So… its been a while since I’ve commented on the state of affairs with nokia… mainly cause I’ve had very little reason to care. However, Nokia Connections is starting shortly, and in another window I am streaming the presentation that will start it all off. So while I wait for the presentation to begin (it has been beginning shortly for at least 20m) I figured I’d comment on the recent big rumors that have been running around are that this is when Nokia will announce a MeeGo device, that it will actually sell! Be still, my beating heart. Within the last month in a half two videos were released, here and here. The word is that Nokia will be discussing several new devices, including a disruptive device. During the Elopcalypse it was said that the group responsible for MeeGo would continue working on future distruptive technologies, such as MeeGo.
There are two devices being teased currently. One is a sleek looking touchscreen only device, and is being referred to as the Nokia N9-01 or the Nokia Lankku (which apparently if means Plank in Finnish), while the other is the one we see in the videos and is referred to as the development device and also as the Nokia N950. I’d like to echo a sentament I read earlier about this. Why would only the videos of the development device leak out? You’d think they wouldn’t have been wasting money on it. However, I could see the videos and devices they leaked as being rather old (pre-Elopcalypse) and released by people who were bitter or for some such other reason. Despite leaks abounding, several events have come and gone where devices such as these could have been showcased, with nothing to show for it. Nokia Connection is not normally considered one of Nokia’s biggest events (until this year), but it seems to have been selected as a big deal.
And it starts….. cue montage with descriptive verbs describing the South East Asian Pacific (SEAP) area. Short intro by the head of Sales for the SEAP region. Enter President and CEO of Nokia, Stephen Elop. First WP7 device will be later this year (2011) and in volume in 2012. They have working Nokia WP7 phones built and working now (wish they’d have put that kind of effort into MeeGo ‘eh people?) . We did recently release a new version of Symbian, called Anna, on several devices including the newly released E6. Now the SEAP Head of Smart Devices is going to show off Anna on the Nokia N8. He’s got it attached to the HDMI connection and is showing off a picture he took of the crowd, and is going to upload it to his OviShare account. Based on what I can see of the screen. to accomplish this you e-mail it to Ovi Share. But that is not what he was showing off. What he wanted to show was portait mode QWERTY keyboard. I will not comment on the sadness of the timing on that, and I would kinda like him to move on cause this isn’t why I’m watching :) Especially, since they just decided to demo Bing in the browser. This is me really not caring.
Aside: Microsoft is not on my good side, and not because of the Nokia WP7 bit. Because their products are always “almost” good. Such good ideas going to waste by poor implementation. The recent burn for me? Microsoft/Ford Sync. Maybe I’ll write up about that some day, but right now it would just be an unhealthy rant.
Elop is back. They will support Symbian till at least 2016. They will release at least 10 new Symbian devices in the next year. This is good. My E71x is dying, and if I can not get a N950, I might settle on a Nokia E6. Now he is bringing in Mary McDowell, Executive VP, Mobile Phones. She is talking about their Next Billion consumers directive, which is focusing on Symbian Series 40 devices. Such as the Touch and Type devices. I wouldn’t mind one of these if whatever tablet secondary device I got wasn’t cellular capable. They have shipped over 17 million C3 QWERTY phones. They are debuting another new Dual SIM device today. I wish they’d released one like 9 years ago when I wanted one. Last month they announced the X1-01. Its a party in your pocket apparently, with 16GB of memory and the loudest and clearest speaker Nokia has ever produced. Now they are shipping the C2-00, but will now be shipping a C2-03. Its an interesting looking phone. Its a dual SIM, slider, with the Touch and Type interface. The kewl bit about the Dual SIM? The second SIM has a easy changer slot on the side like a microSD card. Once again, really, it took this long for someone to do this? I bet there is a restrictive patent for it too…. Nokia is also taking a cue from the concept of Web pages as Apps and making that a way to write apps on Symbian Series 40.
Here comes Elop. Thanks Mary. We are going to focus on supporting our Developers. While Marco, Senior VP of Developer Experience, talks I’m going to take a shower, cause he is talking Mango development. With my luck he’ll talk about the N950 development device ;)
And I’m back. And so is Elop. Wonder what I missed. He’s talking about a better phone, yay for timin!, and introducing Marco (different one), Senior VP of Design . He just said… “We’d like to introduce you to the Nokia N9”. He says that you are supposed to watch your users and it will help you create a better device. People want a big screen and to be mobile. So they set the goal of creating an all screen phone that is easy to use. He talks about the elegance of the glass, leading into the fact that instead of a home button any time you need to go there, you just swipe a screen from one side to the other. He’s referring to the primary screens as their numeric place. So the First is the standard application list. The Second is a unified event/notification screen. The Third is running applications. Its carousel-esque in that you can just keep swiping one direction to get back to the start. Anytime you close an application it returns you to the previous primary screens you were running. Now he is waxing eloquent about the shape of the device. I think I’ve discussed before that I’m not a touchscreen only guy. So I’m probably spent. Oooh… talking about bring up old news. He just made a reference to the iPhone Grip of Death. I’m confused about the “large” screen bit helping displace the home button. There is plenty of room for a button with that large of a bezel! :) And now he just pulled it out and is going to put it up on the screen. I never heard him say it was MeeGo, but I’m guessing it is.
Anyways… its not really something I want sadly, but such is life. I’m sure I can read the rest of the event later.
Several years ago I was introduced to an acronym at work, not because I performed one, but because the concept came up in conversation. A CLE is a Career Limiting Event, and there are quite a few things that one could classify as such. Things such as shutting down a primary server or network device in the middle of the day without verifying that your change works, calling an executive of your company drunk and bitching them out, or deleting a very important file or database table (payroll?). Most of these are more specifically going to limit your career at a specific company. You clean up and move on. Now consider you are a the new CEO of a very public world wide company, and you decide throw away billions of dollars of work and planning (all be it very slowly implemented planning) away and partner with a company to utilize their lackluster OS. What happens if you destroy that company? We’ve all heard about the lovely golden parachutes, but, if you were a Board of Directors for a corporation, would you hire someone that took a stumbling, but still massive company, and single handedly turned it away from possible success and ground it dust? Sadly, someone probably will. However, one has to wonder how the current board of Nokia is taking the fact that so far their stock has dropped over 15% since they announced the plan this morning.
This entry was brought to you by the bi-line of an InfoWorld article:
 I made a point of playing with WP7 this morning at the AT&T store. Its not bad as far as an interface goes, however I could definitely see myself becoming frustrated with its responsiveness (which I’d assume is programmed in, so you can see the fancy effects). Couple that with the missing IPSEC VPN support, lack of multitasking, lack of copy&paste, and it doesn’t appear to have good Notes integration yet. While the last is a show stopper for me and possible even just a select few others, the rest are things that are likely a show stopper for many. The key thing to remember is also that Symbian already has all of those features!
 UPDATE: just about 30 hours after the announcement their stock is on its way to becoming their 1 year low. Wednesday they were selling just over 15 points a share, today is in the 9s.
So the rumors have come to a climax this morning as over in merry ole England ex-MS-exec/CEO of Nokia has announced that Nokia will be moving their smartphone focus to Windows Phone 7 (WP7). QT is no longer the development platform, the one that “cuts development time by nearly 50%” or that “94% report..meets or exceeds their development expectations” and was intended to allow you to “write code once to target multiple platforms” (all quotes from the qt.nokia.com pages).
I’ve commented on this blog before about what I wanted to see from Nokia, even specifically this weekend, obviously I did not hear what I wanted to. My first several phones were Nokias, the good old original 5xxx and 6xxx series, which were great workhorses and where the phones of choice at the time. I have drooled after Communicators since Val Kilmer used one in The Saint when I was in high school. My lust for the Communicators was never fulfilled as they were out of my price range and hard to find State-side, and so for the sake of my wallet and acquiring a flip phone I moved over to Motorola with their StarTAC and v6x series devices. As the years progressed I saw the rise of the HTC WinMo 5 phones (specifically the HTC Wizard in its form of the Cingular 8125), and in it saw a phone that could meet my mobile access needs in a professional sense (internet access with a mobile ssh terminal). I made the switch, and thoroughly enjoyed having the internet more truly at my fingertips, at least as far as 2005 was concerned. Two years later I left the job that supplied this phone and went back to my strictly feature phone personal device. Or should I say I went to several feature phones… Sony Ericsson, Samsung, Motorola, LG, they were all meh, although my Samsung SLM lasted me the longest. I was not overly impressed by any of the devices, but they met the basic need of calls and texting. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed yet, but I’m a bit of a dork, and gadget freak, so I will gladly tell you that over the years I never stopped watching Nokia and Sony Ericsson’s high end Symbian phones, wishing and hoping that there would be a readily available Cingular/AT&T compatible device that I could get my hands on. Then in late 2007 I heard about an announcement from Nokia, they would be shipping a sleek and sexy followup device the the Nokia N800. No, it wasn’t a phone, but it was so much more! It was my beloved Linux platform in the palm of my hands, it was high resolution (for its size) real web browsing, with a hardware keyboard! (I’ve mentioned before my distaste for touchscreen keyboards haven’t I?). I was excited to say the least, and bought one within the first few months after it’s release. I lugged it around for 2 years along side first my Samsung SLM, then a Nokia N75 I bought used off a friend. But then, my Nokia N75 died, and under AT&T’s insurance program it was replaced by the Nokia E71x, which I use to this day.
But I get ahead of myself. I just glossed over the acquisition of a Nokia N75. Ah, the N75. My first quasi-high-end Nokia phone. Was it perfect? Not really, but oh how it enlightened me to the true wonder of Symbian. It actually did things I as a user had been wanting my phones to do for years. Very good contact management being towards the top of the list, and it allowed me to begin utilizing Google’s exchange services to sync my contacts and calendar. Finally, no need to have MS-Windows to have good device syncronization, which was a problem as I rarely have a running Windows machine. It was a great experience, and along with the N810 drew my attention back to be focused very tightly on Nokia’s product portfolio.
When AT&T replace the N75 with an E71x, sadly my N810 lost some relevance. I was no longer using my N810 to access my e-mail with a QWERTY keyboard, nor did I have much that I needed to SSH on the go anymore as my job duties had adjusted. Sadly, the device started to collect dust on my nightstand. One of my close friends had purchased an N810 after utilizing mine, and had it die on him about a almost a year ago, so I gifted the device to a better home. All this time I’ve been waiting and hoping for new devices to come out that fit my requirements (see my 2011 CES wishlist).
So… back to Nokia’s announcements today:
- Nokia and Microsoft in bed, WP7 now Nokia’s primary platform
- Nokia will not be porting the cross-platform development framework they own to their new platform (wtf?)
- Steven Elop compares Nokia+Microsoft to Wright Brothers
- MeeGo an experiment, they might grace us with a single device before moving on
Honestly, I’m disappointed. I’m running out of time so I’ll leave you with this:
Nokia was still the smartphone market leader world wide according to Gartner. Which means that if they could fix themselves now, they have a jump start. Nokia’s problem (in Elop’s own view) was being to slow to execute. Instead of re-organizing and cleaning up their internal processes and pushing quality products to market sooner, they are effectively abandoning all of that work (saying you are going to sell more of things you aren’t going to keep producing is not exactly going to instill confidence in buyers), and jumping ship to let another company control their destiny, or at the very least steal their hard work (which we all know Microsoft is not above doing). Its a sad day for Nokia’s user base. One can only hope that someone takes up where Nokia left off and brings forth MeeGo to the masses.
So yes, for the sake of this discussion I was a Nokia fanboy. I still hold that if anyone can meet my phone needs I will go to them, and I hope someone else does, because Nokia has decided not to. I may, and I am still not sure how I feel about this, buy a Nokia E7 anyways, or possibly even the E6 that was leaked earlier this week. The screen is a bit small, but its not a necessarily far off of what I want. Its not like AT&T ever let my Nokia phones get software updates anyways, so I guess it doesn’t matter if Nokia stops supporting the software. And at the very least by buying a Nokia device that isn’t a WP7 device, I can contribute to the numbers against WP7. Petty I guess, but its not like Elop reading this post would change anything.
Ahh well.. off to work for me.
I was right, this did turn out to be a much more interesting CES than the year I went. However, from the posts I’ve read I fear I was also right in that it was only more interesting because I don’t stay up on all the latest hype anymore. Most of the kewl products I heard about appear to have been leaked months ago. Ahh well, c’est la vie.
I do have to give Motorola credit, their Atrix 4G with laptop dock for at&t’s network. I’m not in the school of thought that accepts HSPA+ as 4G, but otherwise this is the most enticing Android phone I’ve personally seen on the market. I haven’t been a fan of Motorola’ mobile space in a while, and their first series of Android phones for at&t were just.. depressing. Never one to be fully satisfied, I still want a hardware keyboard and MeeGo.
Speaking of Meego, where was it? From all I can tell there was a tablet and a netbook at Intel’s booth showing it off. Where was Nokia? Apparently they turned into a news media organization rather than show their wares. They did have Dolby showing off the N8. NAVTEQ (the navigation company they purchased) and Qt (the graphical development environment for Symbian^3+ and MeeGo) both had booths. Nokia was also part of the AT&T Developer summit. But alas. No new phones…
But wait? What’s this? Apparently there are some rumors about the fabled N9 device. With fingers crossed they will supposedly be announcing the N9, X7, and the unknown to me E6-00 device. That’s 6 weeks away… and then who knows how long till release. Hopefully my battered and bruised e71x can last.
Here goes, my first real entry to this failed experiment of a blog. Wish me luck.
Back in 2007 I was fortunate enough to attend CES and was a heck of a trip. It was awesome to get to visit all of those manufacturer’s booths, and the most awesome thing I witnessed was a transparently cased homagé to Zero Cool’s present from The Plague in the movie Hackers. They had a rare lab prototype of the Toshiba Protégé R400.
However, I am left feeling as if I picked a very anti-climatic year to go. Maybe I was staying current on all of the kewl new toys back then, who knows. This year however, I’m holding out luck that Nokia (preferably) or some other MID/tablet/UMPC/whatever manufacturer is going to make my day. For several months now there has been minimal actual news about Nokia’s next Linux powered device. The much anticipated MeeGo device was due out last quarter 2010, but like many Nokia products these days, was delayed until 2011. The MeeGo conference came and went, so that leave CES and CTIA Wireless as the best bets for news on possible MeeGo devices.
I’ll try not to go off track too much, but this is one of the annoying things about the current tablet craze. Nokia has been doing this for years, and has been very popular in the geek market for it. They had a large, touch screen tablet on the market 2 years before Apple, the Nokia N770. But over the last year have been off and on about making a non-phone tablet device. I get that some people want their internet access integrated. Personally, I want to pay for it once, not per device. Bluetooth pairing with a cellphone should be the standard, not the carrier-profiting-bill-per-device-cellular-data-plans.
But I digress, back to the wish list. I have two items I would like Nokia to make, but the first I would accept from almost any quality manufacturer. First, I would like to see a non-cellular device running MeeGo with hardware similar to the Samsung Epic 4G. Slide out hardware keyboards for the win! This does bring me to a side-request, please Nokia!, don’t settle for a 360×640 pixel resolution on this high end N-Series device like the E7 and the N8. If you make my dream device or just the N9, either way please do the screen some justice. The N8xx and N900 both had 800×480 resolutions. Unfortunately, I am a part of supposed minority of people that do not want the N9 to be a phone. One of my favorite devices of all time was the Nokia N810, which when paired with a 3G capable feature phone was a brilliant combination. I’m comfortable with carrying two devices, and felt that the size of the N810 was very comfortable in my pocket. Interestingly enough the Nokia N810, Nokia’s 3rd Internet tablet, was released only 6 months after the original iPhone, but its sister device the N800 was released 6 months before the iPhone/iTouch.
The next item I would like would be a lower end Nokia E-Series device running Symbian^3. What I’m thinking of would likely fit as a great E3-xx device, effectively positioned as the E-Series version of Nokia’s Touch and Type devices, the X3-02 and C3-01. What I like about this device concept is the simplicity of a T9 based business class Nokia phone, similar to the Nokia E52; with the idea of having a touch screen instead of traditional navigation buttons increasing the appeal. You would be amazed at how often people try to navigate on my Nokia E71x as if it was a touch screen. The benefit of running Symbian^3 over the other Touch and Type devices’ Series 40 is that it would integrate more effectively with my work systems, but the T9 aspect prevents it from falling into the cellular carrier classification of ‘smartphone’. Why do I want to avoid that? Because with smartphones I currently pay so much more for my internet access than I do for my home access. Maybe my plan is not right in AT&T’s eyes, but I have some sever philosophical differences of opinion related to how cellular carrier should be run than the US mobile carriers do, so we’ll just have to agree to disagree.
So that is it, that is what I would like to see at CES or sometime within 2011.
For those of you think I’m a Nokia fan boy… maybe your right. Personally, I prefer to look at it as that I don’t like iOS or Android, because I’ll leave Nokia for anyone else providing me what I’m asking for. Unfortunately, Nokia, being the largest cellular manufacturer in the world, and the only one not embracing those other two OSes, is currently my primary choice.