The events.nokia.com page has just been updated and it now holds the answer to why did Nokia choose not to exhibit at the Mobile World Congress 2010. As I (and a few others) expected, Nokia is indeed holding an event of its own walking distance from the venue of the MWC on the 15-16 February.
As an alternative to the noise and crowds at Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, invited guests can relax on comfy sofas, enjoy delicious food and drinks as they discuss the industry and network with their peers — all courtesy of Nokia.
In Barcelona our goal is to create an atmosphere designed to encourage conversations among industry peers. In this comfortable setting you will relax as you learn more about Nokia solutions and services. The event will take place a short walk from the Mobile World Congress at Once – home of the Spanish National Organization for the Blind. Join us between 09.00 – 19.00 on 15-16 February.
The Nokia Press Conference will take place at Once on February 15 from 11.30am to 12.30pm CET. This will be followed by breakout presentations and interview opportunities with senior Nokia executives and subject matter experts. The Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) media and industry analyst briefing will also be held at Once on February 15 at 10.30am CET.
I am pretty certain that Nokia will be unveiling new devices, the MWC just got a lot more exciting for me. Hat tip to Norman for spotting this.
Like I had mentioned, Nokia India on recently conducted a music bootcamp for bloggers to give us a demo on the recently gone live, ‘Nokia Music Store – India’ and also share insight on their plans for the phased rollout of the store. If you recall, Nokia India had previously held a similar blogger meetup with Mr. Axel Meyer, when the N97 came to India and I cannot overemphasize how glad I am that Nokia India has started holding such events here in India as well.
As always, the event was very well hosted and we had some meaningful conversations over drinks and dinner. But before I give you my reactions on the store, here are a few key takes aways from the bootcamp:
The X3 and X6 are coming to India.
We should start seeing the first ‘Comes with Music’ devices in Q1 next year.
The lack of credit card based purchase was a thought-out and conscious decision by Nokia India.
No specifics, but the DRM free rollout will be in line with the rest of the world.
Nokia will be piloting a voucher based system for purchasing tracks from the store, no word on pricing yet.
The vouchers will be similar to the way you can now purchase N-Gage games in certain cities from Nokia Priority Dealers.
Credit card based billing may be rolled out in the future.
The one thing that bothers me is the fact that as of now the ways to utilize this huge collection of songs is very limited. You can get a new device and download music but that will be restricted to a fixed number of tracks (e.g. 100) depending on what device you buy. The voucher system isn’t in place, credit card purchase is a no-go and comes with music isn’t coming till next year. Therefore, because of this, it will only be in a few months that we start to see the true potential of the store being realized. The silver line is the free tracks of the week section that is available to everyone.
As far as the store is concerned, the sheer diversity is quite impressive and the interface is not bad at all. Transferring music is a breeze and the PC application has greatly improved from when we first saw it and is much faster now. Infact, Nokia is even getting into agreements with a Artists/Bands to exclusive launch their music on the Nokia Music Store first.
Coming back to the fun part, Nokia had invited a band called Advaita to perform at the event and here is a snippet of their riveting performance.
The general consensus in the Blogosphere seems to be that the only country Nokia is shafting is the US. Let me open your eyes to the reality, the situation here in India is no better. I decided on writing this rant after Ricky’s about the poor Maps 3.0 experience, specifically this portion where he was speaking for the US consumer.
“If you recall, we’re also not cool enough for a firmware update on the N95-3, the Nokia Music Store, or Comes With Music, either.”
On the face of it Nokia realises that India is a huge market and a place they can absolutely not ignore, it has even announced measures like India being one of the first countries to receive the 5800 Xpress Music, yet sadly I see nothing happening – the 5800 Xpress is still not here despite going on sale else where in the world.
Let me start with listing just some of issues Nokia must address in India:
FIRMWARES – Here in India, almost every Nokia handset sold is SIM free, yet when a new firmware comes out people have to wait for over a month before it becomes available for their handset (product code). WHY?
MUSIC STORE – We are still waiting. Although there is word that there might be a December launch. Comes with music might take even more time.
SHARE ONLINE – The Share Online client sits on every phone yet, if you search for the services neither Share on Ovi nor Flickr show up? WHY?
MAPS – This one takes the cake. I was promised maps for a large part of India withing six months when I first bought my N95. Today, almost 2 years later only nine Indian cities have coverage. I’m sure you all are aware of India’s size.
CUSTOMER SERVICE – I will keep this specific. I know of a person who bought his N82 almost 5 months ago, the same very day he discovered large patches of dead spots on the screen. He took the brand new phone to the service center, they told him that the screens were out of stock and he should come again later. Five months have passed but their reply hasn’t changed. He’s meanwhile thinking of suing for deficiency in service.
On the face of it all of these problem have easy work arounds, for the firmware simply change the product code and update, for Share Online the solution is here, for maps there are Google Maps, the music store needs consumers and not the otherway round. As for poor customer service, well, the consumer can surely not make the same mistake twice and buy from another manufacturer.
The thing is that a lot of us are loyal Nokia fanboys who will stick to a company we believe in for the simple fact that Nokia has some of the best phones in the market and also because of the whole service/application ecosystem around the products. Yet everyone has a patience level. All of these are small niggles which I’m sure can be sorted out quickly, all Nokia needs is a little impetus.
But till that happens, let it be known to those of you in the US who feel let down – you have company.