Category Archives: Miscellaneous

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WSJ Details The Run Up To The Nok-MS Deal: “Nokia’s Flirtations Put the Fear of Google Into Microsoft”

The behind the scenes stories about what goes on in the dark corridors of billion dollar politics is always an interesting read and the Wall Street Journal has just put together a compelling read about how Microsoft went all out to woo Nokia. As it turns out, Android was very much on the table till the very end.

WSJ Details The Run Up To The Nok-MS Deal:

“Mr. Ballmer and his lieutenants headed for Helsinki in January to show how serious Microsoft was about cutting a deal. The plan was for Mr. Ballmer to fly privately into Helsinki, where he would then travel to a private Nokia facility, Mr. Elop added.

Mr. Elop said he instead got a call from Mr. Ballmer informing him that because of snow and fog, the plane wouldn’t be able to land in Helsinki. About to run out of fuel, Mr. Ballmer instead landed in Stockholm. At that point, the fastest way for Mr. Ballmer to reach Helsinki was to fly commercially, Mr. Elop said, despite the greater risk that he could have been recognized.

While Mr. Ballmer was waiting quietly in the lounge, his cover was nearly blown when he was paged by name over the loudspeaker because of an error related to his plane ticket”.

Its a recommended read – “Nokia’s Flirtations Put the Fear of Google Into Microsoft“.

[Image Credit: TOI]

N8 Producers: Shooting Video On Your N8 Could Get You A Zero Gravity Flight Experience

The #N8Producers Competition has just gone live and what’s on stake is a zero gravity flight experience for 8 people from anywhere in the world.

N8 Producers CompetitionTo put it simply, you shoot some awesome (read as: innovative, creative and exciting!) video on your N8, share it and if it finds a mention in the top 8 submissions you and a friend (that’s 16 people in total) will be headed to an exclusive N8 Producers Zero Gravity flight in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

But what if you don’t have a N8? Don’t worry, just head over to this page submit your idea and you could get a N8 Producers trial pack to make the idea a reality. You have time till January 31st 2011 to submit your entries, but if you need a N8 trial pack then the last date to submit your idea is the 10th of Jan. The winner will be announced in early February.

If you were wondering about the trial pack, well here is what it could look like. Instead of wrist strap you could also get a waterproof case, helmet strap and so on.

N8 Producers Trial Pack

Head over to the N8 Producers site to get started.

Never Say Never, But Nokia Is Never Going To Make An Android Or Windows 7 Device

The rumors about Nokia making an Android or even a Windows 7 phone (now that they have an ex-Microsoft CEO) never seem to die because there is always someone fueling the fire. Soon after Ari Jaaksi’s resignation, TechCrunch put out a story about how Eric Schmidt and Stephen Elop were talking about a ‘possible’ Nokia Android device.

“We’ve heard from a good source that Google CEO Eric Schmidt has called Elop to discuss the possibility of Android running on Nokia phones. We actually heard this information about a week ago, but today’s news makes it potentially more interesting. Around the time Jaaksi was resigning, Elop and Schmidt were talking.”

You have to admit, it makes for a very juicy story and an interesting point to mull over. But before you waste time thinking about this, let me put some things in perspective.

Never Say Never, But Nokia Is Never Going To Make An Android Or Windows 7 Device

Nokia for years has now said that it wants to be a internet/services company and they have spent millions of dollars trying to do just that. They didn’t get off the floor too well, but now their services are beginning to take good shape. If they put Android on a Nokia device (lets call it the N10), where does Ovi go? Lets look at it in the light of their most successful Ovi services, Maps and the Store. Will the N10 suddenly run the Ovi Store instead of the Android Market? Will Google let Nokia replace Google Maps with Ovi Maps? People will say sure, they are free to load their own version on top, Android is ‘open’ you see. But does it make sense for Nokia to try and compete with Google on its own turf? An Android device needs you to sign in with your Google Account to get started. Will Google let Nokia replace that with an Ovi sign-on? Even if they do, it’ll be a huge mistake for Nokia to plan into their hands.

Now lets look at applications. Nokia recently spent over $150 million to acquire a company called Trolltech. Why? Because they were the ones behind Qt, the cross platform development environment. Nokia is telling developers, ‘make your app with Qt, here’s our toolkit and deploy to millions of Symbian, Maemo and MeeGo devices’. They are literally throwing millions at developers. With my own eyes I saw Stephen Elop handover the $1 million prize at Nokia World. Not to mention the $10,000 for this and $10,000 for that kind of awards that handed out in addition. One thousand free N8’s? Who can forget that.

Forum Nokia has been having developer conferences all around the world and they’re targeting America hard. Just yesterday, they gave all attended of the Nokia Developer Day a free N8 as well. You will not see it today, but the developers are really warming up to the idea of Qt and developing for Nokia in general. If Nokia even makes one Android device, all of that is gone. No developer will ever come back. Millions wasted.

Assuming Nokia does make the N10 (our fictitious Android device), what would it be like? Like a Nexus One or a Galaxy S with a better camera? Or perhaps like the new HTC QWERTY Android device with a better camera? Is there anything else they can add to the experience? Lets assume they hire Android engineers and put them to work on a slightly custom Nokia UI for Android. It will take at least 8-10 months before something even remotely usable can come out. Also by then, Nokia would have relegated themselves to being virtually a box manufacturer.

In the time that happens, MeeGo will be ready to take on the world anyway, backed by Qt. Making the apps that devs have already written for the N8 and other Symbian ^3 devices run on MeeGo is not a huge jump at all. They will also have sold a ton of Symbian ^3 devices, with Symbian ^4 on the way. After using the ‘new’ Symbian, the general distaste people have for it these days would have died down as well. 2011 is a perfect time for Nokia to reap results off their long term strategy.

Symbian ^3 for the low-mid end, with devices like the new C6 announced at Nokia World. Symbian ^4 for the mid-high end, debuting with the N8 successor perhaps. MeeGo for the absolute high end with Qt bridging the gap, and seamless Ovi Services keeping people happy.

Why would anyone want them to go Android is beyond me. Aren’t similar device from Motorola, Samsung, HTC enough? Anssi Vanjoki already told the world what he thought of other manufacturers using Android, ‘Like young boys peeing in their pants for warmth’. Sadly, he will soon be gone.

[Image via Engadget, Quote via TechCrunch]

Thoughts From Nokia World: The Winds Of Change Come With Big Red Balloons

The number one thing that I have wanted Nokia to do for a long time is shout about its products, tell the world how awesome they were instead of letting them speak for themselves, have powerful aggressive keynotes and take the competition head on whenever, wherever they could and this precisely why this Nokia World came as a very pleasant surprise.

Thoughts From Nokia World: The Winds Of Change Come With Big Red Balloons

Just one day before Nokia World Anssi Vanjoki quit, which was two two days after OPK had left. I imagine that does dent the morale and bring at least a little uncertainty in. So more than anything, my eyes were on they keynote’s tone and tenor instead of the device announcements because the devices will come and go, but the tone Nokia set on September 14, 2010 would define how they shape up in the next 5 years.

But the moment I walked into the Nikalas Savander and Anssi Vanjoki keynote, I could literally see the change. Nokia was talking about the competition, they virtually kick-started Nokia World with Apple’s use of the words ‘Connecting People’. Nokia never does that. Then came Anssi Vanjoki, all charged up and it was treat to see him in action. There were points made left right and center, no one was spared. Here are a few of my own tweets, I think they would capture my reaction better than what I could write now.

  • Scott at Apple shown off. The connecting people words played with. Sweet. #nokiaworld
  • We’ll not apologise for not being Apple, Samsung and so on. We are Nokia. I like the tone of this keynote. #nokiaworld
  • Oh yes. Nokia sells more smartphones than Apple + Android combined. #nokiaworld There in your face. ‘We shift into high gear for high end’
  • “Nokia and not #google is the leader in mapping” #nokiaworld Nokia is taking them on aggressively.
  • Shoutout to people who said the N8 is the same old @Symbian by looking at the homescreen. ‘You’re wong’. #nokiaworld
  • An aggressive Anssi on stage. @nokia ‘s tone is like it has never been before. #nokiaworld

So there you go, Apple, Samsung, Google all talked about. There were even phrases like ‘One more thing’ used. ‘You want numbers, here are a few numbers’  was said before the smartphone number were discussed. Here are another couple of  things that I missed during the keynote.

  • ‘Cooperation with Microsoft will be even easier and better now’. Anssi Vanjoki while talking about more enterprise features that will come to the Nokia E7.
  • He also mentioned avoiding ‘Speeding tickets’ while talking about Ovi Maps. If you don’t get the context, here’s some.

At his last Nokia World, Anssi Vanjoki went out all guns blazing. He will be missed. But that’s not the only pleasant surprise. On September 15, the second day of Nokia World, HTC decided to hold its own event in London and they were sending buses to Nokia World to collect people. I am not kidding. What would the old Nokia have done? Just sit there and let it pass. But oh no, things are changing and they did something I least expected. They made survival kits and handed them everyone who was headed to the HTC event from Nokia World. What did it have? See for yourself.

Thoughts From Nokia World: The Winds Of Change Come With Big Red Balloons

An HTC sandwich. I thought it was brilliant. There was tongue in cheek humour, and loads on fun. Sadly, some sections of the media, (specially the ones headed there themselves!) didn’t see the joke in it and started branding Nokia’s move as one in bad taste. Bad taste? Your competition virtually hijacks your annual event and you cannot even joke about it? Nokia suddenly looked like the ‘bully and not the ‘victim’. But if were in Nokia’s shoes, I’d still be happy. Bullys’ get things done, victims remain just that, victims.

Nokia is coming back in a big way. Brace for impact.

PS: If you are wondering, why the red balloon reference? Nokia also sent some teenagers with red Ovi Maps balloons to the venue for HTC’s venue! The cherry on the cake? 😉

[Image Credit Engadget]

Debate: Symbian’s UI Consistency Is Good – The Geeks May Hate It, But The Average Joe Loves It

For the last two years, the world (?) has been going on about how the Symbian UI is old, clunky and must go. It must be written again from ground up if Symbian has to have any chance. At any rate, these rants have managed to dent Symbian’s brand name by a huge margin and affect Nokia’s fortunes adversely.

So much so that even supporters of the OS, were taken in by the storm and only a very few loyalists remain. The good thing is that even the loyalists are not fanboys per-se, but people who would like to see the OS improve and mature into a world class OS that it is. Anyway, that’s not why I am writing this post.

Debate: Symbian's UI Consistency Is Good - The Geeks May Hate It, But The Average Joe Loves It

Yesterday, I was out with friends and since they know I would probably be rocking the latest and greatest device of the time, my phone is generally passed around and comments made on it. I happened to be using the Samsung Galaxy S, a phone that I really like, I might add. I was sure they would be taken in by the huge gorgeous screen, ‘modern’ UI, the amazing size and weight and would come out impressed.

So on being asked, I immediately whipped out the Galaxy S, unlocked it and handed it over. It was back in my hands in a hardly a minute. Why you ask?

The reason was simple, he fiddled with the homescreen a little bit, tried to go into the apps and was probably thrown back by the sheer number of them I had. Ten seconds of poking here and there and his decision was made. The Galaxy S was not for him, it was simply too complicated.

For the vast majority of The Handheld Blog readers, that’s unfathomable. How could he not wrap his mind around something so easy and natural? But for a large chunk of the population that IS the case. For them the mobile is not nearly as important as it is for some of us. Its not as if they do not want Facebook, Email and apps in general, they really do, but they couldn’t be bothered spending time and energy fussing over these things. Whether we admit it or not, we’ve all seen it with friends and family.

This brings me to the debate, Symbian ^3 looks just like the old Symbian experience, but is that a bad thing after all? Lets look at it from my friend’s example. He’s looking to update from his N95 8GB which has served him well. Despite Symbian’s hidden shortcuts and folders, even he probably knows them inside out by now. The N8 comes along and he’s still at home with the UI and thus the phone. Isn’t that a win for Nokia?

Thoughts?

Review: Mobile Phone Tripod Holder – An Amateur Photographer Must Have?

While reviewing the Mobile Fun Desk Genie, I happened to catch this Mobile Phone Tripod in their catalogue and because these things are pretty hard to find, I requested a review unit to see if this one was any good. With camera quality improving all the time and HD video capture coming to a more and more phones each day, it makes a lot of sense to have a one lying around.

Review: Mobile Phone Tripod Holder - An Amateur Photographer Must Have?

So lets cut to the chase right at the start and I will give you the bottomline upfront. The Tripod is plastic, but the build quality is good and gives you absolutely no reason to complain, given its price. Does its job perfectly. Now lets get on with the review in detail.

Review: Mobile Phone Tripod Holder - An Amateur Photographer Must Have?

The tripod has two major parts, the legs of course and the mobile phone grip which is screwed onto them. The grip can be adjusted to the desired length depending on the phone you want to mount and the holder can be stretched to accommodate phones of various sizes. I tried it with the N900, the N97, the E52, the Samsung Galaxy S and a bunch of other phones and had no problems. Depending on the phone the volume rocker can sometimes get in the way, but with a little bit of adjustment you should be able to setup most phones just fine.

Review: Mobile Phone Tripod Holder - An Amateur Photographer Must Have?

The mobile phone holder stretches to accommodate the phone and snaps back to a tight fit and the phone is never at the risk of slipping. The problem with however is that placing the phone inside can become a little tricky, but nothing a little practice won’t fix. Another thing that I liked about the holder was the fact that there are foam pads inside it so that the devices do not get scratched when you put them in. Taking them out is a bit of a hassle because of the tight grip, but its nothing that would stop me from using the tripod and infact is sometimes comforting to know that the phone is secure when you want the phone to be held at an angle.

Review: Mobile Phone Tripod Holder - An Amateur Photographer Must Have?

The ball head ensures that you can use the phone at different angles and takes a second to adjust. The mobile phone holder can also be completely unscrewed off the legs and used with another tripod. This great when you want to use your phone on a full size tripod for panning shots or video capture.

Review: Mobile Phone Tripod Holder - An Amateur Photographer Must Have?

Likewise, the legs can accommodate different point and shoot cameras so your are not restricted to your phone with this tripod and can simply unscrew the mobile holder and screw the camera on in its place. The legs can also be extended by pulling out the extensions, handy if you need additional height.

Review: Mobile Phone Tripod Holder - An Amateur Photographer Must Have?

All in all its a lightweight tripod that’s easy to carry, has great value for money and is a must have if you own a good camera phone. You can get it at Mobile Fun for about 18 Euros/23$/1100 INR currently and they ship worldwide.

Final Score: 9/10

Available At: Mobile Fun