Nokia CEO tells it like it is in leaked internal memo

Nokia CEO tells it like it is in leaked internal memoI wasn’t sure what to think about new Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, but after reading the leaked internal memo on Engadget I have new respect for him and am getting more excited about the future of Nokia. As much as I love my orange Nokia N8, it has felt like we have been living in a weird limbo world since mid-2009 when the rather lame Nokia N97 was released.

We never really knew what the strategy was with the OS as we saw S60 evolving, then Maemo released, then Maemo killed, then MeeGo talked about and after reading what Mr. Elop wrote Nokia may not have known internally where they were headed either.

A couple of quotes from the memo that struck me personally were:

The first iPhone shipped in 2007, and we still don’t have a product that is close to their experience. Android came on the scene just over 2 years ago, and this week they took our leadership position in smartphone volumes. Unbelievable.

I still believe there are several innovations and design elements (penta band radio, USB on-the-go, HDMI out, fantastic aluminum in colors) of the N8 where it does beat the iPhone, but Mr. Elop mentions the experience and that is indeed where Nokia has fallen down.

Many of us have said Nokia has been too slow to change with the times and they invented many of these technologies that Apple has been perfecting so they needed to get off the pot. Mr. Elop acknowledges this so it was nice to see we weren’t just crazy thinking things were too slow. Nokia seemed to move along at their own pace, but it sounds like that is NOT going to happen now with Mr. Elop at the helm.

Nokia will be holding their Capital Markets Day on Friday where Mr. Elop will reveal his future strategy. There are rumors that he might partner with Microsoft and release Windows Phone 7 devices or go with Android in an HTC-like multiple platform approach. As a fan of both Nokia and Windows Phone 7 you know what I would prefer. If Windows Phone 7 is brought to Nokia hardware then get ready to see a LOT more writing here on Nokia Experts as WP7 is my personal preferred platform at this time.

What do you think of the memo and Mr. Elop’s statements?

Nokia Bubbles makes utilities and screen lock more fun

Last week I heard a lot about a new Nokia Beta Labs utility called Nokia Bubbles and I finally went and downloaded it for my Nokia N8. Nokia Bubbles is a utility that lets you interact with your N8 in a rather unique way to perform several different functions, such as unlocking your device, responding to new messages, managing your profile, enabling the flashlight (doesn’t work on N8 with Xenon though), and many more. Check out the more info page for more about what Nokia Bubbles can do and view the video below as well.

Bubbles appears when you press the Apps key while your device is in sleep mode and then you grab a bubble and drag it to a drop point to perform the action.

I am having fun with it and plan to see if my wife likes it on her Nokia N8. I have been playing with it a LOT more and Bubbles is a real kick to have on your device. BTW, while the Xenon flash doesn’t work on the N8, using the Flashlight bubble will turn your display fully white. Any readers try out Bubbles yet?

Nokia N8 firmware PR 1.1 available, this is not the BIG one

I just read over on All About Symbian that a minor firmware update is available now for the Nokia N8. Unfortunately, this is NOT the one we have all been waiting for with the new web browser and portrait QWERTY keyboard support, but it does look to improve some aspects of the device.

The changelog, as posted by All About Symbian, includes:

  • Web updated to
  • Quickoffice updated to 6.4.166, editing functions now enabled on the N8 (i.e. don’t have to pay to upgrade), improved zooming functions
  • Adobe Reader updated to 2.5.653
  • Big update to Nokia Email; performance improved; ‘unread emails’ flag added to homescreen widget; meeting requests can be accepted directly from email invitations; maps integration, which means people can view the meeting location on the map when the address is mentioned in the location field in the invite
  • General performance improvements
  • Dialer now works in landscape mode
  • Previous performance updates are rolled in and, in the full (Ovi Suite-installed, >100MB) image, there’s the facility to provide a better working starting point than hard resetting a PR 1.0 device

One fix that is actually quite important for me is the ability to now respond to meeting requests in email. This limitation actually kept me from using my N8 at times since I need to be able to respond to these for work.

I plan to perform the update this morning, but REALLY want to see the 2.0 update with the improved browser and QWERTY keyboard support. I am not seeing it available yet, but will keep trying. Make sure to access the Device Manage by entering *#0000# in the dialer to check for the update. You can also go to /Settings/Phone/Phone management/Device updates to check for the update. This update WILL NOT be found in Software Updates, which is where I went first too :)

Nokia E7 finally arriving in stores, no word on US availability though

Nokia E7 finally arriving in stores, no word on US availability thoughNokia issued a press release today stating that the Nokia E7 was finally arriving in select markets. The Nokia USA site doesn’t have it up for pre-order yet and the only one I could find on Amazon shows a price of $849 with a due in stock date of 31 March. I personally am very happy with my N8 and can’t justify these high prices for a phone with overall less capability than the N8.

The E7 is definitely an attractive device with the large 4 inch ClearBlack display and full QWERTY keyboard. I am not a big fan of the non-expandable 16GB memory and 8 megapixel camera when I have the N8 with 16GB and a microSD card slot with 12 megapixel camera and Xenon flash. The E7 does have the USB on-the-go feature and HDMI out capability though.

The E7 is designed as a business-focused device with some of the Eseries features such as a full version of an Office application and VPN support. I do hope to get one for an evaluation period because I did enjoy using it at Nokia World last year. Any readers looking to pick up the Nokia E7?

What’s your Appitype?

What's your Appitype?I received an email from Nokia linking to a fun little quiz that gathers data on the apps you use and then tells you what type of app user you are. Visit the What’s your Appitype? page and go through the eight simple questions. Nokia is working with Cornell University sociologist and professor Trevor Pinch on this analysis and as you can see below there are some interesting results for US smartphone owners.

My quiz results

live-wire_MI took the quiz and was told I am a Live Wire. Here is the definition of a Live Wire from the quiz site:

You’re a realist who enjoys technical, outdoor and athletic pursuits. Clever and investigative, you’re sociable, have lots of friends but also seek adventure and relish a good challenge. You’re reliable and productive, and this is reflected in the apps you download which tend to be a mix of health/ fitness, social and travel-related apps.

Interestingly, I would have to say that is just about spot on and very truthful. The quiz also told me the Nokia C7 is my ideal smartphone and that actually is a very attractive device that I would pick up if I didn’t already have a love my orange Nokia N8.

You can check out the Nokia Conversations site for a short description of each App Type. Let us know what you are in the comments.

Study data results

I can be found with 25 to 40 apps on my smartphone, but generally only use about 5 main ones every single day and most are there for those times when I might need them, such as games. I also live in the West region (as described below) and personally do enjoy music applications as I have mentioned here before. Check out some of the data captured so far.

National Key Facts:

  • 68 per cent of people in the USA have up to 30 apps on their device, with men more likely to download an app (83 per cent) vs. women (69 per cent).
  • The most popular apps to download are social networking (39 per cent), games (37 per cent), music (26 per cent), news/information and utilities (21 per cent).
  • The most popular apps people actually use are social networking (32 per cent), games (27 per cent), news/information (19 per cent) and utilities (18 per cent).
  • Women (35 per cent) are much more into social networking than men (28 per cent), with the majority of younger users downloading and using these types of app.
  • 48 per cent of people like to download apps because they know they’ll benefit their life.
  • Most smartphone users frequently rely on apps throughout the day (42 per cent) while a further 14 per cent log on and use them once a day.
  • 35 per cent of people use apps they have when at home while 26 per cent use them whilst travelling around their town or city.
  • 51 per cent of Americans only download the free apps available for their phone.

Regional highlights:

Midwest key facts

  • 63 per cent of people in the Midwest have up to 20 apps on their device.
  • Keen socialisers, those in the Midwest use social networking apps the most (49 per cent) with 15 per cent citing that they could not live without them.
  • 46 per cent of people from the Midwest frequently use the apps on their smartphones at various points throughout the day – more than in any other region.

North East key facts

  • 49 per cent of those in the North East download social networking apps – more than any other region.
  • 45 per cent of people in the North East download gaming apps – more than in any other region.
  • 50 per cent of those in the North East like to download apps because they feel that they will benefit their life.
  • Almost one in four in the North East (24 per cent) use the apps on their smartphone on their commute to or from work – twice as much as any other region.

West key facts

  • 18 per cent in the Western US use music apps – more than in any other region.
  • 16 per cent in the Western US download apps two or three times a week – more than in any other American region.
  • Almost one in five in Western US (18 per cent) use the apps on their smartphone mostly at work – more than in any other region.

South key facts

  • One in four (25 per cent) of those in the Southern portion of the US are likely to download news and information apps – more than in any other American region.
  • 53 per cent of those in the South only download the free apps available for their phone.

Nokia offers Nokia Reader RSS app in Beta Labs

Like most of you, I am a very busy person and don’t have time to sit around clicking links to hundreds of sites to get my daily news. I have been using Google Reader for years as an RSS aggregator and also use this through Gravity on my Nokia N8. I just read over on the Nokia Conversations site that a new Nokia Beta Labs product is available for reading RSS feeds. The Nokia Reader app looks pretty slick, as you can see in the video below, and I just downloaded it to my Nokia N8.

If you are reading this site, then you likely know about RSS and use some kind of reader to browse through information. The cool functions in this new Nokia Reader app include a home screen widget and push notifications. I would LOVE to see support for Google Reader sync so I did not have to setup all my feeds in another application, but this is an early beta so maybe we will see this added. They should have support for importing OPML files though since setting things up by searching directories or manually typing URLs is a bit tedious.

Nokia Reader is compatible with S60 5th Edition (excluding Nokia 5800 XpressMusic) and Symbian^3 devices. Nokia Reader has been tested to work with Nokia N97, Nokia N97 Mini, Nokia X6, Nokia N8 and Nokia C7.

Any readers try this out yet?

Ovi Daily App review: Usablenet optimized web apps

Ovi Daily App logoI love checking out applications on my smartphones and I was pleased when Nokia reached out to me asking if I wanted to help check out some apps and post reviews over on the Ovi Daily App site. Of course I jumped on the opportunity to offer some variety over on the site, along with several other writers, and my first review is now live. Please go and check out my review of four Usablenet optimized web apps and then visit the Ovi Store for over 100 more from them.

At first I was thinking there wouldn’t be much to these apps that are essentially optimized websites. However, the four that I selected to check out are directly applicable to my life and actually offer a greatly enhanced web experiences, all for free. Since the current browser on Symbian^3 devices is still the older S60 browser, it helps to find apps that actually make the browser experience good. Maybe when the new updated browser is released you may find it better to visit the websites for these companies, but given how functional and enjoyable these apps were on my N8 I think I will likely stick with them even after the update.

I particularly like the Dell app where I was able to quickly search out the unlocked Nokia deals. The FedEx one is also handy since I send most of my evaluation gear back via my FedEx account. Do you find any of the Usablenet apps useful?

Gravity update adds integrated browser and enhanced Facebook support

gravitykeyboardI have talked a number of times about Gravity here on Nokia Experts and can’t say enough about this fantastic application. The application is so good that it keeps me using Nokia devices more than other devices and honestly, without Gravity I likely would have stopped using many of my Nokia devices and moved on. I saw on Twitter that Jan Ole Suhr released a new version of Gravity with some cool new features that seem to be pushing Nokia to step up to the plate.

Gravity is not just a Twitter client, but has support for Facebook, Google Reader, and Foursquare all in a single application that is well worth the $10. I have purchased something like 4 or 5 licenses so far for my devices and am happy to support great developers.

You can download this new version here and for a fairly detailed walk-through of all the new features and updates I recommend you check out Nitish Kumar’s blog post.

Here are the main new features and improvements:

  • Embedded web browser
  • Split screen keyboard
  • Enhanced Facebook module with conversation view

gravitygooglereaderI was testing out the latest alpha version before and love that I can enter text and see the context of why I am entering text using the keyboard and hope Nokia provides this split screen capability with an update.

The embedded web browser is pretty slick and is good for checking a quick link in a Tweet rather than going out to the default browser.

The enhanced Facebook support is actually what interests me most with this latest update as I have been using Facebook more and more lately with more family and friends joining the social network.

What is your favorite newest feature or improvement?

Does the Nokia N8 excel in the under-hyped features?

Does the Nokia N8 excel in the under-hyped features?I was reading an article written by my buddy, Philip Berne, over on Phonescoop that discussed all of the over-hyped features us smartphone enthusiasts focus on a bit too much. We are into the latest tech and features while “normal” people likely do not care much about these features. Philip talks about 4G, video calls, dual-core processors, HD video recording, and NFC technology. The funny thing is when you read the section on the under-hyped features that really matter it is pretty clear that a device like the Nokia N8 is exactly what Philip should probably consider.

The under-hyped features he mentions that are important to him are call quality, a good camera (Xenon flash is mentioned), and threaded text messaging. The Nokia N8 leads the world in call quality and the best camera on any smartphone while also having a very enjoyable and functional threaded text messaging application.

Are you focused on the over-hyped features? Do you think we should stop focusing too much on technologies that won’t be applicable to the masses for 6 months to a year?

Why is the press leaving off half the story concerning the Ovi Music Unlimited changes?

Why is the press leaving off half the story concerning the Ovi Music Unlimited changes?You may notice on here and on ZDNet that I try not to post too many rumors and news right away since so much of it today seems to come from fairly unreliable sources and I would rather wait and get the truth with some of my own personal perspective out there. This morning I woke up and started reading Twitter before I went for my run and saw Tweets all stating that Nokia was shutting down and killing Ovi Music Unlimited service. The problem with Twitter was that there was no context to this news or the rest of the message that stated they indeed stopped selling new subscriptions back on 31 December 2010 in order to make way for new services and that those with the service would still get full support.

I highly recommend you read the Nokia Conversations post for the full story that actually has me excited about the possibilities of these new services. The whole Ovi Music Unlimited service was never even applicable to the North American market so I don’t know why anyone in the North American market is even reporting on the news, except for the apparent need to find ways to slam Nokia whenever possible. Actually, when you do a Google search for the news I am very disappointed in the main stream media’s irresponsible reporting on products that are not even available in the US and very little, if any, mention that the reason is also tied to new upcoming services being rolled out.

As you can read in the story from Nokia, they stopped selling new subscriptions a couple of weeks ago and anyone who has a supported device or even someone who buys a device still out in stores will get uninterrupted access until their subscriptions finish, including the ability to keep their downloads forever as promised. This change is also not universal and Nokia will continue to offer 12-month subscriptions in China and India, while offering six-month subscriptions in Brazil, Turkey and South Africa.

Check out the video below to hear more about the changes.

For those of us in North America, remember that you can use your unlimited Zune Pass subscription, Mobbler, Soundtrckr, and soon Slacker Radio so there is really nothing to see here for those in North America while there is the possibility that something may come to us here from Nokia.

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