Every once in a while I go "bottom fishing," in this case buying some shares of Nokia (NOK). Hey, I was inspired, okay? I saw these images of something called the Nokia 888.
Here's the design concept (from SmashingMagazine):
It's kind of an iPhone meets Gumby sort of a thing -- designed with a form function that's adaptable to how you want to "wear" it. You can clip it to your pocket or wear it around your wrist. (See a video of the concept here)
Unfortunately, as it turns out, the Nokia 888 is not be, at least not yet.
This was merely a design concept created by designer Tamer Nakisci back in 2005 - well before the iPhone came out. And Nokia didn't specifically commission this design. It just happened to be the concept that won Nokia's Benelux Design Contest back then.
As Engadget reported more than 6 years ago, "we're not going to see this in stores anytime soon." Evidently we need liquid batteries, flexible OLED displays, and some inkjet-printed circuit boards to make something like this work and we'd be "almost there."
In the end, of course, Nokia's losing the smartphone market big time. Assuming technology could even exist for a flexible, wearable phone like the now-theoretical Nokia 888, it's highly unlikely that Nokia will have anything to do with it at this point.
But who knows? Something like this may be sitting in Apple's (AAPL) design labs right now.
Oh, the irony…
Okay, I'll come clean. The Nokia 888 is not the reason I bought Nokia stock. But the irony will surely amuse you.
This is why I bought Nokia. It's the Nokia 103:
This is hardly a smartphone. In fact, it's about as dumb a mobile phone that exists. Yet it costs only 16 euros - or somewhere around $20. And according to IntoMobile, it will give you 27 days of standby time and 11 hours of talk time.
Forget about quad core superphones, forget about $100 Android smartphones from China, a lot of people can't afford to feed themselves, much less communicate wirelessly. The 103 aims to solve that. Better yet, when it gets resold, which it will be, it'll probably go for less than $10. It's devices like the 103 that keep us cheering Nokia on, because no one else is trying to penetrate this ultra low-end market.
That's true. There are indeed hundreds of millions of people who will continue to use phones like these in the foreseeable future, far more than would ever use something like the Nokia 888.
I'm speculating, of course, with a very small position because this is no sure thing. After all, Samsung and other companies are eating Nokia's lunch in the cheap handset market, too - just not as badly as in the smartphone market. And besides, how much margin could there be in a $20 device?
But Nokia still has significant brand equity throughout the world. All those frontier market countries many of you would never consider visiting? Millions of people in those countries still use Nokia phones and make use of the Nokia Siemens Networks.
How much brand equity does Nokia have in these markets? I say it's more than $2 per share. Or to put it another way, does Nokia need a smartphone at all to command a share price of more than $2? I suspect that may not be the case at all.
As I said, this is highly speculative on my part. But let me go on record as stating that when I bought Nokia, it was because of the Nokia 103 - that bare bones dumb phone, not because I have any misconceptions that Nokia is going to win back the smartphone market any time soon.
As for the Nokia 888? If it's marketable, someone will introduce something like it someday, but it's likely to have some other company's logo on it.
Still I have to admit, wearing my phone around my wrist does have a certain appeal to it.