Category Archives: Nokia

Nokia on the rise?

Nokia shipped 4.4 million Lumia devices in the fourth quarter of 2012, bringing its total smartphone shipments to 6.6 million devices, the first increase in smartphone shipment numbers in a year.

But the Finnish handset maker still expects its main devices and services unit to record a fall in net sales in the fourth quarter of 2012, to €3.9 billion ($5.10 billion) from €6 billion a year earlier, with total device shipments projected at 86.3 million units, down from 113.5 million. Nokia is due to report its full fourth-quarter earnings on Jan. 24

via Nokia Boosted by Brisk Lumia Sales – WSJ.com.

very quick camera test: iPhone 4S vs Nokia Lumia 820

Here’s a very quick outside shot sample test between the iPhone and Lumia.  These are straight shots with no adjustment or change in settings.

Looking out at the deer path leaving our backyard …

WP_20121222_003Lumia 820 iphone_4siPhone 4S

To my eye the Lumia is delivering a richer shot. Color is better – the sky shows more blue, leaves pop more and the grass is greener.  The iPhone (3264 × 2448 pixels) uses many more pixels here as well compared to the Lumia (1278 × 720).

Nokia the OEM

I’ve been tracking all the Nokia news the past days and while it’s impossible to argue that change was required, it seems that Nokia has actually folded considerably more than we’d all expected.  In exchange for access to Microsoft Windows Phone, Nokia is essentially closing up shop outside of manufacturing and some bits of maps.  Near term Symbian will be supported, but that has a pretty clear path to death.

If you read the open letter, everything is spelled out in plain English. My thoughts in italics …

• Nokia will adopt Windows Phone as its primary smartphone strategy, innovating on top of the platform in areas such as imaging, where Nokia is a market leader. (symbian and meego are done)

• Nokia will help drive and define the future of Windows Phone. Nokia will contribute its expertise on hardware design, language support, and help bring Windows Phone to a larger range of price points, market segments and geographies. (Nokia gets a say for some features, probably driven by hardware opportunities)

• Nokia and Microsoft will closely collaborate on development, joint marketing initiatives and a shared development roadmap to align on the future evolution of mobile products. (Nokia earns the right to co-marketing and will probably have some devices featured as core Windows Phone products in direct MS marketing)

• Bing will power Nokia’s search services across Nokia devices and services, giving customers access to Bing’s next generation search capabilities. Microsoft adCenter will provide search advertising services on Nokia’s line of devices and services. (Bing and you’re done, just like Nokia’s ad business)

• Nokia Maps will be a core part of Microsoft’s mapping services. For example, Maps would be integrated with Microsoft’s Bing search engine and adCenter advertising platform to form a unique local search and advertising experience. (Fortunately for MS, Nokia paid Billions for Navteq and we’ll put that to good use in our core products)

• Nokia’s extensive operator billing agreements will make it easier for consumers to purchase Nokia Windows Phone services in countries where credit-card use is low. (Nokia will help MS get operator billing in place for Windows Phone which will potentially help global reach for MS.  Probably does nothing for the US Smartphone market opp)

• Microsoft development tools will be used to create applications to run on Nokia Windows Phones, allowing developers to easily leverage the ecosystem’s global reach. (QT is dead.  An excellent acquisition for Nokia)

• Microsoft will continue to invest in the development of Windows Phone and cloud services so customers can do more with their phone, across their work and personal lives. (More MS for Nokia owners running Windows Phone)

• Nokia’s content and application store will be integrated with Microsoft Marketplace for a more compelling consumer experience. (Ovi is dead)

The best post that sums this up described the transition as a coup and frankly that’s not too far off. Microsoft has a new leader in place at Nokia who owns a massive amount of stock and naturally wants things to work out … for Microsoft.    Microsoft gets a new hero manufacturer to abuse.  If Nokia enables Windows Phone sales he wins – on both sides of the equation. Nokia as a company and brand has some major issues to resolve.

The real issues facing Nokia are remain the same. They still need to attract developers and require some major assistance still in the US, the largest smartphone market. Microsoft has barely made a dent and it seems their sales are in the channel rather than end user. Windows Phone is a fresh start in a race that’s been active for years. Android while more competitive for Nokia as an OEM would have been an easy option for developers to work with given the stratospheric growth and sales of Android products over the past two years.   Windows Phone is certainly nice, but that’s all it is.  There are no standout applications yet even though the growth has been reasonable.  Time will tell, but I’m not feeling this at all.

Nokia, Why are things still this hard?

I’ve been dabbling with the N8 for about two weeks now and it’s a mixed bag. At first, it took a bit to get my Nokia muscle memory back in shape. The process of coming back to Nokia and Symbian is kinda like getting back together with that girlfriend you broke up with … She looks great (as usual) but once back together you remember exactly why you broke up in the first place.

I’m not going to do a full review but instead highlight a few key issues I have right from the start that are sadly baked in from the old days …

By default, the time does not get set from the network. This is a minor gripe, but it meant that the pictures and video I shot that first day all have the wrong timestamp baked in. I put the sim card in while in a taxi on my way to an after work event so i can take a bit of blame for not really paying attention, but why should i even have to?

The Nokia Social client which is featured on the first home screen is a fail. I’ve had to re-inout my password at least a dozen times and at this point I’m done. If you know the software sucks, call it beta and ask me to download it instead of including it as part of the base system.

Speaking of having to install … Why is the Ovi Store app NOT pre-installed? Including the stub to force the download is ridiculous. It’s not like you weren’t sure the store would launch in time … Once installed the client seems to be something of a digital island. It has no ability to see what I have installed to make recommendations. This missing ability means we all see the same stuff, regardless of whether you’ve already tried it or how you may have rated the app. Sigh.  Apparently this is being worked on …

Nokia Messaging … Whoa. Exchange is my default sync method and i have two rather critical issues here. First after all these years, I can’t believe that sync still need to be restarted at least once a day. Second the ability to accept appointments simple does not exist. This is a total fail.

As usual, the hardware is lovely and the camera is excellent. Think that about sums it up.

What exactly is Nokia’s problem?

What the hell is happening at Nokia?

They have been in a real decline with no sign of change which is just ridiculous considering their global share of mobile. I’m glad I’m not a shareholder, but if I was I would be freaking out and calling for change … Instead i will just use my iPad.

When Nokia forced the N97 out of the gate early it was, in my opinion, a move made of ignorance. While it is typical for them to release a hardware product that requires firmware to smooth things out, consumer experience had substantially changed since that proactive started. The initial N95 was the same actually. It took a big software update to deliver on the multitasking promise as it shipped without the ability to page memory and therefore needed to close apps constantly as you moved through the device. The N97 continued that tradition and actually shipped with crappy hardware hardware as well. It was barely tolerable with the N97 but people were far more aware of their options (iPhone, Android etc) when the N97 arrived. As a result sales suffered and consumer demand is low … Outside of course of the carrier based low cost phone channel. A place all flagship devices seek …

Now the N8, next flagship is due to arrive and according to aEldar’s review at Mobile Review is yet another disappointment. I’m sure Nokia will make it up by only charging $600 instead of $700 as with the N97.

Nokia’s device strategy is allegedly based on solutions, but their goal of integrating software through Ovi remains another empty promise. The lack of a core suite of reliable services is ridiculous given the amount of time that has passed. I’m not saying this is easy to do, but the company line has been “it’s coming” for far too long … As in years.

Perhaps you think Maemo, oh I mean Meego is the solution? Let’s just look at the stellar track record there. The N900 is the 4th device on the 4th version of the maemo platform. Maemo 6 is DOA and instead Meego will replace. Let’s see how that goes … I won’t be holding my breath. Even if Nokia and Intel pull off a reasonable UX, the services won’t be in place, nor will the apps. Maemo haas been the red headed stepchild within Nokia through each phase it has existed. Instead of creating a dual OS strategy and giving Maemo some real resources, Nokia instead has played it coy and left a lot of the work on the community, which while enthusiastic, remains more hobbyist than anything else. Instead the “effort” has gone towards S60 and Symbian.

I’ve used countless Nokia devices since the launch of Nseries back in 2005. I have loved and actively promoted the brand. I’ve even worked for Nokia in that time through the digital agency I still work for today. Through all that time Nokia has made many broken promises but because they have also stuck to the old game no one else is playing they are losing and badly. It’s great that manufacturing excellence leads to global efficiencies and reduced costs for emerging markets, but where’s the innovation?? Where’s the passion for mobile?

It’s time for a real change.

Nokia offers Free Navigation to everyone

Nokia free navigation

Today Nokia announced Maps with free navigation for everyone which is a very big deal.  Previously the only way to get turn by turn navigation was to buy a Navigator device. Nokia had offered free trials of the navigation service on most newer mid to higher end devices but to put it all out there is a very powerful offer.

The goes beyond just the turn by turn piece and includes all the premium content within Maps – again a very cool and substantial detail. You now have full access to all the premium content:

  • Free Drive navigation
  • Free Walk navigation
  • Free maps and map updates
  • Free Events guides
  • Free Lonely Planet guides
  • Free Michelin guides

When Google first announced Android 2.0 would include free navigation it was a bold move, and became an instant black eye for everyone else.  Nokia’s initial response with the 5800 Navigation Edition was pretty limited by comparison while today’s play is substantially more bold!  I’m sure this was not an easy pill for management to swallow given Navigation is one of the larger revenue generating services.

Nokia’s reach and share is still larger than anyone else’s and I expect others to follow suit as a result.  Consumers are now going to expect navigation as a standard feature of a smartphone – in the same way maps previously was.