Nokia changes its naming conventions. Again.

Jonathan Morris
August 1, 2011

We’re now used to hearing how Apple is changing everything, but it seems Nokia is also out to make some radical changes. This time, it is trying to fix the ridiculous naming convention it has been using for the last year or so.

The latest change is quite simple; change back to the system the company started out with over 20 years ago.

Starting with three digits and moving on to four, Nokia one day decided to come up with new ranges to pigeonhole customers into distinct categories. This included N-series, Eseries (yes, for a while they opted to use a hyphen with one and not the other, just to keep sub editors on their toes) and so on.

That worked for a while, until everything got all mixed up within each range as newer models came out with lower numbers, despite being technically more advanced than earlier models that were considered high-end at the time. If that was written in a confusing manner, it’s no different to how the numbering system ended up.

More recently they attempted to solve this problem by going for a ‘solution’ that proved to be a nightmare for networks, retailers and even people like us who have to review the phones. Nokia released its phones with an identical model name and an extra set of digits (e.g. -00) to show the revision or variation.

Now, it perhaps sounded like a logical solution when brought up at a strategy meeting – after all car makers will often re-use a model number with an individual model year to identify the revision, but Nokia doesn’t make cars. In the end, everyone got confused – even Nokia it seems. So you’ve seen that review of the ‘C6’ in the mags and online, but which one was it again? Go into a store and find the C6, but is that the C6-00, the C6-01 or the C6-50? (Not that Nokia got that far, thankfully). Oh look, there’s a Samsung… much easier.

Just as Nokia finally opted to ditch its dated typeface, it seems common sense has prevailed once again. Back we go to a time when Nokia used simple numbers that people may actually stand a chance of remembering and understanding. It started today with the launch of the entry-level Nokia 500 and in the not too distant future, the Nokia 700.

According to Nokia, the first digit will represent a relative price/feature point. The second two digits give it a ‘unique identifier’. Nokia points out that it can release 99 phones for each number before running out, so it must be planning to keep this new naming convention for the long haul.

You can find out all of Nokia’s reasonings at Nokia Conversations, Nokia’s official blog, including the admission that the outgoing naming convention was confusing. Well, Nokia, if you had read any of our reviews you’d have known that ages ago!


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