Archive for the ‘CES2012’ Category

Why your next smartphone should be a Windows Phone based Nokia   Leave a comment

Reason 1: Nokia’s back!

The main reason for this is debatable, but most would agree all the changes is thanks to a certain Mr. Stephen Elop. Stephen Elop (born 31 December 1963) is Nokia’s CEO and a Canadian citizen. This is significant because Mr. Elop is the first non-Finn to be named CEO of Nokia and replaced Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo in this position on September 21, 2010.

That in itself says a lot about how the company has changed. Nokia was founded as a company in 1871, so it took them 137 years to change to a non-Finn. That in a word has been Nokia’s biggest probelm…change. In March 2007, Nokia launched the Nokia N95 with the slogan “what computers have become”. It dominated sales charts worldwide. At almost the same time Apple launched the first iPhone – a totally different form factor with its touch-screen only interface and it revolutionized the smartphone industry. It took Nokia almost a year to respond to the competition by releasing the 5800 XpressMusic – an entry-level touch screen smartphone with a user interface which pales to the then magic of iOS. 11 Months in Tech terms is a life time to respond to change.

The resistance to embracing change has been a trait that has defined Nokia, a trait that ended in February 2011 when Stephen Elop sent the now infamous “burning platform” memo to company employees.  In it he bemoans missed opportunities and identifies multiple strategic challenges to the mobile phone company. Technology insiders and journalists have since remarked that the memo was a wake-up call for Nokia (“It is one of the most combustible and gripping documents ever to emerge from a major corporation – BBC.”) It was issued ahead of a Nokia analyst briefing in London, in which Mr. Elop was expected to announce big changes to the company’s strategy and senior management and he did. He basically changed how the company fundamentally functions.

Since he announced the change to windows phone in February 2011, Nokia has changed significantly. Nokia has made the change to Windows Phone, have announced 3 Windows Phones, two of which have all ready hit the market. They have decreased their workforce to optimal levels and according to Forbes, Nokia Corporation’s rating on financial markets has changed from “underperform” to “outperform”. This week they officially entered the US market by force and they are selling out all their Lumia 800’s at various stores in Europe. All in less time it took them to develop and launch the Meego based N9.

So all in all, Nokia is embracing change and are on the way up, they are starting to gain momentum by means of better management practices and that bodes very well for the future. A report by research firm Stanley and Morgan has produced the following predictions for WP based Nokia sales below:

From the report you can see that according to their predictions Nokia’s Windows Phone partnership is predicted to be a success. If the trends continues, 2014 can only lead to very impressive sales numbers.

Nokia’s marketing has also improved in leaps and bounds all around the globe. In London, Nokia got Deadmau5 and a team of light projection specialists to put on a 4D show at London’s Millbank Tower (Check it out on YouTube). In India, Nokia gave passenger planes a Nokia Lumia theme (pictures). In the United States, a market which Nokia has almost no market share in – YET), Nokia just kicked off a $200 million marketing campaign, internally refered to as “Operation Rolling Thunder“. “Operation rolling thunder” is going to focus on more engagement with tech enthusiasts, more work with retail to EDUCATE sales people on Windows Phone so they can effectively inform consumers. There will even be sales incentives of around $10-15 per handset sold to retailers. All strategies which is new to Nokia globally, never mind the in the US.

Under the fantastic headline “The Hail Mary pass is now in the air“, Tech Republic’s Jason Hiner argues that two of the big reasons that Windows Phone did not gain a larger market share in 2011 are now solved, and that if 2012 doesn’t deliver in America, they won’t be able to blame it on the handset hardware or carrier support. He does however predict that it will work and that Nokia  and WP will make a huge splash in 2012.

Heck, Nokia has even moved its regional head offices from Nairobi, Kenya to Johannesburg, South Africa (source). The new offices opened in Jo’burg at the beginning of January 2012, only a week and a half ago. A move, which I’m sure will only improve Nokia’s presence locally and further shows that Nokia is now embracing change.

I believe that if one looks at the situation in its entirety, Nokia can only succeed. The company chose a great direction and is executing it step by step. According to Anna Pavlova (1885 – 1931): “To follow, without halt, one aim: There’s the secret to success”, and I see Nokia is following their plan, without halt and with one aim.

Reason 2: Windows Phone:

Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android both are selling really well, and in their own right they are both good operating systems. That said, if you think about it, they both are based on the same basic principle. Namely icons, widgets, home screens and shortcuts. Testament to this, is the various patent infringement court battles between the two in the recent past. Windows Phone 7 (WP7) has a totally different and much cleaner interface as can be seen below:

 Galaxy SII (Android)

Apple (iOS 5)

 Nokia Lumia (WP7)

 

Windows phone’s logo is “Put people first”. That says it all. It’s whole makeup is designed to make life easier for the consumer. Its fast, its clean and it’s a joy to use. The exact reasons why is a post on its own, one which I’ll publish as soon as I get my hands on my own Lumia 800, but the OS itself has won great praise from reviewers around the web. Some independent reviewers, like Jon Rettinger, head at Techbuffalo.com (link) and Rich Trenholm, news editor at CNET UK (link) even trading in their iPhones for a Lumia because they find themselves reaching for the Lumia 800 powered by WP7 more often than reaching for the iPhone.

All through Stephen Elop’s tenure, he as refered to the tussle for market share in the mobile phone space as a “War of ecosystems“. So he knows very well that it’s not only the user interface, or the phone design that is important, but the entire ecosystem. A big player in the ecosystem space he is referring to is the app market characteristics for the specific platform. The WP marketplace has recently reached 50,000 apps and as can be seen in the chat below, it has done so quicker than Android, Symbian and Blackberry, and only marginally slower than Apple (source).

With regards to the total number of apps in their market place, Microsoft is still behind, but not only is it growing at a very rapid rate (as can be seen above), but most of the “must have” apps are available al ready. Apps like Angry Birds, WhatsAp etc. are all available and are being updated frequently. Those which aren’t available, almost always have an alternative.

Mary Branscombe from ZDNet.com switched to WP7 (source) and concluded that: “Windows Phone is an OS that you’re not going to appreciate without using it. And ultimately, the best technology is the technology you use and want to keep using because it makes your life better.

That, in a nut shell, is what makes Windows Phone great.

Nokia has exclusive access to WP7:

Some say the partnership between Microsoft & Nokia is a last gasp effort between two has-beens. Nokia, even in the recent Symbian days has always had excellent hardware. Microsoft’s software has been the standard for a long, long time on PC with windows . Now they have combined to add what they do best to the Mobile mix. I say the its two giants combining their strengths.

The questions remains however that with Nokia putting all their eggs in the WP7 basket, how will they differentiate themselves from the competition. HTC & Samsung, amongst others, also make WP7 based phones and quite good ones at that. See, WP7 is very different to Android in that Microsoft has restricted access to the OS to ensure the experience stays on the same level, doesn’t matter which manufacturer’s phone it’s on. Android on the other hand let’s manufacturers play around with their OS as they please. Samsung has “Touch Wizz”, HTC has “Sense” and so forth. All WP7 based phone’s interfaces will look the same, except for Nokia’s that is. The answer lies in the details. To seal the deal with Nokia, Microsoft promised exclusive access to the OS. Nokia has all ready launched Nokia Drive and Nokia MusicRadio with the Lumia 800 to set them apart but that’s not all. Expect Meego’s Swipe interface, as well as other advancements to make a showing in future mainly because Stephen Elop has al ready confirmed that Nokia’s top research and most impressive hardware will all be directed towards WP. This, along with the great hardware we associate Nokia with will make them stand out from the crowd.

Reason 3: Great hardware:

Nokia has always had great hardware. Over time they have built a reputation for hardware that lasts. I still know people today, granted they are quite old people, who’s 3310’s are still fully functional. With the Lumia range of smart phones the trend is not only continuing it is improving as well. The Lumia 800 & 900’s bodies are made out of a moulded polycarbonate plastic. A design which doesn’t only ooze quality and durability, but it also stand out from the a crowd where iPhones/Android all pretty much look the same.

Nokia has a history of great camera’s as well. From the first Carl Zeiss lens on the N95 to the 12 megapixel unit on the N8, Nokia has been on the fore front of great cameras on mobile phones.  Currently both the Lumia 800 & 900 “only” feature 8 megapixel units, but to large extent that is mainly due to the limitations put down by Microsoft. If the rumours are true we will be seeing a WP bases successor for the N8 before the end of the year – now that is something to look forward to.

Conclusion:

Sure one would probably be happy with your Android/Apple smart phone, and they are both great products in their own right, but if all the reviews and buzz around the web is anything to go by, Nokia based Windows Phones will be the buzz in 2012. An example of this is the multiple awards the Nokia Lumia 900 won at CES 2012 (largest consumer electronic show in the US) which just finished in Las Vegas , USA, namely:

  • CNet’s “Best of CES” smartphone.
  • Popular Mechanics editor’s choice award for CES.
  • Popular Science “Product of the Future”.
  • LAPTOP magazine’s “Best of CES” finalists.

In my opinion, Nokia is starting to go on a roll – the only question is: Will you be part of it?

Nokia Lumia 900 Announced at CS 2012   Leave a comment

As predicted, Nokia launched the Nokia Lumia 900 at CES2012.

The specifications of the Lumia 900 has been confirmed as follows:

  • OS: Windows Phone Release 7.5 – Mango Commercial Release 2 (Mango + LTE)
  • Memory: 512MB RAM
  • Display: 4.3 inch
  • Camera: (a)Primary: 8 megapixel camera with 28mm wide-angle F/2.2 lens (b) Front: 1.3MP front-facing camera that uses f/2.4
  • Storage: 16 GB internal memory (14.5GB user memory) + SkyDrive cloud storage
  • Weight: 160g
  • Dimensions: 127.8 x 68.5 x 11.5 mm
  • GPS: Yes, A-GPS
  • Wi-Fi: Yes (802.11 b/g/n)
  • USB: 2.0 high-speed
  • Bluetooth: 2.1 + EDR
  • 3mm headset connector

When will the Lumia 900 launch in South Africa?

In short, not anytime soon. Nokia has not even confirmed a release date for the US, and that’s their target market. During Engadget.com’s hands on with the Lumia 900, he noted that: “When it comes to firmware, we weren’t given the luxury of playing much with the handset since it was an early prototype model that is nowhere near its final status.

This implies one of two possibilities: Either we’ll get the Lumia 710 & 800 sometime in the near future, and we’ll get the Lumia 900 by I guess July/August. The other possibility is that all of the above will launch at the same time, nl. in July/August. Hopefully it’s not the latter and we’ll be able to get a taste of the 710 & 800 before the end of Feb.

For more reports, specs and hands-on video’s, check out the links below:

Official Nokia USA Page for the Nokia Lumia 900

Engadget.com: Announcement & Hands-on.

GSM Arena: Lumia 900 finally goes official

GSM Arena: Hands-on review

My Nokia Blog: Lumia 900 announced with pics and hands-on video

Nokia conversations: Lumia 900 – born for the USA

WP Central: Lumia 900 announced

Posted January 10, 2012 by allaboutnokiasa in CES2012, Lumia 900, Nokia, Windows Phone

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Official Nokia Lumia 900 pictures leak   Leave a comment

With 3hours, 25minutes and 5seconds remaining (thanks to a count down timer)before the start of Nokia’s press briefing at CES 2012 in Las Vegas, Pocketnow.com has revealed the first leaked images of the Nokia Lumia 900 seen below:

After rumours that the Lumia 900 will have a metal body the above images confirm to a large extent what we have been thinking for a while, namely that the Lumia 900 is basically an oversized Lumia 800. There is however the following reports from mynokiablog.com:

Nokia has chosen to change the curved screen on the Lumia 800′s big sister, the Lumia 900 to a flat screen with a seemingly horrid raised bezel. Just my opinion though, I despise raised bezels.

Hopefully either the author is incorrect, or the flat screen is better than he thinks, luckily the wait is almost over. Nokia’s booth setup is going nicely as can be seen below, posted initially by CNET:

One will notice the red squares at the left, bottom corner. Magnified below:

According to Pocketnow & Mynokiablog.com, they picture the Lumia 900. Must admit, I’m not 100% sure, but hey! What do I know 🙂

Hopefully (and this as I have said before, is a huge “hopefully”) Nokia will launch the entire Lumia range locally, nl. 710, 800 & 900  all at once and all before the end of February. It might be the reason why Nokia RSA has not confirmed anything up to date as obviously they couldn’t have said anything about the Lumia 900 yet.

The only thing we know for sure…we’ll find out sooner rather than later. Be sure to check in tomorrow morning first thing for a summary of Nokia’s announcement at CES 2012.

 

Posted January 9, 2012 by allaboutnokiasa in CES2012, Lumia 900, Nokia, Windows Phone

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Local Lumia 800 availability imminent?   Leave a comment

After not answering the question directly for quite some time, Nokia RSA has had the following to say with regards to questions regarding local availability of the Lumia 800 on their Twitter feed:

Why else would they answer the same question 4 times in such short succession? Further more, it goes hand in hand with CES 2012 in US: Las vegas. Will we be getting more than the Lumia 800 at launch locally?

Luckily we wont have to wait much longer to find out…..

 

Lumia 900 speculation continues   2 comments

The Rumor Mill:

Well the rumour mill is running full speed just 5 days before CES2012 kicks off in Las Vegas. Below is a mockup of all the pictures combined from the leaked “Christmas card” pictured in an earlier post that supposedly showed different parts of the Nokia Lumia 900, drawn up by a reader at mynokiablog.com (source).

Obviously it’s entirely possible that all the “leaked” images are all fake. It won’t to take too much effort and know how to just draw up all these images using the Lumia 800 and a program as basic as Windows paint and that the actual Lumia 900 looks more like a transparent ball full of alien tech capable of producing your choice of beer by analyzing your DNA :). As none of those images have leaked yet we’ll just assume these are accurate.

In short the Lumia 900 is basically a larger Lumia 800 as can be seen by the comparative pictures shown below (source):

Pocketnow.com have apparently also received confirmation that the Lumia 900 will be sold globally as Nokia’s flagship Windows phone. Although it was rumoured that the Lumia 900 will feature the next installment of Windows Phone, namely “Tango”, Pocketnow.com is convinced that it will launch with Mango (source).

Below is also the updated specs the Lumia is rumoured to feature:

  • Screen size: 4.3-inch ClearBlack (Lumia 800 – 3.7 inches/N8 – 3.5inches)
  • CPU 1.4GHz Qualcomm CPU
  • 512mb Ram
  • 16GB/32GB Storage (unconfirmed)
  • 8 Megapixel camera
  • 1830mAh battery (Lumia 800 – 1450mAh/ N8 – 1200mAh/ Samsung Galaxy SII -1650mAh)
  • Weight: 160g
  • Thickness: 12mm

Availability in the US is still rumoured to be March 2012, which will continue the newly establish trend by Nokia to launch quite quickly after announcement as with the Nokia Lumia 800 in Europe.

What does this mean for South Africa?

Well obviously we are still waiting for the Lumia 800. Good news is that if one looks at the confirmed launch dates below, we surely won’t have to wait to much longer:

  • November 2011: France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the UK
  • December 2011: Hong Kong, Russia, China, Singapore, Australia, India and Taiwan
  • January 2012: Sweden
  • February 2012: Denmark
  • Q1 2012: South Africa, Australia, United States as well as most South American countries

Vodacom’s latest promotional booklet is valid from the 7th of December 2011 to 6 February 2012. So my guess, or should I rather say hope, is that it will start to be available, for at least pre-order, in the next issue. If not it will most probably be available in March.

In the US, Nokia will most probably launch at least the Lumia 710, 800 & 900. Chances for that happening here is not beyond the realms of possibility but I would think that it is highly unlikely.

Luckily we won’t have to wait for much longer to find out. Who knows, maybe the Lumia 900 will still be able to pour you your favourite beverage by analyzing your DNA….

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