What should Nokia announce at Nokia World tomorrow?

With one day to go before Nokia World, the Finnish handset maker’s annual shindig, the perception to the outside media is of a corporate family in crisis.

First up, despite being scheduled to give a keynote speech, we learn that current Chief Executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo has been ousted, to be replaced by Stephen Elop, formerly of Microsoft Corp., although Elop won’t come on-board till after Nokia World.

Then, just this morning, it’s announced that Anssi Vanjoki, penned by some as the ‘Steve Jobs of Nokia’, has handed in his resignation – great timing, eh? – despite being charged with heading up the company’s Mobile Solutions division as recently as July. I can only speculate that Vanjoki wasn’t amused that he didn’t get a look in for the top job or that he was unhappy that Olli-Pekka was forced out.

But, ultimately however, it’s Nokia’s products and the company’s consumer-facing strategy not corporate politics that matter most in all of this. So on that note, I took to the streets twittersphere, where I follow some of the best informed mobile tech pundits and enthusiasts alike, and asked a very simple question: What should Nokia announce at Nokia World tomorrow?

@sohear An attractive MeeGo device with a 3.5-inch capacitive touchscreen… and a shiny MeeGo app store.less than a minute ago via web

This one is a distinct possibility and would represent a proper answer to the rise of Apple’s iPhone and some of the better Android offerings. MeeGo is Nokia’s next-generation mobile OS developed in partnership with Intel, and the specs Andy suggests match that of the iPhone. Also of paramount importance is the MeeGo app store, which would need to be filled with enough wares from the get-go to help shift handsets and therefore install developer confidence (and vice versa).

@sohear The consolidation of all their R&D into just 2 or 3 handsets (value, consumer, business) that they and we (devs) can then focus on.less than a minute ago via MetroTwit

This, again, is a very Apple-esque suggestion, essentially culling Nokia’s product line in a similar way that Steve Jobs did when he returned to Cupertino in 1997. It certainly would simplify things for developers and consumers alike who currently see a bewildering set of options in terms of number of devices, in particular making app development more complex and expensive. However, this will never happen as it would mean Nokia abandoning its ‘slice and dice’ market strategy whereby it targets, with varying success, every consumer price-point and demographic – a strategy that keeps volume sales high, although margins are getting lower, but also ensures Nokia dominates in many parts of the developing world, a key part of the company’s long-term strategy.

@sohear Their Android product line. Also openly apologize that they have been seriously wrong and making stuff consumers don’t like.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

Oh Android. Forget it, it’s not going to happen either although it’s a suggestion and rumour that never seems to go away. Nokia has heavily committed and invested in a duel smartphone OS strategy: Symbian for the low-to-middle end, and MeeGo for high end smartphones and converged devices (think: Netbooks, perhaps, and tablets). Also, while Android is a lot further in its roadmap than MeeGo, pinning the company’s future to Google would, arguably, be suicide for Nokia, resigning itself to being just another hardware manufacturer, leaving its destiny largely in the hands of a third-party with a very strong agenda of its own.

As for an apology, I think Nokia has done enough of that already. It might play well in politics but if you keep on apologizing it doesn’t exactly instill consumer confidence. Better to let actions speak.

What do you think Nokia should announce at Nokia World tomorrow?