Nokia World 2010 Thoughts

So Nokia World 2010 is over. I’ve already scored my predictions, but I wanted to also put together some thoughts on the event, including the stuff that was announced, as well as what wasn’t announced. Now, I wasn’t at the event, so I can’t comment on the feel of things or the atmosphere. I’ve been to the past three Nokia Worlds, so I can guess that the atmosphere was incredibly high-energy and positive.

nokiaworld

Hardware

The hardware that Nokia announced this year is quite impressive, within the Nokia Bubble. The E7 is absolutely stunning, and I already want one pretty bad. I really like the design cues of the N8 and E7 and the keyboard on the E7 looks phenomenal. Unfortunately, the E7 is going to bomb in the U.S. market.

The E7 is planned to be available in Q4 2010 which, by Nokia’s lingo, basically means December 31st. It’s priced at 495EUR, which is ~US$645. It has a single-core ARM v11 processor at 648MHz and a paltry 256MB of RAM. Contrast that to the Samsung Epic and the Motorola Droid 2, both of which are available today, and for under US$250 with a contract. The Epic and Droid 2 both have a large capacitive touchscreen display, slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and 8 megapixel camera with dual-LED flash and HD video capture. They both have a 1GHz processor and at least 512MB of RAM for a snappy experience. If you’re stuck on GSM, the HTC Droid Z/G2, which was announced recently (and will be available in October, not December), has an 800MHz processor, slide-out QWERTY keyboard, 8 megapixel camera with dual-LED flash and HD video capture, and will be priced right around the $200 point with contract.

Basically, the E7, within the Nokia Bubble, is freakin awesome. Unfortunately, once you look around at the current market, you realise it’s already available from other manufacturers, and with a better price and specs. Why wait?

What’s sad about this is that all of the smartphones that Nokia boasted at Nokia World – the N8, E7, C6, and C7 – are all pentaband 3G – this means the same handset is capable of using the 3G networks of T-Mobile US, AT&T, and European carriers. There is no other manufacturer on the planet (that I know of) that is using this same chip. And yet, poor Nokia can’t seem to get the American carriers to pay attention, so the effort is basically wasted. Of course, there’s still a chance that Nokia could convince AT&T or T-Mobile to carry the N8 or the E7. If they can get it on carrier shelves before next summer, it might do well.

Software

Considering that Nokia has been trying to transform itself into a software/services company for a few years, there sure was a lot of hardware announcements, and basically nothing in terms of software/services. Of course, we got the obligatory Ovi Maps upgrade and a new version of the Ovi Store, but that’s about it. As you can see from my predictions scoring post, they announced precious little about their Ovi services – odd since most of those services desperately need an upgrade.

With the renewed focus on photography with the N8, you’d think Ovi Share would get an upgrade, to entice users to upload there, as opposed to Flickr or YouTube. Despite its horrendous UI, Ovi Share is actually far superior, allowing you to put both photos and videos in the same album, and offering you easily-shareable links to your albums, such as http://share.ovi.com/album/rcadden.NokiaWorld2009.

There was also no upgrade for the Ovi PIM functions, including Ovi Contacts, Ovi Calendar, Ovi Mail, and Ovi Chat. These services are still using a separate contact list – they don’t talk to each other at all – and still have trouble with duplicates in your contacts and calendar. It’s sad, really.

So, do I have anything good to say about Nokia World 2010? Absolutely.

Anssi Vanjoki announced his resignation from Nokia just two days before the event kicked off. He’s not leaving for 6 months, though, and the man absolutely nailed his keynote speech. I wasn’t going to wake up for it (the speech started at about 3:15 AM) but my body woke me up anyways. I’m glad I was able to watch it. Anssi’s passion simply oozes from every pore on his body. Watching him present is an awesome experience. I laughed, I might have cried, and I was rendered speechless. Anssi’s passion increases gradually, too – by the time he got around to the E7, he was absolutely firing on all cylinders, and the look on his face reminded me of a proud first-time dad, whose kid has just hit their first home run or something. He was positively beaming, and….well, it was just awesome.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Kwp_gcLhXo

Anssi’s part starts around 9:00, and is well worth watching. He’ll be missed. If you want to watch the full, unedited video, click here.

HTC Survival KitUnfortunately, the low point of Nokia World 2010 came at the end, with a bit of a pissing match between HTC and Nokia. HTC decided to host an event on September 15th, the second day of Nokia World. This is all fine and well, of course, until HTC made the tasteless choice of sending buses over to Nokia World to pick up journalists and bring them to the HTC event – before Nokia World had officially ended.

This put Nokia in a pretty tough situation – obviously they needed to respond, and I’m not sure there was any way that their response could have been appropriate. It was a lose-lose situation, without question. Thus, Nokia hired some folks to go stand outside the HTC event with red balloons pimping Ovi Maps. They also quickly put together a ‘survival kit’ for people to take with them to the HTC event.

As I said, I think Nokia’s response was pretty lame, but at the same time, HTC was out of line sending buses over. Both companies were acting like children. The whole situation looked very much like two toddlers fighting over a box of crayons. Some have applauded Nokia’s response, seeing it as signs of more aggressive marketing from a historically reserved team. I sincerely hope that, in the future, they look to more….mature ways to get the word out. I hope the same for HTC’s marketing team.

Overall, Nokia World was………well, it was.

If OPK was still leading and Anssi Vanjoki hadn’t resigned, I’d probably be saying that Nokia is completely screwed. The hardware, while impressive, fades into the background of today’s smartphone landscape. Ovi Maps is still nice, but so is Google Maps. Ovi Store v2.0 is still behind the iTunes App Store and the Android Market in many, many ways (including the number of real, quality apps available). The rest of the Ovi services might as well not even exist.

However, OPK’s not leading, and Anssi Vanjoki did resign. The announcements made at Nokia World 2010 were in the plans for long before either of those decisions were made. Starting this week, Stephen Elop, a software guy, takes over the helm of the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer, and there’s sure to be some drastic changes (after all, that’s why he was hired).

My friend Phil Schwarzmann (who runs the Nokia Conversations blog) recently asked me what I thought Elop should do first. That’s a tough question, but I think the first thing he needs to do is gather up *everyone* at Nokia who works on Ovi software and services. Get them all in the same room, and get them talking. Spend the next 12 months working feverishly to convert Ovi from a patchwork quilt of store-bought companies into a single fabric. Get the Ovi people to work with the phone firmware teams – bake that crap in so tightly it bleeds Ovi. Don’t worry about hardware – you guys got that. Promote whoever came up with the design cues for the N8 and E7, they’re beautiful.

Here’s to an entirely different Nokia for 2011. The future is bright.

Published by rcadden

Just a dude with a phone.

12 thoughts on “Nokia World 2010 Thoughts

  1. I really hope Nokia makes a comeback on the smartphone scene by early 2012 when I will change my phone. I look forward to MeeGo and their new N series + qwerty device.

    Great piece, as always.

  2. – The speed of the processors is not the same. ARM vs QualcommNokia has a really good connection to ARM and the Symbian OS needs much less resources than iOS or Android. the N8 and E7 are very fast now, but when the second firmware is out, the compatitors must come with 1.5Ghz to compete :-)- N8 and E7 (as Symbian^3 devices) can handle up to 25 apps without going any slower. try to run 25 apps simultaneously in Android, iOS cannot handle it at all.- About the OVI services like OVI Maps: this services run on more devices than Android, iOS together and is quite often used.i can tell 🙂 it was funny that all cab drivers in london were using OVI Maps…

  3. Dude, you are pathetic and losserish, I am glad that you are off the line, and finished with your lousy blog. You were no good fan, and quite a bad analyst. Way to go, and please don’t come back, the place is taken.

  4. While I disagree with your comments about the devices being sluggish performance wise due the processor speeds (I’ve been using an N8 for a few weeks with no sign of lag whatsoever) the market will look at the pure numbers, as they have done in the past with the MP race with camera manufacturers.

    I think the fact they’ve moved their focus away from slightly complementary services (Share/Contacts/Calander) Nokia are probably very aware there are other options who do a far better job in a market where there is very little “wow factor” and saleability.

    Ovi Maps/Store/Music are three services which CAN have the “wow factor” and saleability which is why I would chose to put my focus in to them instead of sinking money into those other service layers. Heck I can’t remember the last time I used Ovi Share, I use Pixelpipe to push photos and video up to Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox and Flickr. That’s more than enough repositories for me and gives me a decent breadth of scale in terms of trying to reach my audience.

    It’s going to take a LOT of work to get back into the US market sure, but while it is a decent market to be in in terms of customer base size, should that come at the risk of bastardised profit margins, just so they can take on Motorola,Google and Android?

  5. Nokia will have high sales with the inclusion of these models, that’s what they care for right now to stay in the Market but it’s funny really considering that other companies and individuals have achieved more in software UI/UE than Nokia in less time (see Symbian^3 s60v5 styled crappy home-screen), for example:

    -HTC Sense
    -PS3 UI
    -Gravity individual application developer (Nokia should hire him)
    -Android

    I had many Nokia devices and I talked like other current and previous Nokia owners about all the features that Symbian offers (even if I don’t use them) in comparison to other mobile OS, Symbian is very mature but why should I keep “looking under the hood” with another device if they just don’t improve their UI/UE?. The only devices that I can say offer the best from Nokia are the Eseries, the best battery performance, the best build and quality I always recommend these models to people that want the best in business.

    Nokia is planning on moving to Meego for their high end devices and that’s something interesting specially with the new CEO, is anyone buying a Nseries device with Symbian^3/4 on it when they know they’re jumping ship to Meego? maybe with hopes of their device getting Meego, most likely not because the devices they sell don’t ever see the light of new versions.

    Nokia is not Back! (yet…)

  6. Interesting summary, Ricky. Was a shame you couldn’t be at the show; if I were Nokia I’d have made sure you were on-site!

    The HTC/Nokia thing is tricky. To put it into a little more context, perhaps, you have to remember where both events were being held. Nokia World was out in the middle of nowhere, at a huge conference center that – unless you were staying at one of the nearby hotels – required either an expensive taxi ride or a very long public transport journey (with several changes) to reach. HTC’s was somewhat more central, though still not ideal. I have to say, I didn’t bother going to Nokia on day two, simply because getting there in time, and then to HTC in time, and then back all the way over to Nokia again seemed like a poor use of my day. I’d have spent more time travelling than I would at either event, so I went to HTC instead.

    Now, I realise that doesn’t acknowledge the rights/wrongs of when both events were scheduled, but had I known that HTC was offering a bus, maybe Nokia would have got me to their event on day two as well. Even better, if the two companies – once they realised the overlap – had chosen to work together and make sure press could get between the events without spending half their day or their expense account (if they’re lucky enough to have one!) on the travel, both companies would have like had more coverage and there’d be a whole lot of positive feedback. Heck, even if Nokia had said “no lunch kit, but we’ll have a bus to bring you back over to our event after HTC’s” then I would’ve been happy.

  7. WOW! I really enjoyed reading this.

    However…

    The new generation of Nokia phones on S^3 have virtual RAM, S^3 supports writeable data paging, so there won’t be a problem with RAM on the E7 etc…

    About the processor speed, 680MHz for S^3 is more than enough. This is not a simple comparison between who has the highest figure because you are not comparing with same OS. My captivate, a galaxy s phone, is pretty slow with a 1GHz processor.

    The thing Nokia REALLY needs to get together is Ovi, and with Elop heading the company it is likely to happen. I never liked OPK for some reason…

  8. It’s all very well judging phones on how many MHz there processor runs at, but if that speed bump means the battery is dead before the end of the day, then it’s not a great deal of use.

    1. And as far as the 256MB vs 512MB RAM arguement, you could put 512MB+ RAM in a Symbian phone, the same as you could put more than 2GB RAM in a Windows XP machine, but most people really wouldn’t ever use it.

      However, Windows 7 / Android / iOS, that extra memory is obviously neccessary. Doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to anything more with it.

  9. Perhaps this is one of the most interesting blogs that I have ever seen. Interesting article, Funny comment. Keep it up! 
    That was a great piece of information., I enjoyed reading it.., 

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