While the Finnish giant is ramping-up to roll it’s Vertu-focused MVNO sometime early next year, the company has announced it has decided to pull their regular device line-up, including the just announced E-71 model for DoCoMo, according to this statement: “In the current global economic climate, we have concluded that the continuation of our investment in Japan-specific product variants is no longer sustainable.” By most estimates the world-leading ODM managed less than 1% penetration in the hyper-competative Japanese handset market.
In Japan, Nokia has an important R&D center, which plays an integral part in Nokia’s global product development. These global R&D activities will continue unchanged. Nokia will also continue its significant sourcing activities in Japan. Japanese manufacturers are important partners who play a critical role in Nokia’s global supply-chain strategy and with whom Nokia continues to develop its world class logistics operations. Vertu, Nokia’s exclusive line of handcrafted mobile phones, will also continue operations in Japan.
All things considered it’s certainly a prudent position, most notably to maintain their R&D presence, since the continued observation of activities here will continue to be valuable – with Ovi based on i-mode as an obvious example – to their global operations. It would be a shame if this move also affects the 810 WiMax tablet for UQ Communications that was on display at CEATEC in October.