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Nokia World update: If you cant beat ’em, swamp ’em.

Posted in Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on September 2, 2009

Nokia world event in Stuttgart has come and gone… and hasn’t caused much of any flutter! OPK has admitted the “ups and downs”  of late but then has emphasized that there is a “solid plan” in place! With the comments perhaps referring to the company’s slow start in the touchscreen market, Nokia is quick with figures that suggest success for the new line of touchscreen devices. OPK revealed on stage at the packed event that the N97 is selling faster than the N95 and its touchscreen phones have seen 10 million sales in 10 months. Looking forward, Kallasuvo promised that the recently-announced Maemo-based N900 is the “best browsing device” he has seen. The new tablet handset will offer a Mozilla-made mobile browser. (If only for a capacitive screen, this indeed would have been the best browsing device.. Touch QWERTY and all).OPK emphasized that the N900 and also recently announced Booklet 3G are “just the start” for Nokia, promising to “expand boundaries of mobility” with future products.

The releases in this event were the N97 mini, a cut down mass version of the N97, flagship phone from Nokia. 

Coming as a slightly smaller version of the Nokia N97, N97 mini is a 14.2mm thin S60 smartphone – the first to come with Lifecasting with Ovi, which “enables users to update their Facebook status directly from the device’s homescreen.” The Phone sports a 3.2 inch touchscreen display, Homescreen widgets, A-GPS , 5MP Carl Zeiss camera with dual LED flash, 8GB of internal memory, MicroSD card support , Music payback time up to 28 hours  and a stand-by time up to 12 days.Nokia N97 mini will be available for purchase starting next month (October). Its retail price will be of EUR450.

N 97 Mini

The new variation of the N97 to broaden its appeal to an even larger audience.

The Nokia world also saw the debut of the X series phones from Nokia. The X3 and X6 are music oriented phones. The X6 is a high end touch screen Music oriented device which comes bundled with the all you can eat “Comes with Music” service. The feature check list reads 3.2 inch touchscreen display with a 16:9 aspect ratio,  Full web browser and Flash Lite support, A-GPS,  TV-out , 5MP camera with Carl Zeiss lens and dual LED flash, 32GB of internal memory and 35 hours of music playback. Other features include video editing, online sharing, full web browser, Flash Lite support,  Ovi Maps and Playlist DJ. X6

The Nokia X6 is expected to ship in the fouth quarter of 2009 for an estimated retail price of EUR459 before taxes and subsidies.

Nokia X3, is just a simple slider. Nokia X3 is “the first Series 40 Ovi Store-enabled device” and it features stereo speakers, Bluetooth 2.1, 3.5mm headset jack, FM radio, and a 3.2MP camera. The phone will be available in Q4 2009, for €115.

X3

Well! What was it like? If you cant beat ’em, swamp ’em. Per se the phones are good looking devices and that is just it. Nothing really to swoon the hardcores. These devices are testimony to the platformization strategy of Nokia. If something works, flog it till death. They may still find takers though.

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Review:The Nokia Microsoft alliance

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on September 2, 2009

Nokia Microsoft

On August12th, 2009 Microsoft and Nokia announced that, they will be working together to bring native versions of Microsoft office to Nokia Smartphone. This is a huge departure from the situation 2/3 years earlier, when the Espoo based mobile device giant and the Redmond based big daddy of software and services could not seem to find a common ground of association. A lot since then has changed. Even while Nokia and Microsoft still rule supreme in their respective domains, their supremacies have been challenged bitterly. Nokia was caught napping on the Smartphones, User interfaces and Applications. Microsoft similarly was only too happy shipping incremental development versions of their OSs and browsers. Two radical competitors changed all of that for Microsoft and Nokia. Google and Apple changed the rules of the game for good. It was becoming way to boring out there. Then there were others who joined the party! While Nokia lost its way around in the smartphone markets to RIM and the iconic iPhone, Microsoft also started feeling the pinch as most of its bed fellows (Read HTC) jumped ship to the Android army.

The joining of hands was thus obvious and expected! Microsoft would get volumes and scale from Nokia’s sizeable smartphone portfolio, where as Nokia would engage the Microsoft Office suite. Nokia seems to have made a good start on the Maemo platform with N900, its first Symbian-less smartphone/mobile computing device. More than the platform shift, its signals a willingness from Nokia to accept a eco-system product rather than just sticking to its proprietary offerings.

But this is about more than just creating a version of Office for Nokia — the companies say they are working together on the “design, development and marketing of productivity solutions for the mobile professional.” Already rumors are afoot that Nokia will feature Windows based Applications in the Ovi suite. Besides, the Nokia netbook, Booklet 3G is also rumored to run on Windows 7 version (Though Windows 7 is not the best featured OS for netbooks in general).      

Microsoft has also claimed to have developed rich mobile applications for platform other than its Windows Mobile operating system. Over time, the companies plan to release applications for Nokia phones (using the Symbian operating system) that include:

  • The ability to view, edit, create and share Office documents on more devices in more places with mobile-optimized versions of Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft OneNote
  • Enterprise instant messaging and presence, and optimized conferencing and collaboration experience with Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile
  • Mobile access to intranet and extranet portals built on Microsoft SharePoint Server
  • Enterprise device management with Microsoft System Center

The move would make sense for Microsoft as a way to get MS Office onto more smartphones. Nokia and Microsoft are pitching this as a unique alliance, and a way for them to compete with other mobile platforms. Of course, Nokia is the easiest target for Microsoft. Edging on to the popular smartphone platforms managed by Google (Android) and Apple (iPhone) will prove a lot tougher, given the tensions between Microsoft and these two companies. But even then, don’t count out such a move.

This partnership would create a formidable challenge for RIM, more than anyone else. Nokia’s E Series phones with the MS Office would be very potent as business devices!

The partnership is a desperate effort by Nokia and Microsoft to multiply strengths, scale and capabilities. It would be interesting to see the results accruing out of this.Watch this space

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