, Anssi Vanjoki, seems less than impressed with Android's success.

Well since we're talking about facts...

Nokia's CEO is Stephen Elop. Anssi Vanjoki is Executive Vice President & General Manager, Mobile Solutions.

I was a Nokia own for 9 1/2 years before I bought a HTC Desire and could honestly say I have never been more happy with a phone, I hopped that Nokia would be able to sort themselves out in time and maybe I would go back to them but after stunts like these that ain't going to happen now.

Wouldn't be so bad if they actually had some decent phones worth paying the money for on the market.

Android is super cool. Symbian pretty much suck !!! Itz only a matter of time they'll survive if they go with symbian. Symbian WAS great once upon a time but not any more.

Setnom said,
Let's hope MeeGo can be as good as Android. My N900 will be waiting for it next month.

I perfer the N9

Nokia is dying out. So this is like they are in convulsions already - throwing insults on their opponents to right and left because they simply don't know what else to do. They don't know how to make proper device, they don't know how to make proper services. It will slowly die out in 3-4 years and nothing will help.

Yeah and for me using Symbian is like constantly puking... Oh well, everyone can have their own opinions^^

Vanjoki is not and has never been CEO of Nokia. He's the departing head of Nokia's device unit, and is likely a bit bitter about stuff - not least about not being promoted to CEO.

MickeyWeir said,
Vanjoki is not and has never been CEO of Nokia. He's the departing head of Nokia's device unit, and is likely a bit bitter about stuff - not least about not being promoted to CEO.

You are correct. He is the outgoing VP of Mobile Solutions. Another one of our users also pointed this out. Thank you. I have fixed the post.

I think he means if you pee in your pants when its cold you get some warmth but eventually the heat leaves and the problem is just as bad as before (if not worse!) so he's saying Android is a stop-gap solution to a bigger need in the mobile industry... I think...

Muessig said,
I think he means if you pee in your pants when its cold you get some warmth but eventually the heat leaves and the problem is just as bad as before (if not worse!) so he's saying Android is a stop-gap solution to a bigger need in the mobile industry... I think...

Correct, it's a common phrase in scandinavia.

That has to be the funniest comparison I've heard in a while.
Deeply stupid and not one bit true. I'd rather have a proper OS on my phone, rather than the crap that Nokia provide!

abysal said,
I haven't seen any one I know use a Nokia phone for the past 2 years...

On a bus full of people, most use Nokia phones.

This is different all over the world.

abysal said,
I haven't seen any one I know use a Nokia phone for the past 2 years...

my guess you live in north america where nokia has lost a lot of its share. goto asia or europe and nokia is widely used.

abysal said,
I haven't seen any one I know use a Nokia phone for the past 2 years...

Nokia is more popular in asisan markets. They are like cheap candies.

Being an HTC Legend and iPod touch owner myself I was pleasantly surprised by how well Android functioned. However the thing I can't stand is how the HTC Legend still hasn't been updated to Android 2.2 while my 2008 iPod touch runs iOS 4.1 the second it came out.

The whole update fragmentation has to stop. But I'm not sure if that will happen anytime soon. I know its not (entirely) Googles fault, however it is fairly frustrating. If things don't improve in this department my next phone might not be an Android one.

.Neo said,
Being an HTC Legend and iPod touch owner myself I was pleasantly surprised by how well Android functioned. However the thing I can't stand is how the HTC Legend still hasn't been updated to Android 2.2 while my 2008 iPod touch runs iOS 4.1 the second it came out.

The whole update fragmentation has to stop. But I'm not sure if that will happen anytime soon. I know its not (entirely) Googles fault, however it is fairly frustrating. If things don't improve in this department my next phone might not be an Android one.

The market Android is letting down is the one which is tech-aware enough to care about software updates but not comfortable with rooting their phone and using a custom ROM. Tech-ignorant consumers don't generally care about software updates, and geeks are generally happy to use a ROM they found in the wilds of the Interweb, but these slow updates will inevitably annoy that sizeable middle group.

It should be noted that comparing Android to iOS on this issue isn't really fair, given how few devices Apple has to develop for and test on compared to manufacturers using Android - particularly HTC, who have produced a huge number in a remarkably short time. You're right though, that a recent phone like the Legend shouldn't have this problem, and the blame for this lies squarely with HTC.

tomjol said,
It should be noted that comparing Android to iOS on this issue isn't really fair, given how few devices Apple has to develop for and test on compared to manufacturers using Android - particularly HTC, who have produced a huge number in a remarkably short time. You're right though, that a recent phone like the Legend shouldn't have this problem, and the blame for this lies squarely with HTC.

If HTC can't keep up with their own amount of devices they shouldn't release so many different types. It's a problem they create themselves, so how exactly isn't is fair to hold them responsible for that? HTC isn't a victim here of something beyond their control.

I don't feel like rooting my device, run some makeshift Android version from someone I don't know and loose my warrantee in the event something goes wrong.

.Neo said,

If HTC can't keep up with their own amount of devices they shouldn't release so many different types. It's a problem they create themselves, so how exactly isn't is fair to hold them responsible for that? HTC isn't a victim here of something beyond their control.

I don't feel like rooting my device, run some makeshift Android version from someone I don't know and loose my warrantee in the event something goes wrong.


If you had actually tried a custom version from someone you would realize it's not some teenage wannabee sitting at home coding something for fun that's making the custom ROM's. They are far more superior to the stock ROM's you see these days.

Also, you don't loose any warranty - don't let them scare you.
I've known alot of people with rooted phones deliver them in for warranty.

tomjol said,

The market Android is letting down is the one which is tech-aware enough to care about software updates but not comfortable with rooting their phone and using a custom ROM.

If they are not comfortable to root, they are not that tech aware. Seriously, When a ROM came out for the Droid Incredible that was Froyo based, I quickly jumped to get it.

.Neo said,
The whole update fragmentation has to stop. But I'm not sure if that will happen anytime soon. I know its not (entirely) Googles fault, however it is fairly frustrating. If things don't improve in this department my next phone might not be an Android one.

This is not Google's fault. It is up to the manufacturer of the phone to develop and then it is up to the carrier to distribute it. If they don't like what they see, the carrier tells the manufacturer to redo it. Anyone with an Android or a Blackberry can tell you that.

Alastyr said,

If you had actually tried a custom version from someone you would realize it's not some teenage wannabee sitting at home coding something for fun that's making the custom ROM's. They are far more superior to the stock ROM's you see these days.

That doesn't change the fact I don't want to fiddle around with stuff I don't fully understand. You don't see me messing around with custom and hacked Windows, Mac OS X and iOS versions either. I never needed to resort to anything like it with any Mac, PC, iPod or phone I've used before so why should I now? It's really simple, next time around I simply won't be buying a HTC phone anymore unless they address this issue.

Also, I read into the subject and with pretty much every custom Legend rom you'll end up loosing some functionality left or right. The FM radio as an example.

Alastyr said,
Also, you don't loose any warranty - don't let them scare you.
I've known alot of people with rooted phones deliver them in for warranty.

I personally know people who did run into problems when turing in a bricked phone because they messed around with its firmware.

.Neo said,

That doesn't change the fact I don't want to fiddle around with stuff I don't fully understand. You don't see me messing around with custom and hacked Windows, Mac OS X and iOS versions either. I never needed to resort to anything like it with any Mac, PC, iPod or phone I've used before so why should I now? It's really simple, next time around I simply won't be buying a HTC phone anymore unless they address this issue.

Also, I read into the subject and with pretty much every custom Legend rom you'll end up loosing some functionality left or right. The FM radio as an example.

I personally know people who did run into problems when turing in a bricked phone because they messed around with its firmware.

Unless you flash the opposite band radio/bootloader (CDMA/GSM) you can't really brick an HTC phone.

tomjol said,

The market Android is letting down is the one which is tech-aware enough to care about software updates but not comfortable with rooting their phone and using a custom ROM. Tech-ignorant consumers don't generally care about software updates, and geeks are generally happy to use a ROM they found in the wilds of the Interweb, but these slow updates will inevitably annoy that sizeable middle group.

It should be noted that comparing Android to iOS on this issue isn't really fair, given how few devices Apple has to develop for and test on compared to manufacturers using Android - particularly HTC, who have produced a huge number in a remarkably short time. You're right though, that a recent phone like the Legend shouldn't have this problem, and the blame for this lies squarely with HTC.

It doesn't help that most Android phones don't see very good custom firmware, and many of those that do, suffer buggy builds from hackers who are still figuring out the hardware. There's this prevailing attitude that custom ROMs are, by default, superior to stock, but this is not always the case, and is in fact rarely the case in terms of stability.

To think you can have the newest version of Android before your carrier distributes it just by finding the right hacking forum is delusional. It's very much a roll of the dice.

I'm not looking forward to HTC's hypercustomized WinPhone7 layout. I'm very concerned that we'll see an Android-esque problem where 'everyone else' gets new releases while HTC owners sit on their thumbs waiting for the HTC widgets to get updated before they get any love, all the while insisting their HTC handhelds are superior because they're so easily hacked.

It never occurs to them that perhaps HTC handhelds are INFERIOR because they HAVE to be hacked to be any good.

LiquidSolstice said,
Unless you flash the opposite band radio/bootloader (CDMA/GSM) you can't really brick an HTC phone.

Yet it does happen. Bricking the phone isn't really one of my worries though. I don't feel like giving up features like the Sense UI.

.Neo said,

Yet it does happen. Bricking the phone isn't really one of my worries though. I don't feel like giving up features like the Sense UI.

Sense UI doesn't really offer much that you can't achieve with LauncherPro, Beautiful Widgets and a skin. If a collection of pretty widgets is all that stands between you and dozens of other improved features, consider the obstacle overcome.

It isn't 2009's Android anymore.

.Neo said,
Being an HTC Legend and iPod touch owner myself I was pleasantly surprised by how well Android functioned. However the thing I can't stand is how the HTC Legend still hasn't been updated to Android 2.2 while my 2008 iPod touch runs iOS 4.1 the second it came out.

The whole update fragmentation has to stop. But I'm not sure if that will happen anytime soon. I know its not (entirely) Googles fault, however it is fairly frustrating. If things don't improve in this department my next phone might not be an Android one.

Wy does it need updating? Fact - Android 1.6 does more than an iPhone using iOS3. An Adnroid phone with 2.1 does far more than an iPhone running any version of iOS4.x.

zuczek said,
Using Symbian is like...

Do note that Symbian is now their low-end/mid-end phones.

All future high-end phones will come with MeeGo.

zuczek said,
Using Symbian is like...

The astronauts, whom are forced to recycle their own urine during extended trips in space. I would much rather prefer the role of one of the Finnish Boys. Now, it is highly probable that the unwillingness to embrace the Android platform, may have actually nudged Nokia's outgoing VP of Mobile Solutions, Anssi Vanjoki out of the door.

So android is akin to peeing in your pants... would that mean Apple is akin to someone else peeing in your pants? And Nokia is having someone crap on your face as well I guess....

shakey said,
So android is akin to peeing in your pants... would that mean Apple is akin to someone else peeing in your pants? And Nokia is having someone crap on your face as well I guess....

Yes, Apple is peeing on everyone out there. Way to bring up Apple on unrelated news! You win troll of the month.

shakey said,
So android is akin to peeing in your pants... would that mean Apple is akin to someone else peeing in your pants? And Nokia is having someone crap on your face as well I guess....

Apple is akin to someone else peeing in your pants and charging you for it. It's called the iPee.

Shadrack said,
Yes, Apple is peeing on everyone out there. Way to bring up Apple on unrelated news! You win troll of the month.

Not entirely unrelated. Apple was mentioned, if only briefly, in the article. He was just extending the comment that Vanjoki made.

What the....?? I'm not even sure I really understand what he means by "Finnish boys who "pee in their pants" to keep warm in the winter."

SX86 said,
What the....?? I'm not even sure I really understand what he means by "Finnish boys who "pee in their pants" to keep warm in the winter."

I know I do not what to understand this...

NeoRaZor said,

I know I do not what to understand this...


When you pee in your pants you get instant warmth, but when the warmth is gone it's gonna get alot colder from having wet pants.

Alastyr said,

When you pee in your pants you get instant warmth, but when the warmth is gone it's gonna get alot colder from having wet pants.
Correct. That's probably what he meant to say so emphatically - "Android is a short term solution" - although nobody in their right mind would agree.

SX86 said,
What the....?? I'm not even sure I really understand what he means by "Finnish boys who "pee in their pants" to keep warm in the winter."

Nokia are Finnish if that helps

Calum said,
How silly. Android is a fantastic operating system.

hahahaha...Nokia CEO did that...don worry....we don't have that bad habit...go to doctor MR CEO.