On Tuesday Feb 28, Nokia hosted a special PR event live from Barcelona Spain at MWC 2012. The event was also live streamed (and archived) online for those of us not in attendance. On stage was Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and his top aides.
It was rather interesting I thought that Elop opened the session by commenting how it’s been reported that 68% of blogs are deemed to be influential yet 2/3 of bloggers are not experienced journalists. Interesting although perhaps appropriate as the room was likely full of tech bloggers and no doubt many were watching from afar. Interesting also as Nokia has aggressively used bloggers in their effort to share the love via WOM (word of mouth) – Nokia and their marketing partners have a strategy where they attract bloggers and lure them into chatting about the company and their products by offering up trial devices, trips, swag and the like… it seems to work quite well!
Elop proceeded to discuss the year in review and then break into what would be in store for us in 2012 from Nokia. Recall at last year’s MWC Nokia had no new devices to speak of. Obviously that was because the whole Nokia / Windows Phone "thing" was going down and the event served as a coming out party of forms to boast the new relationship. This year was different though, with Nokia announcing 4 new smartphones, 3 running Windows Phone OS and one big surprise in the PureView 808 device which is running Symbian OS – And indeed, Elop did make references to Symbian and indeed you can rest assured that Symbian is far from dead! Personally, it always drives me crazy when bloggers and some wold-be journalists have boasted of the demise of Symbian. Hello… ever heard of Symbian S40? Well if not there’s millions of users around the World who have and Elop made a point of commenting how the S40 ecosystem has evolved over the years and the once "entry level" devices associated with S40 are now much smarter and are data hungry with users now downloading more apps than ever before. Symbian S40 is a growing ecosystem and an important play for Nokia – developers need to keep an eye open on this space for sure, particularly in the growing markets in Asia, India and other Asia/Pacific markets.
With Nokia now churning out new devices at a steady pace there’s room to catch up on some lost marketshare, however, things aren’t all that gloomy. Elop pointed out some interesting numbers to indicate just how massive the market is (there really is room for everyone, albeit in some heated competition) and just think of all those tens of millions of S40 device users who in time may be graduating to smarter devices. Some numbers:
- 6.9 trillion text messages sent in 2011
- 134 million babies born in the past year
Recall last year’s strategy with no new devices or services, rather a strategy with the Windows Phone and an ambitions effort to connect the next billion people – Nokia’s strategy in doing this we were reminded is to focus on design and location-based services.
Elop went on to share a number of interesting points. the following are a few comments I picked up on that were noteworthy:
- Nokia started their re-entry in the US market with T-Mobile partnership
- In Russia the Lumia 800 is the hot device in the high end market and in huge demand
- Around the World excitement is building for Asha and Lumia
- A new location and commerce unit launched last year – this saw enhancements to Nokia Maps, Nokia drive and Nokia Public Transport
- Developers are Building apps fast – app submissions are up in the market 3X over last year.
- S40 app downloads are soaring signaling huge uptake in use by emerging markets.
- The Lumia 900 is hugely popular and the affordable Lumia 610 is attacking the youth market – heavy social media connect, people hub for simple social contacts lookup, and Nokia Transport comes for free on select devices (think Lumia)
- Lumia 900 will ship Q2 in white, cyan, black, retails $480 Euro
- Lumia 610 will ship Q2in white, cyan, magenta, black, retail $189 Euro
- There’s been over 1 million Symbian Belle downloads over the past several weeks and the Nokia N8 has set a benchmark for imaging.
On the stage we were then treated to a look at the PureView 808 – wow!
Enter the 808n Purview with a 41 megapixel sensor and new pixel oversampling technology. Condenses 7 pixels into one pixel and can capture in 5, 8, or 28 megapixels with tremendous clarity. Sample images showed how an image was captured and then zooming in on the image we so no degradation at all in quality and images can easily blown up into large poster size print outs. The PureView is the first smartphone with CD like recording technology.
Elop then couldn’t help but discuss Nokia and Location Services, obviously an important area. The new Nokia maps boasts 50X more places, users can save and share favorite spots Nokia drive turns Lumia into a navigation device while the very cool Nokia Public Transport helps people get around. Elop commented how this was just the beginning of Nokia + LBS – "Our vision for LBS is so much broader… 3 questions guide us.. what, where, who?"
- What – what do I want to know
- Who – with whom do I engage
- Where – should I explore
He explained, the Internet answers what and who, social networks provides the who and the social graph while Nokia will answer the where by building a Where location platform – hint!
Elop on stage at Mobile World Congress 2012 Press Event
About Nokia’s Location Services move:
- Maps, Drive, Nokia Transport are built on top of the location platform
- Investing in indoor mapping and AR, turning devices into daily commuter tools
- A new stunningly beautiful map design.. same experience on the web, devices etc.. via html5. Extending maps beyond their own properties.
- A new partnership with Groupon delivering location specific deals to device users
- The location-based Where Platform.
- Peaks of 13 million downloads a day via the Nokia app store – gateway to the world Helping developers go Global
- Helping local developers go very local
This week we heard about the announcement from Nokia that as an extension of the Microsoft-Nokia partnership, a new joint map design will begin rolling out across Bing Maps, Nokia Maps and Windows Phones. This unified map style will feature key elements from Microsoft’s metro design, including strong typography, improved readability and a clean user interface to help people find and use mapping information more quickly. As part of the update, Bing Maps will also be improving its global mapping coverage in countries such as Egypt, Israel, Venezuela and many others, refreshing the maps with new roads, subdivisions and additional refinements. Some more on the new Nokia maps on the Bing Maps Blog and over at Nokia Conversations – a great read!
Finally, something very important that Elop commented on and I do recall hearing this in previous years, Nokia has deals in place with many carriers around the World for operator billing – in place now in 140 countries – Developers need to take note that purchases increase up to 5X with operator billing in place!
- Nokia 808 PureView ushers in a revolution in smartphone imaging
- Nokia expands Lumia experience to new price points and geographies
- Nokia advances on its new strategic direction, rolls out range of new mobile devices and services
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