Nokia (NOK) Lagging in Touchscreens, but Does the Buying Public Care?

Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) has seen its mobile phone handset sales really lag in the last two or three years not just compared to its heyday, but also in comparison to current competitors. The company has had a real identity crisis of late, and it is hoping on a flood of success with Windows Phone 8 when that is unveiled later this year.  The company has been one of the last to adapt touchscreens to its handsets, and with that become all the rage in smartphones and tablets now, Nokia has been left in the dust. But is the input method actually imimportant to consumers, and is there an opening for Nokia yet?

Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK)

Well, it’s hard to say, but there have been a couple of interesting articles lately that may give Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) some hope for its future. One article recaps results of a recent unscientific survey that polled visitors to the Nokia Connections blog about their favorite input method – a touchscreen, numeric keypad, voice or QWERTY keyboard. The results showed that nearly 49 percent of respondents choses the full keyboard, while the touchscreen was the No. 2 option with 35 percent fo the vote. The numeric keypad, which has been a staple of Nokia for years, was a distant third with 9 percent. By the way, in the U.S., the touchscreen was the No. 1 chose of 47 percent of respondents, while the full keyboard was the choice for 33 percent. The U.S. in the only country that did not choose the keyboard as the top option.

This result might explain why Nokia and Research in Motion Limited Inc. (NASDAQ:RIMM) have suffered so much in the U.S. market, which has been the largest smartphone market in the world in recent years (though is changing with the emergence of India and China, among others). Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) was relying a lot on numeric keypads as the primary input method on its handsets, while the BlackBerry initially took off with its full keyboard input method. But both methods have clearly gone by the wayside in the U.S., and thus both companies have had to adapt – Nokia has been better of late as it has now integrated touchscreens on its latest devices to work with Windows 8 Phone.

However, while that adaptation may help Nokia in the U.S., apparently what it and Research in Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) have as their staple inputs have not been found wanting in an emerging market like Indonesia, as Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) and BlackBerry have both seen tremendous growth in that region, according to the company that serves as distributor for 11 different mobile device companies in the country. That distributor doubled its net sales in the second quarter of 2012 compared to a year earlier, to more than $676 million – which Nokia and BlackBerry among the leaders.

There are a handful of hedge funds that have an interest in Nokia’s comeback. Click here to see the list.