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Things Nokia should be getting more credit for

NokiaNokia is the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile phones. Lately the company has had its thunder stolen by Apple’s iPhone and the plethora of Android devices flooding the market, especially in the fast-growing smartphone market.

In other words, Nokia is in a bit of trouble. However, considering how much flack the company has been getting lately in the tech press, we thought it would be nice to look back and give Nokia some credit for what they have accomplished in the past. Because it’s a past filled to the brim with innovation.

Here are a few things you may not know about Nokia’s history on the mobile market:

  • Nokia launched one of the world’s first “transportable” phones. It was the Mobira Talkman, in 1984, weighing a measly 11 lb (5 kg). A step up from a car phone.
  • Nokia launched the first handheld NMT mobile phone, the Mobira Cityman 900 (NMT was a standard preceding GSM.)
  • Nokia was one of the main creators of the GSM standard and of the hardware necessary to create GSM networks.
  • The first GSM phone call was made with a Nokia phone (a prototype), over a Nokia-supplied mobile network in 1991. Nokia then also launched the first commercial GSM phone, the Nokia 1011.
  • The world’s first satellite call was made using a Nokia phone, back in 1994.
  • Nokia was the first to ship mobile phones with a pre-installed game (Snake). The first one to come with Snake was the Nokia 6110.
  • The first mobile phone with Internet access was a Nokia phone, the Nokia 9000 Communicator. It was launched back in 1996.
  • Nokia pioneered many concepts now common in smartphones. The Nokia Communicator line, although they weren’t the first smartphones, still pioneered the concept and were the first smartphones with a proper operating system (GEOS).
  • Nokia launched the first mobile phone with a WAP browser, the Nokia 7110. It was launched in 1999.
  • Nokia had a Webkit-based web browser a full year before the first iPhone. It was on the S60 series. Nokia didn’t get much credit for it, and now people think mostly of Apple’s mobile Safari and its then revolutionary web browsing experience (which made Webkit such a popular option for mobile web browsers).
  • Nokia is the world’s largest digital camera manufacturer thanks to selling so many camera phones.
  • Nokia is the second-largest supplier of telecom equipment in the world (via Nokia Siemens Networks). You know, the parts that actually make it possible for you to make those phone calls in the first place…

You could also argue that Nokia has made it possible for a great deal of people in developing nations to access the Internet by providing a wide variety of affordable phones with web browsing capability. Although to be honest, it’s quite likely that some other manufacturer would have tried to fill that void if Nokia hadn’t. Still, it’s a good thing.

So, while Nokia may currently be having some issues in the smartphone segment, the company has done a ton of innovating in the past. Perhaps they’ll do it again. It may be harder for them now, though, considering Nokia has become a behemoth with over 131,000 employees (for perspective, Microsoft has 89,000, Apple has 49,000 and RIM has 14,000). Big things tend to change course slowly.

Data source: Wikipedia.

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