Another dumb dead piece of meat from Nokia stable?
The Finns are turning up the heat and in style! Two back to back announcements on the mobile computing front seems to have turned the spotlight on Nokia World event on September 2nd at Stuttgart, where it will unveil atleast one of the two new flagship devices on which the fortunes of the beleagured Mobile giant would seem to rest. Lately Samsung, Apple and RIM have taken a lot of sheen away from Nokia lately.
The first would be Nokia’s first foray into the wworld of netbooks, with its Booklet 3G. Nokia Booklet 3G is based on Intel Atom processor, features 10.1” screen, weighs 1.25 kilograms, measures “slightly more than two centimeters” and supports 3G/HSPA and Wi-Fi connectivity as well as A-GPS support. The netbook also sports Nokia’s broad suite of Ovi services. Besides, the mini-laptop comes with an HDMI port for HD video out, a front facing camera for video calling, integrated Bluetooth and an SD card reader. It is rumoured that Booklet 3G runs Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, an operating system that lacks certain security and other features that enterprise users may require. Moreover, the system features 10.1” screen, low-performance Atom processor, lacks DVD playback, but weighs 1.25kg, just like a fully-fledged business-oriented ultra low-voltage notebook. Overall, those peculiarities do not make Nokia Booklet 3G as a good mobile PC for travelling.It does pack a 12 hour Hercules battery which is so in line with Nokia’s DNA! The 12 hour battery is a dream and a differentiator in a world of netbook wannabees!
The world of netbooks is becoming increasingly crowded and the party will hit the deck with the iTablet that is scheduled sometime early next year. So long, it is a rat race and Nokia joins the hoard. While there are many views on which way the device evolution is leading upto, my take is that netbooks are just another step in device evolution and this evolution would finally end somewhere in the smartphone space or thereabouts. In that respect, Nokia could have done better getting its smartphone portfolio and user interface in order, rather than descend into the crowded spaces of Netbooks. We will watch how the Booklet with the Nokia tab does for Nokia. If the prices are as indicated, around the $799 range, then this like the N 97 could end up becoming the non starter. Granted that the device looks neat and dapper, but it is only incremental in what it brings to the table not radical enough.
Overall, it remains to be seen, whether Booklet 3G becomes popular. But at this point it does not seem to be a successful return of Nokia to the world of x86-based personal computers. Instead, Booklet 3G looks like a test vehicle to investigate the needs of Nokia’s clients.
Watch the Nokia Booklet 3G on the following YouTube Videos
Nokia, Intel explore the Open source route for developing the netbook. While this is a step in future for the likes of Nokia and Intel and an extension of their platforms from a new device perspective; it is also significant in terms of development of a third camp apart from Apple and Microsoft. It also holds a lot of promise in terms of benefits from open source. Reproducing the first reactions: http://crave.cnet.co.uk/laptops/0,39029450,49302736,00.htm
Intel and Nokia have announced a long-term relationship that will see the development of Intel-powered, Linux-based handheld mobile-computing devices.
The partnership between the chipmaker and handset manufacturer was announced on Tuesday, 23rd June 2009. Under the deal, the companies will collaborate on several open-source mobile Linux software projects, and Intel will license HSPA/3G modem intellectual property from Nokia.
“This Intel and Nokia collaboration unites and focuses many of the brightest computing and communications minds in the world, and will ultimately deliver open and standards-based technologies, which history shows drive rapid innovation, adoption and consumer choice,” Anand Chandrasekher, the general manager of Intel’s Ultra Mobility Group, said in a statement.
The partners will cooperate on developing common technologies for Intel’s Moblin and Nokia’s Maemo, which are both Linux-based operating systems. Moblin is currently under development for use in netbooks, mobile internet devices (MIDs) and other devices, and Maemo is the operating system that Nokia has used for its N800-series MIDs.
In September, Nokia said the next version of Maemo will incorporate 3G technology for the first time. Until now, devices such as the N810 have relied on Wi-Fi for their data connectivity.
“Enabling common technologies across the Moblin and Maemo software environments will help foster the development of compatible applications for these devices — building on the huge number of off-the-shelf PC compatible applications,” the companies said in their statement. “The open-source projects will be governed using the best practices of the open-source development model.”
The companies also said they will use open-source technologies from Mozilla, oFono, ConnMan, X.Org, BlueZ, D-Bus, Tracker, GStreamer and PulseAudio.
Nokia’s handsets are all based on ARM-based chip architecture, which has become a key rival to Intel’s x86-based architecture. ARM has dominated the mobile phone market, and the x86 is the basis of most desktop computing, but both are now targeting the netbook market.
In a conference call on Tuesday, Chandrasekher said Intel’s deal with Nokia aims to “work this [x86-based] family of architecture into future mobile devices”, but he declined to specify what kinds of devices were being planned, or when they might appear.
Kai Öistämö, Nokia’s device chief, also said in the call that ARM-based architecture “continues to be an important part of Nokia’s future”.
Telecoms analyst Dean Bubley, of Disruptive Analysis, said on Tuesday that the deal suggests Nokia is not confident that its Symbian mobile phone platform — currently in the process of being open-sourced — will “scale to non-phone devices”.
“There is clearly a concerted effort by lots of people, whether it’s in the Android or non-Android Linux community, to have a go at Microsoft and Apple’s incumbency in notebooks,” Bubley said. “The first round of Linux-powered netbooks did not get acceptance in the mass market — average punters preferred XP because they knew how to use it. There is a vision that a Linux-based platform can change that, but I’m really not sure.”
Intel is a prime backer of WiMax, a long-range wireless technology that is a rival to 3G. Bubley hypothesised that, in those markets where WiMax becomes popular, many users will still need 3G as a back-up, due to patchy WiMax coverage and the need to roam into non-WiMax-covered areas.
“Intel could want to create dual-standard products that use both WiMax and 3G,” Bubley suggested.
Lap Top makers Lenovo, Dell, and Acer have announced their ventures into the smart phone space. I had covered a few of these in earlier blogs. http://technologyandtelecom.blogspot.com/2009/02/smartphone-debut-dells-mephone.html http://technologyandtelecom.blogspot.com/2009/02/lenovo-promising-smart-phone-debut.html http://technologyandtelecom.blogspot.com/2009/02/toshiba-timeline-iphone-in-its-sights.html
Now, the king in the mobile space, Nokia takes the battle to the enemy camp by announcing its foray into netbooks. Olli-Pekka Kallasuvuo mentioned in a recent interview that Nokia was “actively looking” at the laptop market as the cellphone and mobile PC markets get closer and closer to convergence (read article http://www.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSTRE51O6Z320090226). This had created the immediate buzz that it was expected to create around the technology geeks and followers around the world.However, this is more than i-fight-you-at- your-home-while-you-fight-me-at-my-home motive out here (meaning Nokia fights the lap top makers with its entry in that segment, even while Lap top makers try to prey on smartphone space). For starters, Nokia was already the largest computer maker in 2008, if the smartphone population are allowed to be counted in as computers.
An interesting line of thought that has featured in Nokia Conversations (Nokia’s informal PR window to the world) is about how “mobile lifestyle” is fusing with “mobile computing” even as internet apps change the mobile phone from a medium of communication to projectors of our selves in the cloud. (Suggest the article as a compulsary read). Essentially, there are three major take outs from the article
1. Mobile devices will have to evolve to more creative usages in networking people.
2. The Cloud will be a platform where people would needto project themselves as a means of communication with others
3. Hence the need for a netbook device!
The article very beautifully explains the device story behind the need to graduate from Mobile Computing to Cloud enabled netbooks. So Nokia’s device strategy follows the convergence story as it unravels and transitions from a N 97/ iPhone to netbook!Interesting times, as industries converge and new paradigms emerge. However the question that pops up is, whether Nokia is doing things one too many? Its 2007 – 2008 strategy has revolved around services and even after a while, Ovi is not exactly “there” in terms of consumers, services, applications and stickiness. The opportunities for Nokia’s software services would surely outweigh the cost of building a commodity consumer electronics device.
The first reaction to this one is Nokia shouldn’t be looking at the netbook space. They’ve got enough on their plates at the moment, the new devices need attention and promotion, it will confuse the marketing message, there’s very little profit in commodity devices…
On the other hand the Netbook can be seen as a natural device extension of the Ovi platform which links up from the consumers to the crowd.
My take on this is Nokia should be looking at its services eco system foremost. Netbooks will seriously not be an differentiator in the age of content and the internet. Investements in the netbook may not be both time, investment and attention consuming for very little returns.