A couple of weeks ago, I posted a long tract about what Nokia needs to do to turn its fortunes around. One of those things was focusing on the rapidly growing phone market in emerging markets like Brazil, India, and China with smart featurephones and valuable services. Thankfully, someone at Nokia is thinking along the same lines as this recent Register article calls out:
Nokia has started testing Nokia Listings in India – a service much like Craigslist, only without the internet.
Instead of expecting users to have computers, or even smartphones, Nokia Listings uses GPRS and runs on Series 40 handsets to provide information to the barely-connected. The service can even fall back on SMS connectivity when particularly network challenged.
Is Nokia Listings a sure-fire hit? No. For starters, there’s no clear profit move here which is sizable enough to change Nokia’s short-term prospects. Furthermore, foreign companies oftentimes find their moves into new markets get rapidly copied and beaten by local upstarts.
With that said, this is exactly the sort of interesting business approach which takes advantage of Nokia’s key assets (wide distribution of very good feature phones in emerging markets and strong services foundation, experience with simple J2ME apps) to penetrate into a rapidly growing market with a clear use case and value for end-user.