Friday, May 25, 2012

Details from Nokia Summer Media Summit

Yesterday I attended a media summit hosted by Nokia at The Trafalgar in London. As you know, Nokia is currently undergoing one of its biggest challenge in the mobile industry. They have recently lost the title of world largest mobile phone vendor to Samsung, and has even seen their market cap fallen below that of HTC. Many arm chair analysts has already written off the beleaguered Finnish company.

Nokia's issues aren't confined to analysts, but more importantly with customers, the media and retailers, and also internal staff. So how is Nokia attempting to win the hearts and minds of potential customers? They outlined a few commitments. On the media front, Nokia UK will be moving to a new HQ in London so that they will be 'closer to us', as they so aptly put it. They have trained most of their staff for the Lumia to gauge their advocacy.
With the consumers, they are hoping that with four Lumia handsets on the market (or very soon) covering four different price segment, new smartphone users will have plenty to choose from. Announced yesterday was the Lumia 610. It is due to hit the UK market in the first week of June. You can read my first impressions of the Lumia 610 on FoneArena. Nokia will also be strengthening their Asha-range portfolio and promised to blur the range of smartphone and feature phone. I have long been a critic of Nokia's desire to hold onto their proprietary feature phone platform, and this commitment will not change my opinion one bit.

Also part of Nokia's assault is the new PureView technology. As seen on the Nokia 808 PureView tech demo cameraphone, the PureView is capable of digital compact-busting quality. I was initially skeptical but after playing with it in both dim light conditions as well as outdoor, I am convinced that PureView has the potential to take on the digital compact market, if Nokia can market it well. Nokia do need to get that technology into their primary Lumia smartphones before the year is out - hopefully when Windows Phone 8/Apollo launches. And I have a gut feeling that they will succeed.
One phone to rule them all
Finally, Nokia is keen of pushing their distinctive design. There isn't much innovation with the design of mobile phones these days, so it is nice to see a company that is willing to push the envelope when it comes to design. They still have some ways to go - for example, the Lumia 710 is actually a rather ugly phone, the Lumia 610 has the most generic design ever and the PureView 808, a great camera perhaps but the design is so Nokia 5800-ish. But the Lumia 800 is one of the most gorgeous phone, ever. And long may the design live.

It is easy to see how big Windows Phone is at Microsoft. Despite the small market share, its whole design philosophy has now been lifted and integrated into current and future Microsoft flagship products. We've already seen the Xbox 360 receiving a dashboard update. And the new Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT will also feature a complete UI overhaul, with the Metro design language at its heart. Leila Martine, the director of Windows Phone at Microsoft has promised that the best is still to come. I certainly hope so.

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