Monday, September 20, 2010

Nokia World 2010

Last week has to be one of the most intense week of my life. I've only had a couple of hours a sleep a night and am completely exhausted by the end of the week. But as the new week dawns I think it is about time for me to post a few thoughts. This post forms the beginning of a series of tech and social related posts relating to the events from last week. The next post will be about the now infamous HTC London event.

Nokia World 2010 has come and gone, and while I am impressed by the N8. My first hands experience with the device confirmed what I thought - it has a fantastic hardware, the camera is amazing and it is a multimedia heaven. But I won't be getting it, and here's why: No Symbian^4 upgrade path for it. Do not get me wrong, Nokia has done a great job with the N8 with Symbian^3 and hardware is fantastic. It's just while I may be a geek, but I am not a rich geek who has loads of money to throw around.
Next up is the E7. Nokia describes it as a Communicator. *Cough* but that is a load of bollocks. It is a lovely device but what I (and some others I've talked to agree) saw was a Nseries device rebadged as an Eseries, basically an N8 with an alright keyboard and lesser camera, a successor to the much maligned Nokia N97 than the brilliant E90. Nothing I have seen from the E7 could convince me that this is the real deal. Nokia made a big deal about the E7 being BIG, but apart from a big screen (which isn't that BIG), it isn't that BIG a deal. I am sure (or at least I hope) that Nokia has plans for a proper E72 successor and E90 successor, but for whatever reasons they are not announcing them yet. Fingers crossed we will see the real deal soon.

Moving on. The new(er) C6-01 which bears no resemblance to the new C6 just launched last month (an example of Nokia's colossal fuck with the the new naming scheme) and C7 are fantastic. If priced correctly, they are winners. They are cheaper than the N8 and would target a demographic who probably would not care about Symbian^4, so the lack of upgrade path does not matter. The screens are fantastic, and are better than the N8, and contains most of not all the features that the average smartphone users would demand in 2010. What I find mind boggling is that Nokia decided not to include the same screen to the N8, the supposed 'flagship' Symbian^3 device.

About the Touch and Type phones. Well they look good, but anyone who knows me would know I don't give a hoot about S40 so let's just leave it at that.

After lunch (when I got firked for complaining about the lack of knives), I took the chance to attend a few of their Developer Summit sessions. The QC process of getting apps onto Ovi Store is interesting. Nokia has a content guide for apps that features bare chested male models and women in bikinis - these apps would not make many countries including Malaysia. The certification process takes a maximum of 5 days, so, baring any issues, developer or publisher can expect their app to be up in store in less than five days. In-app ads are also allowed as long as it they respect the content guide and does not point to another app store. As you may have known, app signing is free now for both native and Java apps. Nokia will not be taking any share monetary shares from generated via operator billing.

I also attended a session on Qt on Symbian^3 where Daniel Rocha of Nokia demonstrated the development, debugging and packaging of apps, including the latest Qt Mobility API. This session is interesting. Despite coming from a none-programming background, the session demonstrated the ease of Qt Creator in compiling apps for targetted devices (in this case the N8), and I walked away convinced.

The morning of day two of Nokia World was spent watching the keynote speech by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. If there ever was a god, this would the guy. Thanks to him I have been on the web for more than 15 years. He pointed out that while 80% of the world population have access, only 20% are connected to the Internet. A crazy figure by any means and one that has to do more with barrier to entry than anything else.

Sir Tim spoke about the importance of geo location sharing and the responsibility of providers to find a balance between privacy issues and providing a service. It made me think about how I did not get my swarm badge on both days of Nokia World, despite the large presence of mobile geeks. Maybe because there is no official Foursquare application on Symbian!

Nokia World closed with some developers contest. I am not familiar with many of the apps on display, but one shown was beyond cool. It uses the phone's front camera to unlock the phone based on facial recognition. Nokia's new CEO stressed the importance of developers, and this I agree. The issue is whether Nokia can convince developers to develop for Symbian and Meego. Not taking any commissions out of apps sold via operators billing is a first step, but the next is to get the word out and I am not convinced Nokia is doing their best to do just that.

So is Nokia back? Well they've never been away. But they do have a lot of work to do to win the mindshare of stuffy tech journos. I myself am planning on taking a break away from Nokia for a year (still feel free to send me trial devices to review though!), or until Symbian^4 or Meego phones are ready. Next month is my birthday and I'll be temporarily defecting to Android or Windows Phone 7 with a new smartphone. Moving away will give me a fresh perspective of a fast changing mobile landscape. Not that I am counting Nokia out yet. As I said earlier I'll be back for Symbian^4 or Meego.


Anonymous said...

I am so jealous you get to attend Nokia World!

Anonymous said...

Nokia E7 do want!

Jon Choo said...

Anon1: It was fun, but it was work...