Archive for May, 2011
The Nokia N8 was revealed back in April 2010 and released just in the nick of time in September 2010. Out of the box the browser was crippled and there was no portrait QWERTY keyboard, but we heard that a firmware update would be released in January 2011. Unfortunately, that was just the PR 1.1 update and was rather lame. We now see the release of the Nokia E6 and X7 with a statement at the end of the post, “And fear not Nokia N8, E7, C7 and C6 fans – Symbian Anna will be available for you in the coming months.”
Seriously, the coming months? So you expect people who paid a healthy chunk of cash for a decent smartphone with promised updates to get it where it should have been at launch to hold onto the device for about a year to get that update? We saw details of Anna revealed back in February and today we have the Nokia Astound, Nokia E6, and Nokia X7 all with Anna loaded out of the box. I can’t think of a rational reason why Nokia doesn’t get Anna out to existing and loyal Nokia owners of the N8, E7, C7, and C6. However, I can think of many reasons people will be jumping ship to go to other devices with treatment like this.
Granted, Anna is not a revolutionary update, but after using the Nokia Astound the QWERTY keyboard, much better email UI and appointment support, better browser, and more are enough to keep me using Symbian for several more months. My wife is ready to throw her blue N8 out the window though with constant proximity sensor failures, lockups, and no portrait QWERTY keyboard. I convinced her to get the N8 in large part because I told her Nokia would be providing an update soon. I am no longer going to tell her that and am going to start looking for a good Android device for her that she can count on.
It is lack of attention to the loyal Nokia customer that has me concerned about the future of Nokia and combined with what I have seen with Microsoft there is a lot that these companies are going to have to prove to me before I am completely sold out.
I am working on a post comparing my Nokia N8 to the Nokia Astound with Symbian Anna so you can see what Anna brings to the Symbian platform. If you want Anna now, you can get a Nokia Astound at T-Mobile or look around for a Nokia E6 or Nokia X7. Unfortunately, the release of these two new devices today did not occur in the United States so you have to pay the expensive import prices or just to see if they ever come to the U.S.
The Nokia E6 continues the tradition of fabulous QWERTY Symbian smartphones with the added functionality of a touch screen experience. Some people swear by the E71, E72, E73 form factor and should be pleased with the E6 that also has an 8 megapixel camera and 8GB internal memory. I was a big fan of this form factor and may just have to get an E6 too.
The X7 is a rather funky looking smartphone, at least in photos. However, maybe it looks better in person and the 4 inch display sounds good to me. It also has an 8 megapixel camera and 8GB internal memory.
Are you interested in either of these new devices?
Today, Nokia issued a press release lowering the Devices & Services 2nd quarter 2011 outlook and updates for the full year 2011 outlook. This really is not surprising news after they announced future support of Windows Phone on their smartphones, but I am a bit surprised by the statement that “This update is primarily due to lower than previously expected average selling prices.” Really? The prices of high end smartphones dropped over a year ago and has held fairly steady so why is this unexpected?
Nokia expected net sales to be in the range of EUR 6.1 to 6.6 billion, but stated it will now be substantially lower (the new expectation was not revealed). They also stated it is no longer appropriate for them to provide annual targets and given the uncertainty with Windows Phone and MeeGo this is probably a good strategy.
The press release states that Nokia is taking immediate action to address the issues that are impacting its Devices & Services business and these include:
- Nokia is continuing to invest to bring new innovative capabilities to its Symbian line up. In addition, Nokia has taken price actions on its current smartphone portfolio, and Nokia is intensifying its focus on retail point-of-sales marketing.
- Nokia started shipping its new dual-SIM devices last week.
- Nokia remains pleased with its progress on its Windows Phone strategy, and has increased confidence that the first Nokia product with Windows Phone will ship in the fourth quarter 2011.
- Nokia remains committed to its target to reduce its Devices & Services non-IFRS operating expenses by EUR 1 billion for the full year 2013, compared to the full year 2010, and plans to implement these reductions as quickly and effectively as possible.
- After the transition, Nokia continues to target Devices & Services net sales to grow faster than the market and Devices & Services non-IFRS operating margin to be 10% or more.
They are confident they will release a Windows Phone-powered Nokia device prior to the end of 2011 and IMHO they must do this in order keep people’s interest in their brand.
Nokia will provide its second quarter results and more details when it reports its Q2 2011 results on July 21, 2011.
I was chatting with Dieter and told him I was quite pleased with the short time I spent with the Nokia Astound and that I was thinking of picking one up for the site. He gave me the thumbs up and was going to get one for me to use, but I decided to just visit a local store to see what I could work out with the expectation I would pay the full $299.99 (before 9.5% tax) no contract price. I went to my local T-Mobile store in Federal Way and was shocked by what happened next.
I went into the store and there were six employees standing around with only one other customer being helped. Richard asked me kindly what I would like and I told him I wanted to buy a Nokia Astound off contract. He told me they had them in stock and he would see what he could do for me. He said he thought he could work out something in the system because there were some special offers on accessories. After logging into the system and trying some different things, he worked out a deal where he was able to give me the following gear and still cut my total price out the door to $255.08 that included the 9.5% sales tax.
- Nokia Astound (shown as only $99.99 on the receipt)
- Jabra Stone 2 Bluetooth headset ($129.99 down to $90.99)
- MicroUSB car charger ($29.99 down to $20.99)
- Nokia Astound 2-pack screen protector ($14.99 down to $10.49)
- Nokia Astound black gel skin case ($14.99 down to $10.49)
I was amazed by what he was able to get for me while still saving me just over $73. My account stayed the same, my excellent family plan remained untouched, and I ended up saving money and walking out with some great accessories. If my head wasn’t lost in the clouds as he was handing me all this gear I would have asked for a 32GB microSD card instead of the Bluetooth headset since I need those more than headsets.
If you are considering the Nokia Astound, you may want to visit your local store and see if they have any special offers for you as well. Richard mentioned that the future AT&T purchase had something to do with his ability to offer me all of these accessories and knock a couple hundred off of the phone price too.
I put my SIM card into my new Nokia Astound and plan to use it as my primary device for a while and create a Guide page for the site. I already like that I can use Swype in portrait orientation and the email client is MUCH better!
I enjoyed using the Nokia Astound and am seriously considering picking one up so I can put together some featured articles here on Nokia Experts. I find it to be more functional than my Nokia N8, primarily due to the upgraded OS with a much better email client and other features. If you want a C7 with Nokia Anna loaded onto it and a device that has real gold plating then take a look at this video below. I have to admit the Nokia Oro is one sexy device. Maybe Dieter will purchase one for me to put together a Guide here on Nokia Experts 😉
Unfortunately, it won’t be available until Q3 and the price is upwards of EUR800!
Last week I posted about the Nokia Care US contest and let you know I entered with a video showing how to get Amazon Video On Demand movies and Zune Pass music on your Nokia device. Voting opened up today and runs through 24 May. If you like my video and would like to see more coverage of the Nokia Astound here on Nokia Experts please vote for my video.
To vote for my video, post this from your Twitter account:
@NokiaCareUS Amazon Video & Zune Pass on Nokia N8 #NokiaCareUSContest
You can check out all the video contest entries on the Nokia Care US YouTube site. If you don’t like my video, but like another, then please vote for it too since a vote gets you entered into a drawing for a Nokia N8 (available only to US residents).
Here is a look at my video entry again too:
Thanks everyone and best of luck to all entrants, many of them are my friends so whoever wins deserves it as there are some great tips in there.
I noticed some Nokia people referring to Ovi Maps as Nokia Maps a couple of months ago and today Nokia announced that Ovi services will be rebranded as Nokia services starting with new Nokia devices coming in July and August. There is no planned disruption or discontinuation of services, simply a rebranding of them. I don’t think the Ovi branding ever really caught on in the U.S. and this rebranding may have something to do with the eventual Windows Phone 7 adoption.
Nokia’s EVP and Chief Marketing Officer, Jerri DeVard explains the shift:
We have made the decision to change our service branding from Ovi to Nokia. By centralizing our services identity under one brand, not two, we will reinforce the powerful master brand of Nokia and unify our brand architecture while continuing to deliver compellingopportunities and experiences for partners and consumers alike.
This transition in branding and singular focus sounds like a good idea to me and will reduce the number of questions I get from people about Ovi. I wonder if the Ovi Store will be rebranded as the Nokia Store.
I just saw the official T-Mobile Twitter account post that they have several phones available for the next six hours for FREE with new account or eligible upgrade. Visit this page to see the deals that include the Nokia Astound. I would love to pick up one of these, but I already have five lines on T-Mobile and none are currently eligible for an upgrade.
I wish that carriers would offer some kind of discount to existing customers who are still within their contract because that would give us incentive to continue signing up for future contracts knowing we could get the latest and greatest phones rather than having to wait every two years for any kind of discount.
One developer that has been very supportive of the Symbian platform and continues to actively develop and improve its product is Nimbuzz. They just announced version 3.01 and posted the following 9 reasons you should be excited about the update:
- Improved call quality thanks to peer to peer call connectivity.
- More space for your chats for full screen chatting experience.
- Chat bubbles bring an iPhone like chat experience to your (Nokia) Symbian phone.
- Custom wallpapers in the chat screen choose a color or an image from your gallery to display as background for your chats.
- Custom color for the text font in your chat screen
- Call Quality Indicator so you can check the expected call quality before you make a call.
- Free Avatars choose new and exciting avatars for your profile picture from N-World
- Last Seen Online – shows you the last time your friend was seen on Nimbuzz.
- Fast group selection straight from your contact list.
Make sure to read their full blog entry that offers more details for these 9 reasons.
I like the looks of the new chat screen and ability to enlarge the viewable area. I downloaded the update to my Nokia N8 and look forward to testing it out.
Nokia has been running a lot of contests and Nokia Experts readers seem to have pretty good luck at winning so I wanted to share a US-based contest going on now that has five days left to enter. The Nokia Care US contest is accepting videos that show different “How-tos” for Nokia devices in just three minutes. The contest deadline is 16 May, next Monday.
I entered the video embedded below (it was tough to cut it to 3 minutes and get all the steps in there) that shows how to enjoy Amazon Video On Demand movies and Zune Pass music on your Nokia device. I thought it was timely given that Windows Phone 7 will eventually be on Nokia hardware so using the method I described you can get a glimpse of the Zune Pass functionality on your Nokia device. My video is now in the contest playlist and next week they will Tweet out the voting start with directions on how to vote.
Voting starts 17 May and goes through 24 May so I will post again when it starts so you can all vote for my video if you think it is worthy. Voters also have a chance to win a Nokia N8 so it is in your best interest to vote as well. Remember, you can only vote once during the voting period so make it count 😉
The grand prize is a Nokia E7 and if I win I will post a review of the device here since I have yet to get a loaner eval unit and have only seen it at Nokia World last year. The runner-up prize is a Nokia Astound, which I would also love to win and would follow up here with more articles on that device.