It was revealed today that Nokia only managed to shift 7.4 million Lumia smartphones in the second quarter of 2013. While this is in some ways positive as it's a marked increase on the modest 5.6 million the Finnish firm shifted in Q1, it's still a massive issue when you consider how well other smartphone makers are doing. Take Samsung, with its seemingly unstoppable wave of Galaxy devices. The Galaxy S4 flagship managed to beat Nokia's quarterly Lumia sales in just one month, storming past the 10 million sales milestone a mere four weeks after launch.
What makes this particularly sad is that – like HTC and its stellar One smartphone – Nokia is making decent, revolutionary smartphones. Take, for example, the Lumia 925: the phone is absolutely full of custom Nokia services and technology that really makes the most of Windows Phone 8. These include an amazingly good rear camera, with a custom Carl Zeiss lens and a sixth glass camera element that make it the current top smartphone when it comes to imaging prowess. The 925 also has a slew of impressive Here location services.
Sure the Galaxy S4 has its own share of custom features, running Samsung's Touchwiz user interface, but most of these are superfluous, or simply don't work. Take, for example, Eye Scroll and Air Gesture. Both services sound cool on paper, with Eye Scroll making the phone automatically scroll down when you've finished reading a section of text, and Air Gesture letting you interact with the S4 without actually touching the display using Minority Report-style gestures. However, actually using them is a downright chore, with Eye Scroll taking forever to actually realise you've stopped reading and Air Gesture requiring your hand to be so close to the screen, it's all but pointless.
This, combined with the S4's pretty much untouched Galaxy S3-style design, makes the Samsung phone feel a little dull, especially when compared with Nokia's colourful wave of Lumia devices. Because of this, while the sales speak volumes in the world of business and we can't deny Samsung has done an amazing job creating Apple-level buzz around its devices, the low Lumia sales are slightly disheartening. Here's hoping Elop's optimistic promise rings true and the soon to arrive Nokia Lumia 1020 does something to change this.
By V3's Alastair Stevenson
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