Archive for September, 2010
The folks over at Nokia Mobile Blog wrote that they talked with Nokia USA and were told that there is a queue for pre-orders, but that those who ordered first will see the device start shipping tomorrow. I pre-ordered mine as soon as the site went live so should be one of the first ones in the queue and I also paid for the expedited shipping so in a best case scenario my N8 could arrive on Friday. I have not seen any official word from Nokia and have not seen any other N8 devices shipping around the world so I am a bit skeptical that these devices will actually start shipping tomorrow. If they did start tomorrow, then Nokia could say they met the Q3 timeframe they stated back in April.
The USA was one of the first countries to offer pre-orders so it is entirely possible that they might start shipping. I certainly hope so and you can bet we will have lots of coverage here on Nokia Experts as soon as my N8 gets here.
UPDATE: Nokia just issued this press release that states the N8 devices have indeed started shipping to customers! This means that I may actually have my own N8 this weekend. The N8 has received the highest number of consumer pre-orders in Nokia’s history and I know I am excited for the device to arrive.
UPDATE 2: While I was traveling to Alaska the folks over at PhoneScoop called the Nokia USA store and apparently we won’t see our pre-ordered devices until the end of October. Not the best way to improve relations with the US. I wonder if I can find one in a different country and have it sent since they all have the same radio band support anyway.
We all have feelings and opinions on what Nokia should do to be successful, but many of our thoughts and opinions are based on what we want or see from the outside looking in. A buddy sent me an article, now posted on the Mobiletrax website, written by an analyst with a PhD. I think this author is probably a very intelligent person, but some of his recommendations appear to be way too focused on the US market. Actually, just about everything he recommends ends up turning Nokia into an American focused market and even though we have some enthusiastic smartphone buyers, I still believe the US market is small, young, and behind the times in many respects which is in large part due to our wireless carrier system.
Nokia obviously has to take steps to generate excitement for the company in the high end smartphone market and it would be wonderful for Nokia to be a household name in the US again, but that is going to take years and they will not be taking the radical steps that this author recommends.
The author offers recommendations for the industrial design, operating system, applications, services, analyst relations, and corporate headquarters. While the statement about allowing people to use a special SIM card to change operating systems may sound interesting, it makes no sense at all for Nokia if they want to offer a Nokia experience and not just turn into a hardware shell maker.
I think Nokia is taking major steps to help developers, they seem to be focusing their services and they are improving the Ovi Store..
The recommendation to move Nokia from Finland to the U.S. is the most far reaching recommendation he made and it actually seemed so ridiculous that the author almost made me overlook the rest of the article. He actually recommended Atlanta and that had me rolling on the floor laughing like crazy. Can you imagine a bunch of Finnish engineers and managers moving to the hot, humid, and heavily populated city of Atlanta? Come on now, just because they have a major airline hub does not make them a desirable city to live in. Nokia’s identity is Finland and the people of Finland would not be happy with a move to the US. In that same recommendation, the author states that Nokia needs to adopt more of the US-centric culture. So by this does he mean the culture of materialism, the “I need it now” mentality, the government and people owe me something belief, and the show as much sex on TV as we can culture? I LOVE the USA, have served in the US military, and think there are amazing people in the U.S. Then again, I also believe our culture has moved to be a very selfish culture that only sees outside ourselves to help others in time of emergencies.
I have talked before about using JoikuSpot on both my S60 and Maemo devices and it is one of the first apps I recommend you install on your devices. JoikuSpot turns your Nokia device into a WiFi hotspot and while there is a free Lite version, the full Premium version has no closed ports or other limitations. I received an email this morning that you can buy the Premium version for only EUR5 ($6.80) today and tomorrow.
Android 2.2 has this capability integrated into the device and I sure wish Nokia would also do this with the Symbian and MeeGo platforms moving forward. Unlike carrier locked devices though, at least you can easily add this with an inexpensive and effective application.
A few weeks ago Nokia held a small event in California where they invited some people over for a beach party. At first I couldn’t figure out why so many of the attendees were in suits and then I realized Nokia was trying to show how the E73 Mode can be used for both work and play with the different modes. I honestly find the E73 Mode to be a fantastic device and keep going back to it as my daily driver with T-Mobile.
I admit it was a bit scary watching the people in the video in kayaks and on personal watercraft tooling around with the E73 Mode in hand and I sure hope no one dropped the device in the water during the event. Then again, the E73 Mode is so rock solid it could probably survive such a dip.
I may have been kidding around a bit in my earlier post when I said I might want to register for the CTIA Developer Day to try to get a Nokia N8, but as I look at the Calling All Innovators, North America events and training page I am seriously thinking about the opportunities of developing for Symbian. Nokia is having some major training events with Mobile Monday and Qt training events being held right here in the Seattle area. I haven’t programmed anything in years, but understand I need to bone up on C++ first so I may pick up a few books and get cracking since I do have some ideas for apps I would like to see on the N8 and future Symbian devices.
The possibility of winning thousands of dollars by developing good apps is also a valid reason for considering development for Symbian. If Nokia can get someone like me excited about the opportunities, I think they may generate some excitement for these events in the developer community as well.
I just posted on the North American Calling All Innovators contest and then started checking out the contest site in more detail. As I stated in that post I was wondering what device people would be using to download the applications to, but if you go to the Judges and Awards page you can see writing about New Device Tracking Period and New Device sales. What is this mysterious New Device? All the evidence suggests it is a Nokia N8. I think blue and orange Nokia N8 devices would perfectly match the blue and orange AT&T colors, don’t you?
More evidence of this is on the Rules page where the details state, “Qualifying apps must be designed, developed, fully compatible with, and published for, the Nokia N8…” Wow, doesn’t get much clearer than that, does it? I can’t imagine that Nokia is just counting on those of us who will be buying SIM-unlocked N8s and the evidence is mounting that AT&T will be picking up the N8.
OK, here is more evidence in the contest pages, “Nokia will release a new device (“New Device”) in the United States which is compatible with Apps developed for the N8, in early 2011 (“Release Date”).” Uh, OK, this HAS to be the N8 then.
As you all know I have been a bit pessimistic about Nokia and North America, but then wrote the post about not caring too much because I am a fanboy who is sticking with them anyway. It turns out that Nokia wasn’t just giving lip service to North America and is actually taking steps to reach out. They just announced the Calling All Innovators, North America contest in partnership with AT&T and are having a full Nokia Developer Day at CTIA in early October. I may just have to start developing apps so I can get a Nokia N8 developer pack too
This contest follows the very successful one that concluded at Nokia World 2010 and is designed for developers around the world to create apps for North American consumers. AT&T and Nokia will be the judges of the apps and each developer participating in the CTIA developer session, held in October, will receive a Nokia N8 developer pack from Nokia.
As stated by Purnima Kockikar, VP Forum Nokia:
The commitment from Nokia is a clear message that we are serious about the North American market. Developers have the tools, the support from AT&T and the marketing power of Nokia to get visibility for their apps. Additionally, developers can make their Qt-based app available in Ovi Store to Nokia customers globally reaching tens of millions of customers.
There are 17 categories for app submission and consumers will contribute to finalist selection with the number of downloads counting towards part of the winning criteria. Will AT&T be getting the Nokia N8 officially? It seems that we are going to need devices here to download these candidate apps and I can’t imagine Nokia wants us using the Nokia E71x to do so.
As you know I wrote up my Nokia World 2010 closing thoughts on Nokia Experts and also posted thoughts on the lack of any effect of NW 2010 on the US market and have to admit I was a bit cynical in those posts. I am an admittedly a Nokia fanboy, why else would I run this site?, and was caught up in the joy of awesome hardware last week at Nokia World while hearing little talk about the US market. I had some time to stew over this a bit and wrote these posts last night while fighting off a nasty cold that is overtaking me after returning from my trip to England. On the advice of a friend, Ricky Cadden, I went back through some of my posts here on Nokia Experts and realized I will always be a Nokia fanboy and I cannot be too harsh on Nokia when it comes to the US because honestly it is quite a bit different than other markets and I will give them more time to figure it out.
CDMA and multiple WCDMA frequencies
At first I was going to let Nokia off the hook by agreeing that the CDMA vs GSM and multiple frequencies used by US carriers is a good excuse to skip the US market. Then I realized that HTC, Samsung, RIM, and others have been able to make devices for all of these carriers so there really is no excuse for Nokia not to spend some money and work hard with US wireless carriers to get their devices out into Americans hands. Surprisingly Nokia is doing well supporting the add AWS (1700 MHz) frequency of T-Mobile USA, but T-Mobile is also one of the best carriers for Nokia with limited crapware installation and excellent data and voice pricing plans.
You might be thinking that Nokia will have a better chance when LTE is rolled out, but I believe we will see the same multiple frequency issue even if every carrier will then have SIM cards. To have an impact in America, Nokia will have to work with the carriers to offer subsidized devices or they will always be a niche player with devices only bought by those of us astute enough to understand the power of a Nokia smartphone.
Nokia works with media and bloggers
I have some good carrier relationships with Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile along with relationships with HTC so I have the chance to try out quite a few devices for ZDNet reviews. That said, I have never had any better relationship than with Nokia who sometimes lets writers use their devices for long term loans so that more complete coverage can be provided. In the days when the Nokia Nseries Blogger Relations program was up and running there was no one that could stand up to the way Nokia allowed us to check out early devices and provide honest feedback, both positive and negative.
As you know, I attended the two day Nokia World event last week and posted a few articles centered on the hardware that we saw in the Experience Lounge areas. I attended the keynotes, met with a few executives and recorded a podcast with the Nokia Conversations team. I then spent the rest of the week touring London and the SouthEast English countryside with my friend Rafe Blandford from All About Symbian. This was my first Nokia World event and I am not quite sure I will attend again as it takes several days to travel and cover the event while consuming my limited vacation time from my “normal day job” while having a negligible affect on my ZDNet or Nokia Experts page views. I would have thought that more US consumers would have wanted in read more about Nokia, but it seems that US consumers have given up on Nokia while Nokia hasn’t shown much affection for the US market.
UPDATE: Please see my new post for a further explanation of my love of Nokia.
I live blogged the opening keynote and it started out with a bang when Niklas Savander showed how Nokia connects people of the world and played a clip from Apple while stating Nokia’s work is more than a feel good tagline. He quoted impressive global stats and also stated, “They work day in and day out, no matter how you hold them.” The Nokia is back statement was also made and his talk fired people up and showed that Nokia is not going to be a pushover in the smartphone market.
Anssi Vanjoki then appeared on stage and jumped right in asking how people can judge the N8 based on some screenshots and the dashboard without even using the device. He revealed some impressive devices and then talked about Nokia’s focus on sustainability and their care of our world.
Purnima Kockikar appeared on stage to talk about Symbian development, which is understandable given that this was a combined event with developers and without them the devices would not be as compelling. The Rovio CEO was a part of this development story and I wish they would have had the developer of Gravity speak since that is THE application that makes Nokia smartphone bearable to use.
The keynote should have ended here as it was already getting a bit long winded, but then we heard from a Vodafone executive who went on for over 20 minutes on stuff that people at Nokia World probably didn’t care much about.
Overall, I was pleased with the opening keynote addresses as the first two showed that Nokia has some fire in their belly and is not going to stand still and lose their worldwide leading market share.
There were also good keynote addresses on the 2nd day from Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Mary McDowell.
Nokia showed off four upcoming Symbian^3 devices at Nokia World and I was impressed by each of them. The updated Symbian UI is pretty slick, while still having many of the same elements from S60. This is a good thing, IMHO, for those Symbian users who don’t want to see a radical change from what they used for years while still offering some of the eye candy and slick functionality seen in the latest and greatest smartphone platforms.
Here are my posts with videos and photos of the devices:
The ClearBlack Display technology looks awesome on the E7 and C6 and it is unfortunate the N8 wasn’t able to get that technology prior to launch. There were N8 devices in just about every employees’ hands and Nokia gave out something like 1000 to developers. None of the media had a chance to get an evaluation device to use, which seems like a bit of a lost opportunity to me. It would have been great for Nokia to let people use the N8 for a couple of days to take and upload photos and video as part of their Nokia World coverage, but I also understand they didn’t want people slamming the software for being buggy since it doesn’t appear it has been finalized yet. This too is interesting as the device was supposed to ship in Q3 and Q3 ends in nine days so it looks like Nokia will not be meeting the timeline they stated back in April for the N8. They need to get the N8 release right though since they haven’t had a great high end smartphone release since the N95.